Creating an Impromptu Meeting (Conversation) in Lync
This document is primarily geared to students and others who have Lync accounts but aren’t on a machine with REAL Outlook installed and configured. This means the person can’t schedule a meeting through Outlook. Now if scheduling a meeting is critical, one can log into the VPN then attempt to schedule a meeting using one of the two links below.
But in our experience those links are buggy and seldom work. You get all the way to the end and it fails. There has to be a better way, and there is. (Hopefully Microsoft will get the links fixed so they work outside the VPN, work reliably inside the VPN, or scheduling can take place in Outlook Web Client. But until then you can do something else.)
Let’s say you want to have a meeting at 8PM central time on Monday. Send out a regular email to everyone you want to participate. Tell them they need to be online with Lync running by, say, 7:55PM Central time. You have a list of all their names. Let’s say I want to create a study group with Christy Carrigg and Olivia Dorris. Notice they are both online, even though one is in a call (being in a call doesn’t matter as long as they have not selected “Do Not Disturb”.) NOTE: what we are doing is not a true “meeting” in the Lync sense, instead it is called a “conversation”. The key difference between a meeting and a conversation is meetings can be recorded but conversations cannot be recorded. Other than that, feature-wise, they are identical.
Now click on one of them to start an IM. I will click on Christy. That opens the window below. Click on the People icon below.
Now click on “Invite by Name or Phone Number”
We now type in Olivia’s full name. Her name comes up and I double click on her name in the highlighted blue box below.
She is now added to the conversation.
I repeat the process for everyone I want in the group. We can now share desktops. If you click the little down caret next to call you can create a Lync audio call and that will then automatically call everyone in the group in Lync. You can create a video call but I don’t recommend it. Video calls are typically point to point only. In a multi-point call, like this one, you only see the active speaker. Furthermore video consumes tremendous bandwidth.
The above procedure works well if this is a one time call or the number of people in the group is small. But there is a better way if the numbers are large or you are going to do this fairly frequently. You create a new group with the people you want to participate in your conversation in your group. (NOTE: a person can be in more than one group, that is ok.)
You may or may not have groups setup. I do. Currently I have 8 groups.
What I am going to do is create a new group and call it anything I want. I will call it “Study Group” From my contact list I will type in Christy’s full name. It finds her.
Click on Add to New Group.
Type in the name you want to call the group (I will call it Study Group).
It will now look like this:
Now type in the next person’s name to find the contact.
Roll the mouse over to see the Add choice, click the down arrow and add her to the Study Group group.
Now your study group looks like this. Keep adding people until your study group contains everyone.
Right click in the blue area just to the right of where it says (2/2). When the new window pops up, select “Send an Instant Message”
You now have the window below open. You can share desktop, initiate a Lync call, or even bring up video. Keep in mind that video consumes bandwidth and also that you ONLY see the active speaker. I typically do NOT use video in Lync calls unless it is only point to point (only two people including myself in the call) AND we all have sufficient bandwidth.