Zoom Basics: Tips for Productive Meetings

Lesson 4: Tips for Productive Meetings


Tips for productive meetings

As a communication tool, Zoom is a top choice among professionals and educators alike. But like every video conferencing platform, there are sometimes distractions! This lesson covers a few tips to help your meetings run more smoothly.

Keep in mind that the host sets the tone for how formalor casual—a meeting will be. Some hosts don't mind if participants eat lunch or have a pet in their lap, while others do! If you are the host, think about your expectations and setting an example. Here are some ways to keep things orderly...

Helpful tips for hosts

  • Using the Chat: The chat is a great place for participants to ask questions if they don't want to interrupt the speaker. Besides pleasantries (hello, thank you, or goodbye), ask everyone to only type comments related to the topic at hand. In the Zoom window, click the Chat bubble icon and a pop-up window will appear. If you are accessing Zoom through the app, you can also click on the File button to attach documents or photos. Users can only see comments typed from the time they enter the meeting, as opposed to the chat history. 

  • Muting Oneself: Background noise (like sirens) can be amplified on Zoom, so it's always a good idea ask listeners to mute themselves. They can do this by hovering their mouse over the Zoom screen and clicking Mute in the lower left-hand corner. A red slash will appear through the microphone. (Just remember to unmute yourself when it's your turn to speak!)

  • Muting Another Participant: Sometimes there will be background noise coming from a participant's speaker. You can usually tell who it is because a lit-up box will appear around their screen. If they aren't paying attention to your requests and you need to mute them, click the Participants button, then review the Participants pop-up panel on the right-hand side. Hover over the person's username and select Mute. You can Ask them to unmute using the same method, since you can't directly turn on their microphone. 
A screenshot of a mouse cursor hovering over the Mute button in the Zoom app.

  • Make Someone Else the Host: Maybe you're the host and need to leave the meeting, but you don't want to end the meeting for everyone. Click on Participants, and then find the user's name in the pop-up panel who you would like to make the host. Hover over their camera icon, and it will turn into a blue button that says More. When you click this button, select Make Host from the drop-down menu. Click Yes in the confirmation pop-up window. You can click the white button Reclaim Host at the bottom of the panel if need be. (If you are using the Zoom app, you also have the ability to make someone the co-host, meaning that you both have control over the meeting settings).   

A few other useful features

  • Record the Meeting: What if someone can't make the meeting or class lesson? You can record it and email them the MP4 file (or upload it to a webpage) after you're done. On the bottom panel, click Record. Your audio will need to be turned on/unmuted, since your screen is being recorded. You can click Pause/Stop if you only need to record part of the meeting. Once you exit the meeting, the recording will automatically be saved to your computer after receiving the pop-up message, Converting. If you have a paid account, then you have the option of saving it to the cloud as well.
  • Share Your Screen: Since many people are visual learners, sometimes it's easier to show them something rather than tell them about it. You can either share your entire screen or one application that's open, like PowerPoint. This is a great tool for displaying documents, pictures, or presentations. Watch the video below to learn more about screen sharing in Zoom:

As you become more skilled you can try out other tools, like breakout rooms and audio transcription. Make sure you continuously accept updates so that your version of Zoom isn't outdated. The platform has been adding nifty features as more and more people start turning to Zoom for classes and remote work.