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Tips for Hosting Virtual Zoom Meetings

by Harwant Khush, Ph.D., Research Consultant, Tero International

Conducting virtual meetings through digital devices has become a vital means for communication in the aftermath of Covid-19 due to stay-at-home, social distancing, and remote working rules. A highly popular video-conferencing platform to emerge during this crisis is called Zoom. Eric Yuan, the founder and CEO of this video conferencing software, said, "... I truly believe in the future; everyone will [use] video for remote worker collaboration." (Geekwire)

Zoom's usage has grown exponentially from 10 million to over 300 million daily meeting participants by April 2020 (Cybersecurity). According to data provided at the Zoom Meetings site, the number has kept on increasing as the customers who switched to Zoom report a 92% increase in performance and a 91% increase in a greater sense of engagement.

Zoom's popularity is not only limited to public and corporate meetings, but also for personal and family gatherings, social get-togethers, exercise, and Zumba sessions. Even the Muppets had a Zoom meeting, as shown in the new Disney-Plus Trailer, where Kermit and other muppets got together on Zoom to talk about their new show.

In all of the excitement to host and the necessity to participate in virtual meetings, it is vital to learn how to make meetings effective and productive. The Zoom web portal comes with numerous user-friendly settings and features. The prior knowledge and ease in using these features certainly enhance meeting involvement for the host and the participants.

Pre-Meeting tips

Install the latest version of Zoom. Each new release adds new features and handles security issues that affect its performance. The zoom video app is user-friendly, application skills can be enhanced by attending virtual training programs, by watching videos on the Zoom site, and YouTube.

Password Protected: Set up an account on zoom.us/meetings, specify vital information, and check all the features that you would like to have for the meetings. Set up meetings by specifying the date, day, time, note down the "invite or link" to the meeting, along with its ID and password. Copy this information to be sent to all the meeting participants.

Enable the Waiting Room: This feature is available in Zoom's online account settings. Customize this feature by providing the logo of your company, welcome message to the participants, description, and list of topics, and other details about the meeting. The waiting room also helps the host to view and check on who the participants are, and to decide who should be admitted or not.

Have a Co-host: It is always a good idea to have back up help if and when needed from an experienced partner. Co-host should be thoroughly prepared, ready to take charge, be knowledgeable about zoom features, and adept in using them.

Familiarize with Camera Settings: Decide if you plan to use a Webcam or to use the built-in camera from the computer. Adjust the camera view to ensure that it is at your eye level, and have natural light or light from lamps directed towards your face.

Adjust the Audio settings: Adjust the volume of your speakers. Check that your microphone is not muted, and attendees can hear you while you speak. It is vital to know how to mute and unmute all attendees at one time.

Have a Reliable, Fast, and Stable Internet Connection: Find out what internet speed do you need for Zoom. Wired connections are more stable than wireless and cellular for the meetings. Always have a backup or a dial-up connection if, for some reason, the internet connection is interrupted.

Eliminate Distractions: These can be from fancy backgrounds, notifications from messaging apps, ringtones, barking dogs, or interruptions from kids.

During the Meeting

Lock the Meeting when it is about to start. As the trainer locks the meeting, new participants cannot join and interrupt it, even if they have a password and ID. Use the Security icon from the bottom bar of the Zoom window to activate this feature.

Control Screen Sharing: Screen sharing is an excellent means to collaborate and enhance communication with participants. However, giving free access to everyone can disrupt the meeting. Provide guidelines on when to share the screen.

Disable Private Chat: Decide when the private chat is open to participants and when not. It may be a bit of distraction and can become unproductive if attendees are busy passing on personal messages.

Turn Off Annotations: It is to avoid uninvited drawings and comments written by Zoom Bombers, trolls, and hackers. There are too many bored and quarantined individuals who get thrills by writing disruptive content.

Mute Participants: Microphones are highly sensitive to pick up all kinds of noises and interruptions. Zoom has the capability when participants can unmute themselves, or the host can "unmute all" during discussion and feedback sessions.

Remove disruptive participants: There will always be attendees who may try to dominate, control, or prolong the meeting with unnecessary discussion. The host should be knowledgeable about how and when to remove such participants.

Project Professional Image: Project a professional image that is appropriate to the occasion and participants. Pay attention to verbal and non-verbal communication, such as body language, voice inflection, and gestures. The trainer should be aware of the camera's view, and how much of their bodies can be seen by the audience to make their gestures visible.

Be Mindful of your Manners: Avoid eating, drinking, and other such interruptive actions.

Tips to Conclude Virtual Meetings

Under the proper code of conduct, the host should be the last to log off. The host should wait for participants to leave the meeting at their own pace. However, if some participants are taking their time, for example, engaging in extensive social conversation, then it is appropriate to announce that the meeting is over, and the host is now disconnecting.


Virtual meetings will become the new normal. Initially, these can be challenging and a bit intimidating as they require knowledge and proficiency in the use of technology. However, with a bit of practice, patience, and understanding of user-friendly programs such as Zoom, meetings can become highly effective and enjoyable.

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