Zoom Webinar Setup

Setting up a virtual event? There's a lot to consider! As you prepare for your upcoming event, please consider the following information to choose the Zoom format that will work best for you. If you have any additional questions or would like to try out these formats for yourself, please reach out to Media Services at media_services@emerson.edu or by putting in a ticket at helpdesk@emerson.edu.

  Want more information?

Please visit our guide on Hosting a Special Event in Zoom.

Meetings vs. Webinars





Zoom meetings are ideal for hosting more interactive sessions where you’ll want to have lots of audience participation or break your session into smaller groups.

Think of webinars like a virtual lecture hall or auditorium. Webinars are ideal for large audiences or events that are open to the public. Typically, webinar attendees do not interact with one another. Though Zoom provides options for you to get more social with your attendees, your average webinar has one or a few people speaking to an audience.

Use Case

Small to large groups (2+ participants) for:

  • Classroom session
  • Team/department meetings
  • Training session

Large events and public broadcasts (50+ attendees) such as:

  • Faculty Assembly
  • Staff Forum
  • Educational lectures


  • Faculties and students
  • Staff
  • Individuals
  • Event hosts

Side-by-side feature comparison




Participant Roles

Audio Sharing 

  • All participants can mute/unmute their own audio
  • Host can mute/request to unmute participants
  • The Host can set all participants to mute upon entry
  • Only the Host and panelists can mute/unmute their own audio 
  • Attendees join in listen-only mode*
  • The Host can unmute one or more attendees 

Video Sharing

All Participants 

Hosts and Panelists 

Screen Sharing 


Up to 300

Up to 100-500 participants

Participants List 

Visible to all participants  

Visible to Host and Panelist 

Email Reminders 


If registration is enabled


In-Meeting Chat

Webinar Chat 




File Transfer 






Polling for Meetings

Polling for Webinars


Facebook, YouTube, Workplace by Facebook, Custom Streaming Service 

Facebook, YouTube, Workplace by Facebook, Custom Streaming Service


Registration for Meetings

Registration for Webinars

Closed Captioning 




Breakout Rooms 



Require Password to Join

International Dial-in Numbers

*Note: If the host or co-host enables "Allow to Talk" for an attendee, they will have access to enable their microphone as well as mute and unmute themselves.

Request a webinar license

To host a Webinar, you’ll first need to contact Media Services at media_services@emerson.edu to request a license. We’ll need the following information to process your request:

  • Date of the webinar event, as well as 1-2 separate days in advance of your event so you can set up and test the webinar (recommended at least two weeks in advance).
  • The number of attendees you expect.  We offer 100 or 500 capacity license.
  • The name of the Emerson staff/faculty that is setting up the Webinar (one person only).
  • Whether or not this is a recurring Webinar.

If a Webinar license is available for you, we’ll confirm the booking to you for the day(s) of your request.

Webinar preparation

Below are considerations for additional features you may want for your event. Common features for virtual events include:

  Consent to Record

Emerson follows the Massachusetts two-party consent law on recording. This means that anyone joining a recorded Zoom meeting hosted by an Emerson account will get a notice that the meeting is being recorded, and they will be asked if they consent to be recorded.

Recommended settings and practices

  • Assign an alternative host(s) to start the Webinar if the host cannot.
  • Assign a chat moderator and participant moderator. This can be one person if they are able.
  • Enable Practice Session and schedule a practice session with your organizers and staff to practice your roles and agenda of the event.
  • For presenters/panelists, practice and get familiar with using Zoom, muting and un-muting audio, showing a video, and screen-sharing (Link to Zoom tutorials here).
  • For Hosts and Co-hosts, familiarize yourself with Webinar host controls and setup (Link to Zoom tutorial here).
  • Use "Spotlight video" to make a screen the focus of the Webinar, and turn it off when turning the focus to other people.
  • Determine if you want the following for your Webinar:
    • Q&A
    • Record Webinar (make sure to get approval).
    • Polling
    • Only allow authenticated users (meaning only those with Zoom accounts can join. Everyone at Emerson has a Zoom account, but they'll need to sign in to join).
    • Registration; this is the default for Webinars, but there are two kinds of registration to consider:
      • Auto-Approval: Anybody who registers can join the Webinar.
      • Manual-Approval: All registrants must be vetted for approval.
  • Make an instruction guide for attendees on how to register, how to save the Webinar to their calendar for easy access, how to join the Webinar, and what to expect for their in-Webinar controls and limits.
  • Start a little early to get everyone ready and make last-minute configurations or changes.

  Still need help?

For questions or requests, such as booking a webinar license, please contact media_services@emerson.edu, or call us at 617-824-8676.

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