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Skype for Business Conferencing | The Best Guide [2020]

The strategies in this post help you grow your Skype for Business conferencing from scratch.

Setting up the default audio device

  • Skype for Business should automatically detect your headset/audio device.  If not, the following instructions will help you.
  • Skype for Business
    • In the Skype for Business main window, select Tools –Audio Device Settings.
    • Under Audio device, choose the device you want.
    • At Speaker:  Click the green arrow to hear a sample tone and drag the slider if you need to adjust the volume.
    • At Microphone: To test your microphone volume, speak into it for a few seconds. The volume is optimal when the progress bar reaches the middle of the test area. Drag the slider next to Microphone to adjust the microphone volume.
    • At Ringer: Click the green arrow button to hear a sample ring when you get a call and drag the slider to adjust the ringer volume.
    • If you have more than one audio device, you can choose to set both to ring when you get a call. Under Secondary Ringer, select Also ring, and then select an additional device.
    • You can also select Unmute when my phone rings, which will automatically unmute your speakers when you receive a Skype for Business call.
    • Select Allow stereo audio playback when available to ensure that the best audio quality is available during a meeting.
    • Click OK when you’re done.

I can’t hear the other participants / other participants cannot hear me

Check your playback device.
Choose the loudspeaker icon at the bottom-right of the screen to adjust the volume.

Skype for Business Conferencing
  • The volume slider control is for the system default playback device. If you have multiple playback devices, Skype for Business might be using a different one. To change the volume for other devices, right-click the loudspeaker icon (shown above) and choose Playback devices. Right-click the device Skype uses, choose Properties, and then on the Levels tab, use the slider control to adjust the volume.
  • Check in-client volume control.
  • In the Skype for Business main window, select Tools –Audio Device Settings.
  • Move the Speaker slider control and choose the play icon to test your speakers.

How to setup announcements

  • When scheduling a Skype Meeting, you can enable or disable announcements. In the Skype Meeting calendar invite click on Meeting Options then under Permissions place a tick mark beside “Announce when people enter or leave”. You can click “Remember Settings” to save the settings for all future meetings you schedule.
  • If the meeting has already started, in the bottom right-hand corner of the meeting screen click on the button that has three dots (for More Options)  -> Skype Meeting Options -> then place a tick mark beside “Announce when people enter or leave”.

Sharing controls are disabled by policy

  • You upload content into the meeting however when external customers click on “Manage Presentable Content” they are presented with the following message “Sharing controls are disabled by policy. To share, ask someone in the meeting to make you a presenter, or sign in and rejoin the meeting”
Skype for Business Conferencing FAQ
  • People using the Skype Web App connect to the Skype Meeting as an Attendee.
  • They will appear in the meeting as an Attendee with “guest” beside their name.
  • When they click on the Share button this will get the following error: “Sharing controls are disabled by policy. To share, ask someone in the meeting to make you a presenter, or sign in and rejoin the meeting”. This is by design.
  • The Skype Meeting host needs to right-click on the person in the participants list and make them a presenter or open the document then share their screen or email the document.

What if I cannot see the options in Skype for Business or Outlook

  • Close Outlook and Skype for Business
  • Launch “Skype for Business
  • Click “Cancel Sign-In” if Skype for Business tries to automatically sign-in
  • Click “Delete my sign-in info
  • Click Yes to delete the sign-in information
  • Sign into Skype for Business and Outlook

What if I don’t have the Skype meeting add-in in Outlook

  • In Outlook go to File – Options – Add-ins
  • Under Manage select Com Add-ins then click Go
  • Place a tick mark beside Skype Meeting Add-in for Microsoft Office”
  • Click Ok

The Skype Meeting is missing a Conference ID

  • Try the above steps first.
  • Schedule a test Skype Meeting in OWA
    • Sign into the Skype for Business Web App
    • Open a new calendar invite
    • Click “Add Skype meeting
    • Send out the meeting invite
    • Open the meeting invite again and you should see the Conference ID
  • If scheduling a Skype Meeting in OWA works then the issue is with the Outlook client.

Dynamic vs Static Conference IDs

Conference IDs are dynamic across the entire organization. This was performed for the following reasons:

  • Enhanced security – the conference IDs are unique for each Skype for meeting and generated when the meeting is being scheduled.
  • A better experience for a back-to-back and side-to-side meetings – Meetings for a single organizer are given specific dial-in information that prevents phone participants of one meeting from being mixed with participants of another one when they’re scheduled next to each other.

How to Record

To record meetings:

  • You must join the audio portion of the meeting using Skype for Business client.
  • When you join a meeting, you should get prompted on how you want to join the meeting audio.  Select “Use Skype for Business (full audio and video experience).  Do not select “Call me at” or “Don’t join audio” otherwise you will not be able to record the audio.
  • If you don’t get prompted on how to join the audio portion of the meeting, in the Skype for Business client go to Tools -> Options -> Skype Meetings then place a ticket mark beside “Before I join, ask me which audio device I want to use”

You can record when:

  • You are in an Instant Message (IM) with audio between 3 or more people.
  • You schedule a Skype meeting in Outlook.
  • You click on the Meet Now link in Skype for Business.

You cannot record when:

  • You are in an Instant Message (IM) with audio between 2 people. There is no recording option.
  • You have dialled into a Skype Meeting using a telephone only.

To keep the recording size smaller:

Modify the recording resolution in Skype for Business by going to Tools, Options, Recordings and change the resolution to 480p. This will greatly reduce the size of the recording. This setting does not impact the quality of audio or screen sharing in the recording.

