Microsoft has started rolling out a new Hard Mute feature to help educators reduce disruptions during Teams meetings. Randy Chapman, a Microsoft MVP, took to Twitter to note that the feature is now live for Teams meeting organizers and presenters that lets them mute audio from all attendees.
"Hard Mute" is now available in #MicrosoftTeams Meeting Options. You can now choose to not allow attendees to unmute their mic when in a meeting. They get a notification and the option greys out for them until an organiser makes them a presenter. Great for webinars and education pic.twitter.com/TVZ7nES0Nb
— Randy Chapman (@randychapman) September 30, 2020
There are a few ways to prevent attendees from unmuting in Teams Meetings. The meeting organizers/presenters can do this before the meeting or during the meeting.
Before the meeting, on the meeting options page, the organizer will see a new option called “Allow attendees to unmute.” The toggle button will be turned on by default, and the organizer needs to turn it off manually. This should help to ensure attendees cannot unmute themselves freely during the meeting.
The organizer or a presenter will also be able to choose whether all attendees can unmute or not during the meeting. To do this, navigate to the “…” menu available at the top of the participant list. Once the option is enabled, the participants will need to raise their hand to inform organizers/presenters that would like to speak. The organizer or presenter will then right-click on the attendees’ name in the participant list or main meeting stage to access the “Allow to unmute” option.
It is worth noting that the new meeting experience is gradually rolling out to all desktop users, so you may not see it right away. The Microsoft 365 roadmap indicates that the feature would hit general availability in October.