Hiya everyone! I’m Sherman the robot and today I’ll be answering the question: “How do I organize a productive Zoom meeting or webinar?”
A very timely question! With everyone being stuck at home, this video conferencing software has been in constant use.
To start off, let me explain the difference between a Zoom meeting and a Zoom webinar.
Zoom meetings are more common and allow participants to interact freely (unless you choose to mute them).
Zoom webinars are more similar to large conferences or events with speakers, and the attendees usually do not interact as much.
Another important thing to know about before you get started is security.
For example, beware the danger of Zoom-bombing. Zoom-bombers are intruders who get a hold of Zoom meeting info and disrupt it by harassing the host, sharing inappropriate images, etc.
You can prevent this issue by being careful with your link. Don’t post the link on social media where anyone can get it. Requiring a password for the Zoom meeting is also a good tactic. If you do find yourself faced with a Zoom-bomber in your meeting, click “Participants,” then “More,” and, finally, “Remove” for the attendee you want to give the boot.
You may also want to consider an alternative video conferencing software. Recently, Zoom acknowledged suspending a few accounts at China’s request. You can find alternatives to Zoom here.
But whether you are using Zoom or any other video conferencing software, you will need to know how to be productive.
#1: Be sure you know exactly who is in charge. This may or may not seem obvious, but it is very important. Without a leader, things could get pretty chaotic very quickly. Know who is in charge of the meeting. You can also authorize co-hosts to help you manage the meeting. This can be especially helpful if the host is also presenting. The co-host can let people in, monitor chat, etc, freeing up the host to focus on speaking.
#2: Have an agenda. It is hard to be productive without a plan, so make sure you have one! Plan out some time for each topic that your meeting or webinar will be covering, and make sure you leave some extra at the beginning in case anyone has technical difficulties. Also beware of Zoom fatigue as you plan your video call—Zoom isn’t the same as face-to-face, so respect that others may not have the energy for hours of conferencing.
#3: Promote. If you are having a smaller meeting, tell all the attendees ahead of time when the meeting will be, and securely message them the meeting info (don’t post it on social media!). If it is a webinar, be sure to promote it and get the word out before it happens. It would be embarrassing if only two people showed up!
#4: Practice makes perfect. Plan a practice session ahead of time to make sure everyone is prepared for the real thing. You also should make sure that you have a reliable router and a stable internet connection so others won’t have trouble hearing you.
#5: Arrive at least five minutes early. This will prepare you to be on time even if you have trouble starting the meeting. It is also good to be there if anyone else comes early.
Here are a few questions for you to consider before you have your virtual meeting/conference!
- Would a Zoom meeting or Zoom webinar be better? (Or even another video conferencing software?)
- What is the purpose? Why is this meeting/conference important?
- Who is in charge?
- What topics will the speaker(s) be talking about?
- Is there anything the host (or co-hosts) will need to screen share?
- Will there be a Q&A time?
- How will you get the word out in a secure manner?
- Will there be a password?
- How will you handle unexpected problems?
- Will you use a custom Zoom background to block out distractions behind you?
- Are you prepared to look good and be heard well?
Now you are all set. Have a fantastic video conference. =)
And if you aren’t ready or just don’t have enough time on your hands, we can set up and promote your video conference for you.
Do you have a question for Sherman? If so, please send it to us.