Important note relating to the different Office versions:

  • If you have Office 2013: In Skype for Business if you select “Call me at” or “Don’t join audio” the “Start Recording” option is not visible.
  • If you have Office 2016: In Skype for Business, the “Start Recording” option will always be visible. If you select “Call me at” or “Don’t join audio” and record the meeting only IM, presentations and videos will be recorded. The audio cannot get recorded and Skype for Business will display: Audio won’t be recorded as it’s not enabled on this device.

The Recording Manager has not started

  • If the recording manager has not started it will not generate the MP4 file.
  • Go to the Start menu and launch “Skype for Business Recording Manager
  • As soon as the Recording Manager has started it will start generating the MP4 file.

The status in the Recording Manager is:  Pending

  • When the laptop is operating on battery power, processing the video is suspended and will only resume after the laptop is plugged back into power. This helps conserve precious resources and power while the laptop is not plugged in.
  • Plug the laptop into mains power to allow the Recording Manager to continue processing the video. The status will change from Pending to Processing.

The status in the Recording Manager is: Processing

This indicates the Recording Manager is processing the recording. Be patient, allow time for recording manager to generate the MP4 file.

The status in the Recording Manager is: Error

  • The main cause here is that Skype for Business Recording Manager did not finish the process of generating the MP4 file.
  • This can occur if the Recording Manager crashed or your laptop went into hibernate/standby mode or you didn’t have sufficient battery on your laptop to complete the processing.

Resolution 1:

If your laptop is low on battery the Recording Manager will pause and the status of the recording will change to Pending. Plug the laptop into mains power to allow the Recording Manager to continue processing the video.  The status will change from Pending to Processing.

Resolution 2:

  • Start a new Skype for Business meeting, share the screen then turn on the recording.
  • Pause the recording
  • Find temp files for the current recording
    %UserProfile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Communicator\Recording Manager\Temporary Recording Files
  • Remove all files except lock.lock file
  • Copy the temp files from failed recording to the current recording folder
    %UserProfile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Communicator\Recording Manager\Temporary Recording Files
  • Got back to the Skype Meeting and stop the recording. The Recording Manager will then automatically generate the recording based on the temp files from the failed recording.
    Important:  This assumes the temp files from the failed recording are still available.  If they are not available, then you cannot recover the recording.

Error playing the video

  • First are foremost confirm you can play the video from within the Recording Manager
    Go to the Start menu and launch “Skype for Business Recording Manager
  • In the Recording Manager, highlight the recording and press the play button and confirm the video plays correctly
  • If you get the error:  “Windows Media Player cannot access the file. The file might be in use, you might not have access to the computer where the file is stored, or your proxy settings might not be correct”
Skype for Business Conferencing

Resolution 1:

  • Check the “Security permissions” of the file
  • Open the default location:  C:\Users\%username%\Videos\Lync Recordings
  • Right-click on the file name
  • Select “Properties
  • Select the “Security” tab
  • Ensure the correct permissions have been set.

Resolution 2:

This is an indication that the Recording Manager did not finish the process of generating the MP4 file. Refer to “The status in the Recording Manager is: Error” for the resolution.

How to play a video in a Skype Meeting

To stream or play saved videos in a Skype for Business meeting you need to insert the video into a PowerPoint slide, then upload the PowerPoint to the meeting.

  • Insert the video in PowerPoint
  • Create a new or open an existing PowerPoint slide in Normal view.
  • Click the slide that you want the video to be in.
  • On the Insert tab, got to “Media” then click the arrow under “Video
  • To play a saved video, select “Video on My PC”.  In the Insert Video box, double click the video that you want to insert in the slide.
  • To stream an online video, select “Online Video”.  In the Insert Video box, either search for a YouTube video or paste the embed code.
  • Resize the video in the PowerPoint slide.
  • Save the PowerPoint file.

Upload the PowerPoint in Skype for Business and play the video

In your Skype for Business meeting, click the presentation (monitor) icon, and click Share PowerPoint Files. Find your presentation and double-click it to upload it to the meeting.

To play Saved Videos

  • Go to the slide that contains the video, then pause on (hover over) the video to unhide the video controls:
    • Click Play to start the video and then Pause to stop.
    • Click the speaker icon to change the volume or mute/un-mute the audio.
  • Everyone will go on mute while the video is being played
Skype for Business Conferencing
  • Use the annotation tools on this slide, just like any other slides.
    • You can also press F5 on your keyboard to go to full screen.

Important:  The audio plays for participants who have connected to the audio portion of the meeting using Skype for Business only.  People who have dialled using a telephone will not be able to hear the audio.  It is recommended that video files be less than 25 Mb

To stream Online Videos

  • Go to the slide that contains the video.
  • Request that all participants press the play button to watch the video themselves.

Important: The behaviour between playing saved videos and online videos is different. A presenter can play a saved video where all participants will be able to watch simultaneously. However, for online videos, each participant much plays the video individually. This is by design.

How to play audio in a Skype Meeting

To play saved audio files in a Skype for Business meeting you need to insert the audio into a PowerPoint slide, then upload the PowerPoint to the meeting.

  • Insert the audio file in PowerPoint
  • Create a new or open an existing PowerPoint slide in Normal view.
  • Click the slide that you want the audio to be in.
  • On the Insert tab, got to “Media” then click the arrow under “Audio
  • To play a saved audio file, select “Audio on My PC”
  • In the Insert Audio box, double click the audio file that you want to insert in the slide.
  • Save the PowerPoint file.

Congratulations! you have learnt the Skype for Business Conferencing.

Now I’d like to hear from you:

Which finding from today’s report did you find most interesting? Or maybe you have a question about something that I covered.

Either way, I’d like to hear from you. So go ahead and leave a comment below.

Want to improve your Skype for Business experience for better productivity? Check out the tips and tricks mentioned here.

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