With COVID-19 changing the nature of meetings, we have all quickly been learning how to use Zoom. Whether to stay connected to friends & family, or to ensure all your business meetings and presentations go smoothly, it has become essential that everyone becomes fluent in virtual meetings. The Chamber hosts a multitude of Zoom events on a weekly basis; in order to be successful, we follow best practices that allow all of our meetings to flow smoothly.
- Do I have a stable internet connection?
- It is best to connect to any meeting through a wired internet connection. If this is not possible and the wi-fi is unstable, consider investing in a Bluetooth Wifi Range Extender.
- Have a phone on standby with the zoom meeting call-in number and meeting ID prepared and make sure the host is aware of what number you will be calling in from so they can promote you to co-host.
- Always have a backup for someone else to screenshare the presentation for you and coordinate how to move slides along for you.
- Bluetooth headsets can have interference issues and often sound worse than wired earphones or headsets.
- As a presenter, try to turn off anything that may make sound before presenting if possible – phone text tones, email reminder alerts, etc.
- Presenters should be instructed to test their audio and camera at least 1 hour prior to the event.
Does your organization have a member portal that can be used to register for events? Consider having participants register through your portal and provide the zoom link upon registration confirmation. Never publicly post a zoom meeting link, especially if it isn’t password-protected!
- Don’t use a personal meeting ID for public meetings
- Require a password to join
- Only allow registered or domain verified users
General Meeting Tips Important Reading: Zoom Best Practices. It explains zoom security features and best practices for meetings.
- Enable waiting room – This allows for all presenters to gather before the meeting starts to get organized and troubleshoot technical issues without participants. The host controls who can get admitted into the meeting. Once everyone is ready, the host can “admit all participants.” The host can also send messages to those in the waiting room, such as if things are running a few minutes behind.
- Mute participants upon entry – this prevents someone joining a meeting with a loud noise in the background. Everyone will be muted automatically when they join.
- “Mute All” – once the meeting is started, there is an option for the host to “mute all.”
- “Allow participants to unmute themselves” - all participants that are not co-hosts or the host will be muted and CANNOT unmute themselves. When using this setting, everyone with a speaking role should be designated as “co-hosts.” This will allow presenters to unmute themselves when necessary, even if the host has “muted all.”
- Be comfortable muting/unmuting as the host. On the bottom you will see “participants.” Select this and the participants bar will pop up on the right and display everyone currently in the meeting. When you hover over a participant, you will see “mute” or “unmute.” As a host, you will be able to mute and unmute participants if you are getting feedback or background noise from them.
- Save your chat! - Above the “type message here” in the chat, there will be a box that either looks like ‘…’ or says “more” (depending on how big your screen is). Click this and this window will pop up. When you click ‘Save Chat,’ it will automatically create a folder labelled ‘zoom’ in their documents and save to there.
- Video Display - It is more complicated coordinating how everyone’s video will display in a meeting as opposed to a webinar.
- From this zoom help article on video layouts: zoom defaults to either active speaker or gallery view.
- At the beginning you should announce to attendees to turn their settings to active speaker view to see the speakers. This is not something you can control in settings to default for everyone, so the attendees must be aware of this and if need be change the setting themselves.
- When only one person is speaking – i.e. the sponsor talks or the spotlight speaker – the host can put them as a Spotlight Video. Spotlight video puts a user as the primary active speaker for all participants in the meeting and cloud recordings. You must remember to turn off spotlight speaker after a presenter is done presenting.
It is more important now more than ever to become well versed in virtual meeting technology. While the COVID-19 pandemic has made these meeting the only option, many organizations will continue use them in future. While this is just a brief overview of the basic Zoom features, you can find more information on Zoom’s comprehensive help center.