Have you ever wondered why members of a Microsoft Team sometimes don't receive an invitation to a Channel meeting that you've created?

Or maybe why you were invited to a meeting where the organizer didn't include you?

If so, you're not alone—this question has come up several times since I started using Microsoft Teams a few years ago.

The answer isn't as straightforward as you might expect for two reasons: (1) the changes Microsoft has made to Teams over time, and (2) a mostly hidden configuration setting.

In an attempt to explain how Channel meeting invitations in Teams work, I've spelled out a few scenarios below.

3 Ways to Manage Channel Meeting Notifications in Microsoft Teams


Before we get into the scenarios, I want to clarify that these scenarios are for meetings scheduled in a Channel, aka Team Channel meetings. 

The other option is a non-channel meeting, which is what we've used Outlook to schedule for years but can now also be done in Teams. You invite people by adding them as either "required" or "optional," and everyone listed will receive an email invitation.

You can use Teams to schedule both types of meetings. The only difference between the two is the "Channel" option:

Teams-Meeting-Invitees-Channel

With that, let’s talk about Channel meetings!

Scenario 1: People Added to the Invitation Receive an Invite

First, let's start with the basic scenario: you create a meeting in a Teams Channel, and only the people you add to the attendees' box receive a meeting invitation (via email).

For example, below is a meeting invite where Megan is included in the attendee line (required or optional doesn't matter). Megan will receive an invitation via email to notify her of the scheduled meeting, but Diego, another Team member, will not.

Teams-Meeting-Invitees

When it's time for the meeting, both Megan and Diego can join because they are members of the same Team. However, Megan will see the meeting on her calendar, but Diego will not. If Diego wants to attend, he will need to go to the Channel to join:

microsoft teams channel meeting invitiations

This is the default setting for Teams, and if you think about it, the scenario makes sense on and offline. It's the in-person equivalent of having a meeting in a team workspace where anyone on your team can "pop in".

Open-Office-Meeting-Space-Teams

Scenario 2: Every Member of the Team Receives an Invitation (Even Those Not Invited)

For this scenario, we need to review some Teams history.

First, it’s important to know that before Microsoft released Teams, they released Office 365 Groups, which had a similar purpose. Groups bring together various resources (SharePoint for files, Outlook for conversations, etc.) to make them easier to manage, just like Teams.

When Microsoft created Teams, they layered Teams on top of an Office 365 Group to leverage the work they had already done and bring these resources together.

After people started using Teams, Microsoft received feedback that end-users were confused about where to have conversations. There was a new way to have conversations in Teams (Channel posts), but there was still the Group mailbox in Outlook for conversations.

To fix this, Microsoft started hiding Groups in Outlook when a Team is created from scratch, beginning in March 2018 (announced with MC133135 in the Admin Message Center).

So, what does all of this have to do Teams meetings?

Well, that Group in Outlook not only has conversations, but it also has a calendar – the same calendar that Teams leverages for channel meetings!

You can still create Office 365 Groups, now called Microsoft 365 Groups, without creating a Team. If your Group is created using Outlook or Outlook on the web, the default setting is: “Send all group email and events to members’ inboxes…”

New-M365-Group-Outlook

Group owners can uncheck this box when they are creating the group. They can also change this setting after the Group is created by editing the Group in Outlook.

When a Team is created, it can be created from scratch OR from an existing Microsoft 365 Group:

  1. If the Team is created from scratch, then this setting is "off" by default.
  2. If the Team is created from a Group, then this setting remains the way it was configured before the Team.

If the Group is created first, the setting above is enabled, and a Team is connected to it (not from scratch), then any Channel meetings created in Teams will be sent to all members of the Team.

Well, unless a Teams member has turned this off.

Wait, what?

That’s right: Team members can turn this setting off for themselves.

This brings us to our next scenario…

Scenario 3: Some Members of the Team Receive an Invitation

If a Group is visible in Outlook because (1) it was created before the Team, (2) the Team was created before March 2018, OR (3) an administrator has made it visible using PowerShell, then any member of the Team can change the setting controlling whether they receive Channel meeting invites.

Users can manage notifications by editing their Group settings:

M365-Group-Settings-Outlook-Follow

How to Change Microsoft 365 Group Settings When a Group Is Hidden in Outlook


Even hidden Groups can be accessed in Outlook on the web. Use this address to get to any Group’s mailbox:

https://outlook.office.com/mail/group/{tenant name}/{Group name}

Replace the tenant name and group name placeholders with the appropriate names.  

If you’re unsure, look at the SharePoint address for that Group/Team:

https://{tenant name}.sharepoint.com/sites/{Group name}

Administrators can use PowerShell to set whether the Group is visible or not in Outlook (here’s a blog post about the PowerShell commands for reference.)

Takeaways:

  • You need to add people to Teams Channel meetings for them to receive notices consistently.
  • If people are receiving invitations when they haven’t been specifically added, and they don’t wish to receive those invites, they need to change the setting for the Group using the address noted above.

If you need help setting up, managing, and/or governing Microsoft Teams, give us a call at 704-895-2500 or request a download of our Microsoft Teams Deployment and Governance Guide. Our team at C5 Insight is here to help you work together better.