Microsoft Teams is a powerful collaboration tool with usefulness that spans across segments like enterprise, SMB, and education. However sometimes we have a specific use case whereby we need to restrict collaboration. One such case is turning off private chat during a meeting.
The use case here is when we've assigned a Teams account to each of our meeting rooms and want to disable the chat function for those rooms so that during a video call, we're not being interrupted by chat messages on the main meeting room screen.
About meeting policies
Meeting policies are used to control the features that are available to meeting participants for meetings that are scheduled by users in your organization. You can use the global (Org-wide default) policy that's automatically created or create and assign custom policies. You manage meeting policies in the Microsoft Teams admin centre or by using PowerShell.
You can implement policies in the following ways, which affect the meeting experience for users before a meeting starts, during a meeting, or after a meeting.
- Per-organizer policy: When you implement a per-organizer policy, all meeting participants inherit the policy of the organizer. For example, Automatically admit people is a per-organizer policy and controls whether users join the meeting directly or wait in the lobby for meetings scheduled by the user who is assigned the policy.
- Per-user policy: When you implement a per-user policy, only the per-user policy applies to restrict certain features for the organizer and/or meeting participants. For example, Allow Meet now in channels is a per-user policy.
- Per-organizer and per-user: When you implement a combination of a per-organizer and per-user policy, certain features are restricted for meeting participants based on their policy and the organizer's policy. For example, Allow cloud recording is a per-organizer and per-user policy. Turn on this setting to allow users to start and stop a recording.
Follow Microsoft's official documentation for more on managing meeting policies.
Step one: Create the meeting policy
To begin with, we must create the meeting policy. This is achieved via the Microsoft 365 Admin Centre.
Follow the steps below to disable private chat in Microsoft Teams during a meeting. In the steps below we will set up a per-user policy.
- Go to Microsoft 365 Admin Centre.
- Once you are signed in, select Teams from the side navigation (note that this may be hidden by default. To show more options, press Show all)
- A new browser tab will open, taking you to the Microsoft Teams Admin Centre.
- Go to Meetings > Meeting policies from the side navigation.
- Under the Meeting policies tab, select Add to open a new page with policy details.
- Add a name and description for the policy (i.e. turn chat off for meeting room accounts)
- Under the heading Particpants & guest, switch off the option labelled allow chat in meetings.
- Select Save to create your new policy for turning off chat.
Step two: Assign the meeting policy to users
You can assign a policy:
- Directly to users, either individually or at scale through a batch assignment (if supported)
- To a group of users (if supported).
Here is how this is achieved:
- Follow steps 1-3 from previous set of instructions to get access to Microsoft Teams Admin Centre.
- When on the Microsoft Teams Admin Centre, go to Meeting policies
- Select the relevant policy (i.e. turn chat off in meeting room accounts) by clicking to the left of the policy name. This will make available more options at the top of the table.
- Select Manage users, at the top of the table.
- Assign the policy to individual users (i.e. email@example.com) and press Apply.
- Your policy will be applied to your selected users.
Using cmdlets to manage users and policies
A policy is a group of settings that can be applied granularly to individual users. Each policy type has its own set of cmdlets for creating, viewing, deleting, and updating the policies themselves, and then assigning those policies to users. The general structure is:
GET commands (for example, Get-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy): Returns the policy documents that are available for you to assign in your organization, including the policies created by Microsoft for you to use as well as the custom policies you’ve created.
To find only the custom policies you’ve created in your organization, use -Filter "tag:*".
NEW commands (for example, New-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy): Creates new policies for your organization to assign to users in your organization. Not all policies support the creation of custom policies. Often this is to ensure that the policies you use in your organization have a supported combination of settings.
SET commands (for example, Set-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy): Sets particular values on a given policy. Some policies don't have SET commands available, or they contain parameters that can't be customized in the policy. The PowerShell descriptions tell you which parameters can't be customized.
To edit the policy that will by default be assigned to users in your organization who do not have a custom policy assigned, run Set-Cs<PolicyName> -Identity Global.
REMOVE commands (for example, Remove-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy): Deletes a custom policy that has been created in your tenant. If you delete a custom policy that has been assigned to at least one user in your organization, that user will fall back to the global policy.
You can’t actually remove the global policy in your organization, but if you want to reset the global policy in your organization to the Microsoft-provided default settings, run Remove-Cs<PolicyName> -Identity Global.
GRANT command (for example, Grant-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy): Assigns a policy to a particular user.
To remove a custom policy assignment and make the user fall back to the default policy in your organization, run Grant-Cs<PolicyName> -Identity <User Identity> -PolicyName $null.
- Installing Teams Powershell https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/teams-powershell-install
- Use Teams admin roles to manage Teams https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/using-admin-roles