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How to set up a Microsoft Teams waiting room

A Microsoft Teams online meeting mimics a real meeting in many ways. For one, anyone within the team can just join in, much like they’d be able to walk into a meeting room. 

With Microsoft Teams, participants or team members, or members who are in the channel the meeting is in, can join right away. They will click the ‘Join’ button they see in Microsoft Teams and they will join the meeting right away.

Microsoft Teams waiting room

If you’d like to control how participants join the meeting i.e, the meeting doesn’t start until everyone has arrived, you can have them wait in the lobby or a virtual waiting room. 

The lobby or the waiting room as some call it, allows participants to join the meeting i.e. click the ‘Join’ button but they’re not allowed in unless the organizer approves it.

The feature needs to be enabled because by default participants are allowed to enter a meeting when they click Join.

Enable Microsoft Teams waiting room

To enable Microsoft Teams waiting room, follow these steps. 

  1. Open Microsoft Teams. 
  2. Select a channel and start a meeting.
  3. Once the meeting has started, click the more options (three dots) button at the top.

  1. Select Meeting options.
  2. Open the ‘Who can bypass the lobby?’ dropdown and select ‘Only me’ to keep everyone out of the meeting until you allow them in.
  3. Click Save.

Allow/block meeting participants

Once the meeting settings have been updated, you will be able to allow or block people trying to join the meeting

  1. Click the participants’ button at the top to show the panel at the right.
  2. Click the checkmark button next to a participant waiting to join to allow them in the meeting.
  3. Click the cross button to block them from entering it.

Joining a meeting from the lobby

With the lobby/waiting room enabled for a meeting, the participants will

  • Be told they’re in the lobby and must wait to be allowed into the meeting.
  • Know they were blocked from entering if you choose to block them.
  • Be able to enter the meeting again and will enter the lobby like before. 

Conclusion

A lobby is a great way to make sure everyone joins at the same or more or less the same time. It isn’t as convenient if you have a lot of participants but there’s an option to allow people from the same organization and guests to be allowed in automatically. 

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