Microsoft Teams is supported by the College and staff should consider using this software for any virtual events. There are two types of virtual event that can be run through Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams Meetings can host up to 250 attendees including external attendees. Teams Meetings are participatory in nature and allow more interaction between attendees and any presenters. An example of a physical equivalent would be a panel discussion or seminar.

Recommended for:

  • Seminars
  • Conferences
  • Panel discussions 
  • Meetings 
  • Training sessions

Microsoft Teams Live Events can have up to 20,000 attendees. Live Events is an extension of Microsoft Teams Meetings allowing a broadcast style event led by presenters/organisers. The audience views content shared by these organisers. An example of a physical equivalent would be a public lecture.

Recommended for:

  • Lectures
  • Video streaming followed by Q&A 
  • Conferences/seminars with large audiences 

For more information on how to run a Live Event please get in touch with the Institutional Events team.

How to run a virtual event

Below are some helpful pointers for Event Organisers to help you create a professional and smooth running virtual event.

Top tips for chairs and presenters can be found here

How to run a virtual event


To run any event on Microsoft Teams you will need:

Preparing for your event

  • Allow yourself plenty of time to organise the event and for rehearsals for organisers and speakers.
  • For Microsoft Teams Live Events, Campus Services can provide technical support if required and will arrange at least one technical rehearsal with you ahead of the event.
  • For Microsoft Teams Live Events, Producer and Presenter roles must be assigned when the appointment is created in the calendar on MS Teams. 

Guest experience

To achieve the best possible guest experience for your virtual audience consider the following points:

  • Time zone: hold your event when guests in other time zones will be able to attend.
  • Turn off joining and leaving announcements: this can be done under meeting options when setting up your Teams Meeting
  • Subtitles can be turned on for both Teams Meetings and Live Events. For Live Events organisers can select up to 6 languages in which attendees can view the subtitles. Attendees are able to turn subtitles on themselves and a transcript is available afterwards. 
  • Take a break: if the event is over 90 minutes a break is recommended. A slide is available in the template deck for this purpose.

At the start of the event

Please ask the person chairing your event to begin with a practical introduction for your audience including the following points:

  • Ask your guests to turn off their cameras if they don't wish to be in the event recording
  • Run through the programme and outline, including if and when there will be any breaks.
  • Let your audience know how your Q&A will be run and request questions be submitted.
  •  If using a Microsoft Teams Meeting remind your guests to remain muted throughout the event unless they wish to participate in any verbal Q&A session.

View our Top tips for chairs and speakers for more guidance

During your event

  • Anyone sharing their screen with the audience should close any other documents or programmes they don’t need.
  • Remember to remind people to utilise the chat and Q&A functions for any questions they would like to raise.
  • Unless speaking, all guests and other speakers should mute their microphones throughout.

Closing your event

  • To end a virtual event on Teams Meetings, the chairperson should close the event and thank everyone for attending and then click the End Meeting button in the more settings/controls elipsis on the meeting control bar. This will end any recordng taking place any 'force' any remaining attendees out.
  • On Live Events, the ‘End Event’ button should be used but only at the very end of your event. Once pressed, it is not possible to restart your event.

Frequently asked questions

Who will run my event for me?

If you are considering running a Teams meeting or public Live Event, we recommend that you get in touch with the Institutional Events team to discuss your requirements. 

It’s up to you to arrange for a team and support to help run the event. For Live Events you will, at minimum, require four people and chairperson and to ensure that things run smoothly.

Your elected chairperson should be asked to make a couple of housekeeping announcements at the beginning of the event. They will also be in charge of closing the event and may be responsible for chairing the Q&A.

View our top tips for Chairs and Speakers page for more guidance

How many Producers do I need for a Live Event?

