Zoom can be a powerful tool to have an engaging Q&A or alternative event. Use these best practices to plan and host a successful event over Zoom.
Zoom Product Options
Having a pro account on Zoom allows you to host meetings with with up to 100 participants and allows for social media streaming. This is essential for an event because personal zoom accounts have a 40 minute maximum for meetings, while pro accounts allow for an unlimited amount of group meetings of any length.
Keep in mind that pro accounts cost extra.
For the most frugal alternative, we would encourage you to ask your partner organization if you can utilize their pro account to host your virtual event. Or a team can purchase one pro account and share the account login with the team member who will act as the event host. Just make sure that every team member except for the event host is logged out of the pro account on the app and every browser. A team can also concentrate events within a certain amount of months to reduce the amount of months needing a pro account.
For the most interactive Zoom event, we would suggest a "meeting" event type. A meeting allows for participants to use their video and audio and also allows the chat function. Contrarily, the "webinar" event type only allows for the chat function for a Q&A interaction only.
Hosting an Engaging Event
To host a "meeting" type event, have everyone except the speaker/panelists turn their video and audio off. Encourage participants to put questions in the chat and have a team member compile the questions into a document for easy viewing during the Q&A. Encourage participants to turn their video back on during the Q&A portion of the event.
To facilitate the event, divide the host functions so that team members are available for "tech support." Host responsibilities include moderating the event, compiling the questions from the chat into a document, and providing technical support for participants.
To have the most engaging event possible, consider utilizing the following Zoom functions.
Putting actions for participants into the chat
Linking to your event store or allow purchases
This is a highly customizable Zoom function that can increase engagement with your event participants.
Some things to consider when having breakout rooms:
What are the goals of your event? How can you structure the prompt and facilitation of your breakout room help you achieve those goals?
Do you want to have a team member facilitate the breakout rooms and gain a sense of what each room talked about?
Will you want to debrief after the breakout rooms? If so, will you designate someone from each breakout room to report back on what the group talked about?
Zoom Account Settings
These are the Zoom settings that you should consider before the event. Most of these settings are not essential, but are considered best for virtual events. Feel free to change any of these settings based on the needs of your event.
Browser Settings (Fix Before the Event)
This is an important feature for tracking attendance and getting information from your participants
Automatically approve registrants
On the registration page you can include the event title, description, send a confirmation email, and include a logo or banner photo
Enable a waiting room
This allows your team to decide when the participants can enter the meeting
Require a meeting passcode
This is not essential but it makes the event more secure
Embed passcode so that participants do not have to manually input the passcode when they follow the event link
Only authenticated users can join
This will only allow those with Zoom accounts to join (can not join from browser)
This allows for the host to create intentional breakout rooms before the event begin
The chat function can be switched on or off
You can allow participants to chat privately with one another
Screen sharing on - all participants
Allows the option for participants to share their screens
Allow removed participants to rejoin
Turn this off to make the event more secure
Breakout room settings
Allow host to predetermine breakout room
Customize message for people in waiting room up to 400 characters
If you personalize the message for a specific event, make sure to change it before your next event!
Settings to Change While in the Meeting Room
Start with video on
Turn this off so that participants can join throughout the event without it being disruptive
Participants/host will have the option to allow participants to turn their videos on later on
Mute all participants upon entry
Allow participants to rename themselves
You can encourage users to rename themselves and include their preferred pronouns
Enable a waiting room
Turn this setting off so that participants can still join your event even after it has begun
Best Practices for Recording the Event
Choose to record the event to your computer
Before recording make sure that you have plenty of space on computer
You can pause and resume the recording at any time
We recommend pausing and resuming your recording while participants are in their breakout rooms
Choose "Speaker View" or "Spotlight" the speaker by clicking on the windows in the top right corner for a cleaner recording
Click the three dots on someone's video to choose "hide nonvideo participants"
To transfer your recording from your computer you can use the free version of WeTransfer, Google Drive or Dropbox
A copy of chat transcripts will automatically save to the computer with the recording
For more information on how to change your Zoom settings, click here.