Effective Zoom Sessions

Facilitating effective Zoom sessions Notes from Digital Conference 24th March - 10-11am session

What are your fears and what has gone wrong for you on Zoom?

  • Tried to share a video but no-one else could see it.
  • Difficulty in controlling and facilitating the zoom meeting so that there is equality of discussion.
  • Difficulty sharing documents.

Tips on how to manage these:

  •  Zoom meetings need to be actively chaired, or they will descend into chaos. You must be clear about what you expect the participants to do, and not do. For instance, will you be muting/unmuting them or will they? Be clear.
  • Normal for Zoom to feel odd as the rules are not the same as face-to-face. Lack of body language and missed behaviour cues can lead to Zoom fatigue and miscommunication.
  •  Use reactions or big gestures instead of small gestures so that nobody is accidently ignored.
  • Screen-sharing: make sure you have prepared what you want to screen share by opening it on your desktop in advance, and if sharing a video then make sure you have enabled sharing sound.
  •  You can share documents in the chat functions, similar to attaching a file to an email, you an upload a file into the chat. Be careful as you can’t un-share. (This feature needs to be pre-enabled in the Zoom settings before you create the Zoom link) Zoom Vs Teams
  •  Zoom has a better gallery view so you can see all your participants, which allows for better engagement.
  •  Teams (as its name suggests) is intended for internal collaboration amongst your colleagues, Zoom is better for external events/sessions.

Zoom pre-settings

  • Before you create a Zoom link, ask how you want the meeting to be, who, why and what is it for?
  • Don’t just create a Zoom link without looking at the pre-settings. There are many features here that you may/may not want to enable.
  • You cannot alter pre-settings ‘in-meeting’ such as breakout rooms, polling, and many others.
  •  In the pre-settings you can manage the waiting room, decide if you want to use a passcode, decide if you want to enable chat/private chat (an important safeguarding consideration), if you want break-out rooms and who can share screen.
  •  Make sure that the settings you have enabled/disabled are appropriate for the type of meeting you are hosting, you can always check with a colleague.
  • Advanced features such as breakout rooms or polling are not difficult, make sure you practice in advance. Zoom safety
  •  Having the waiting room feature enabled means that you are able to monitor who is able to access the meeting, only let those in who you are sure.
  • Don’t publicly share the Zoom link, this may attract unwanted participants who may wish to sabotage your Zoom meeting. This can cause harm particularly if you are meeting with vulnerable individuals. If you do share the Zoom link more widely, you should limit screen-sharing capabilities to avoid any disruptive images being shown.
  • If someone is being inappropriate or not who you expected you can use the eject button on the top right hand ‘image square’ of the relevant person (three dots – click and it reveals a menu) and remove them. You can choose either to return people to the waiting room, or eject them permanently.
  • You can also use this menu to change their name, and several other functions.
  •  Send the Zoom link 24 hours in advance, to minimize risks of it being shared more widely. No one needs the link further in advance than this.
  • Only post it on social media if you have appropriate privacy settings to the page.
  • Alternatively use another platform such as Eventbrite to get participants to pre-book, so you can successfully monitor and control who you want to send the link to.
  • It important to strike a balance between accessibility and safety, don’t enable passcode if this will confuse and create a barrier for your attendees. Good idea to create a risk assessment, host a meeting and confirm what will suit your organisation and beneficiaries.
  •  Always choose and check your Zoom pre-settings to prevent your meeting being invaded and spammed.
  • By using the ‘stop/start video’ menu functions (a small arrow next to the video camera icon at the bottom left of your Zoom toolbar), there is setting that allows you to blur your background. This is a good way to prevent any unwanted information being shared (e.g. children in background – anything that reveals your location)

 Zoom etiquette

  •  Background: be careful of what you allow people to see. Think about what sensitive information you could be giving away.
  •  By using the ‘stop/start video’ menu functions (a small arrow next to the video camera icon at the bottom left of your Zoom toolbar), there is setting that allows you to blur your background. This is a good way to prevent any unwanted information being shared (e.g. children in background – anything that reveals your location)
  • Send an email in advance to participants with safety tips and etiquette. Remind your attendees of your ground rules. This will help ensure that everyone is onboard and you have good control of the meeting.
  • Be aware that whilst you are recording, any private messaging will also be recorded.
  • Make sure you have everyone’s express consent to record, be clear what the recording is for (e.g. if it’s only to aid note taking, or to be used on social media). You also must have express consent to share email address and personal information.
  •  You can message into the waiting room but this is a one way conversation, you can deter an unwanted participant. For example, if there is a man waiting in a women’s only meeting. Like any tool, Zoom is only as good as the way you use it
  •  Practice using any different or unfamiliar features in a non-public-facing Zoom with friends or colleagues
  • Don’t worry if things go wrong, you will usually be in a friendly environment.
  •  Try not to panic if you encounter technical difficulties. You are not broadcasting to millions of viewer

Organisation support category