We recommend at least three people are assigned the role of Producer for a Live Event. Anyone acting as a Producer must be assigned as such when you first set up the event and cannot be Presenters and vice versa:

Producer roles:

  • Technical support – managing and cueing up the stream 
  • Q&A moderator – manage Q&A and flag questions to speakers
  • Moving through the slide deck where using an amalgamated deck (recommended) or sharing any content.
  • Monitoring the live stream(s) for quality control purposes

How do I make my event look good?

  • Use an Imperial background: A set of Imperial backdrops have been created for use with Microsoft Teams. For more information please visit our guidance on how to download and install Microsoft Teams backdrops.
  • Use Imperial holding and title slides: Some branded slides have been created for use during virtual events and are available on the asset library. These slides are for use before and during your event, as a deck of holding slides and a set of title slides which can be updated with details of your event.
  • Have your presentation set up at one deck: this will allow you to simply switch control between presenters rather than desktops. To create one deck of slides including an introduction which will loop before the event begins you can get in touch with the Institutional Events team.

How do guests attend my virtual event?

  • You will need to share the Meeting or Live Event link with your attendees in order for them to join, this can be included as part of the joining instructions for your event.
  • For Teams Meetings all attendees enter the event through a virtual lobby. Imperial attendees will be automatically admitted but the event organiser will need to let in external attendees, you will receive a notification to prompt you to do this.

Can external guests attend my virtual event?

As long as you have shared the link to the Meeting or Live Event with them, external guests are able to attend.

Do my guests need to have the Microsoft Teams app?

Attendees do not need to download the Microsoft Teams app to attend virtual events, they can view and participate using a browser. On Windows it is advised to use either Chrome or Microsoft Edge, from an IOS device it is suggested you also use Chrome.

Can my guests dial in?

Attendees can call into Teams Meetings or Live Events via telephone. To enable this function the event organiser will need to complete a short form to request a licence (Form to request Audio Conferencing Add On Licence). Once an organiser has filled in this form they will automatically have this option for future events they organise.

  • Please note that call in participants will be able to hear but not see anything happening in the event, including other speakers or shared content.
  • The number to dial in will appear in the calendar appointment along with a local numbers link for the rest of the World (note that MENA and Africa are currently not well covered)

Can I run a Q&A on Microsoft Teams?

  • Teams Meetings have a chat function which can be used for the Q&A. There is also the option of inviting guests to ask questions verbally as well.
  • For Live Events there is a Q&A function that can be selected when creating the appointment. This needs to be moderated by a Producer (see How many Producers do I need for a Live Event?).
  • Organisers should consider giving guests the option of submitting questions beforehand as part of registration, or posting an email address in the event that attendees can email questions to if they prefer to remain anonymous.
  • In Live Events, guests can select a tick box to post anonymously in the Q&A function.
  • Microsoft are currently rolling out a ‘raise hand’ function for attendees to use. 

Can I run breakout sessions?

Yes. This needs to be set up in advance and there is a helpful tutorial available on YouTube. Link to watch YouTube tutorial.

The Insitutional Events team can also advise. Contact the Institutional Events team for advice

Breakout sessions are not possible in Live Events.

Can non-Imperial people present during my event?

  • Many external attendees will be able to present at your virtual event with no issues, particularly those from other academic institutions that already use Teams.

If you do discover an issue with external presenters during your practice sessions, please try the following solutions:

  •  Create a Team for your presenters in advance and invite your audience to join this team to participate in the event. This will establish your external presenter as a valid guest.
  • Request a guest account from ICT for your external presenter to use (exceptional use only if the first solution does not work) Request a guest account from ICT.

Can I show pre-recorded content?

Yes. Campus Services will be able to assist you with this, please contact in the first instance.

Can I live stream the event onto YouTube or another social media platform?

  • It is possible to do this in Live Events and Campus Services can assist with this.
  • You can also post a recording of your event on YouTube after it has taken place.

Get in touch with Campus Services

If you would like to discuss any of the points above, or require further support and guidance with planning and designing your event for an online audience please contact the Institutional Events team in the first instance by emailing One of the team will get back to you as soon as possible.