Allowing Anonymous Presenters in a Lync Meeting

I have participated in several Lync meetings recently where an anonymous attendee – an external partner or customer for example – was attending the web conference and the organizer wanted them to share content (an PowerPoint presentation for example) but they could not – the option to “Share” in the Lync Web App client was not available.

This is a quick blog post to show organizers of Lync Meetings how to enable anonymous participants to share content when they are participating via the Lync Web App.

When a meeting is scheduled in Outlook, or an existing Lync meeting is edited, there is a Meeting Options button beside the Lync Online meeting icon that allows the Organizer to change the Online Meeting Options, and these include options for who are Presenters for the meeting.

Here is a screenshot of the create Online Meeting toolbar in Outlook (provided by the Lync add-in):

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Clicking on the Meeting Options brings up a dialog which allows the Lync organizer to customize several meeting options – as shown here:

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In most Lync deployments, the default setting is “People from my company” which will not allow an anonymous guest to share content.

To allow external anonymous guests to Share content, the “Everyone including people outside my company” option needs to be selected above.

Note: the “Customize access and presenters for this meeting” option must be selected first to change the default options below. Selecting this customize access option will also generate a new Conference ID – i.e. a Conference ID that is different from the same one used for all Lync meetings by this organizer (this Conference ID will show up in the meeting URL but does not really have any other significance from a user perspective).

Tip – if you do not see a “Meeting Options” icon make sure you are in either Creating a meeting or Editing an existing one – the basic Calendar view for example will not show the Meeting Options icon. The ability to create meetings and edit them in Outlook comes from both the Lync Meeting Add-In for Microsoft Office 2013 and the Online Meeting Add-in for Microsoft 2010.

Tip – Why are these options grayed out for me?  It is possible that the Lync administrator has disabled the ability for end users to allow some of these options.  If so, some of these options might not be customizable by the end user.

If allowing external anonymous participants to present is a default experience you wish to have every Lync meeting, select the “Remember settings” option to make this your new default Lync meeting experience.  Note: when you change this setting it will apply for future meetings with your static Conference ID.

Tip – the Lync organizer can promote an external anonymous attendee to a Presenter at any time during the meeting by right-clicking on their name and selecting “Make Presenter” as shown here:

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Here we see an external anonymous guest attendee is not a Presenter and does not have any Sharing capabilities:

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Here we can see that once an organizer has promoted the anonymous guest to be Presenter, that the guest has Sharing capabilities in the Lync 2010 Web App:

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These screen shots show the experience when the external anonymous attendee uses the Lync 2010 Web App (my target audience was still using the Lync 2010 Web App).

The Lync 2013 Web App has a much improved experience and less limitations as outlined in this article on Microsoft NextHop: Lync 2013: The New Lync Web App.

Happy web conferencing!

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