Setting up and running an online event is easier now thanks to Zoom! Virtual events, whether public or private, require careful consideration and preparation, so this guide will walk you through some considerations and best practices for running yours.
Table of Contents:
- Zoom Roles for Meetings and Webinar
- Meetings vs. Webinar
- Requesting a Webinar License
- Event Formats and Considerations
- Pre-Meeting Security Settings
- In-Meeting Security Settings
- Rehearsal/Practice Session
- Backup Plans
- Start Up Checklist
Zoom Roles for Meetings and Webinars
A successful virtual event requires teamwork and planning! Your speakers and production team will need to be adequately prepared for their roles, which means they’ll need to get familiar with the tools and tricks of Zoom needed to fulfill those roles. Below are descriptions of the various roles in Zoom.
Moderator or assistant
Moderators and guest presenters
Panelist (Webinar Only)
Attendee (Webinar Only)
Meetings vs Webinars
Visit our article on Meetings vs. Webinars to learn the difference and which one is most appropriate for your event.
Requesting a Zoom Webinar License
To host a Webinar, you’ll first need to contact Media Services at email@example.com 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 setup and test the webinar (recommended at least two weeks in advance)
- The number of attendees you expect.
- The name of the Emerson staff/faculty that is setting up the Webinar (one person only).
- Whether this is a recurring Webinar or not.
Event Formats and Considerations
Below are considerations for additional features you may want for your event. Common features for virtual events include:
- Q&A (Webinar Only)
- Q&A is a special feature within Zoom webinars, but as a common event feature it can still be done in meetings, it just requires more coordination and has a less formal appearance when compared to webinars.
- Polling (Meetings & Webinar)
- Post Survey (Meetings & Webinar)
- Breakout Rooms (Meetings Only)
- Closed captioning
- Branding (Webinar Only)
- 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 being recorded.
Pre-Meeting Security Settings
This requires your participants/attendees to register for your event ahead of time. Registration is recommended if you want to limit attendance to only people you know, or if you want information on attendees, such as name, email, and other user-specified information. There are two kinds of registration:
- Auto Approval: Registrants will be automatically approved to attend.
- Manual Approval: Registrants will need to be individually approved to attend.
*Remember to give your participants/attendees time to register. At least a week in advance is recommended.
This will generate a random ID for you meeting or webinar, and is highly recommended as a security precaution.
This setting is on by default. The password will be embedded in your meeting/webinar's link. People joining will not have to enter the password unless you remove it from the link.
For best practice, have video for both the host and participant turned off. Video can be turned on after they join the meeting.
*This won’t prevent participants from turning on their video in meetings at first. To do that, use the Stop Video feature when they turn on their video. Once that's done, they'll need to request to turn on their video.
We recommend disabling the Enable Join Before Host setting. This allows participants to join the meeting and interact with each other using their audio/video before the host joins. Only limited functions are available here (e.g., Screen-sharing cannot be done without the host) and the host has no control over this space until they join, which leaves this open to security hazards.
Participant's microphones will be muted upon joining the meeting.
Participants will be placed in the waiting room upon joining the meeting. The waiting room doesn't offer any interactivity capability with anyone. The participants will have to be admitted into the meeting from the waiting room one-by-one. This setting can be turned on during the meeting as well.
If enabled, participants can only join if they sign into their Zoom accounts. All Emerson participants have Zoom accounts by default. Non-Emerson participants may not be able to join if they don’t have a Zoom account.
Allows a team member to start and host your Zoom event if the host cannot. For Emerson events, the alternative host must have an Emerson account.
In-Meeting Security Settings
Go to the Participants tab and select Mute All, and uncheck the option to allow them to unmute themselves. This will prevent participants from unmuting their mic without the host's permission.
Assign them to be co-host and panelists as needed. Go to "Manage Participants", and next to their name click "More", and select "Make Co-Host". This will allow them to help manage the event.
In the Chat window, click the three dots at the bottom right, and select "Host Only". This disables participant's ability to message each other, so all chat messages will only be sent to the host, co-hosts, and panelists.
- Security Button: You can find shortcuts to a variety of security settings here, such as:
- *You can also remove participants from the Gallery View, where you can quickly identify a malicious actor and remove them.
- Screen share: This toggles the participant's ability to share their screens.
- Chat: This toggles the Chat function to be on or off.
- Rename themselves: This toggles participant's ability to rename themselves.
- Lock Meeting: This prevents any more people from joining the meeting.
- Remove Participants: This shows the full list of participants and the ability to remove them instantly.
Shows the video of a chosen speaker. Go to the participant's video, the three dots in the blue square at the top right, and select Spotlight Video.
Having a practice session of the virtual event can greatly improve quality and flow, both of which are important for keeping the viewer's attention. A good practice session includes:
- Everyone involved in running the event.
- An established agenda for everyone to follow.
- A 'fake' attendee to demo what the viewers will see for the event.
- A full test of any special functions you may need, such as recording, live-streaming, and closed captioning.
- Enable Practice Session in Webinar
Plan for things to go wrong! Have a contingency for each of these scenarios:
- Speaker/presenter gets disconnected and can't rejoin the event
- To maintain flow, have someone ready to pick up where they left off.
- Keep backups of presentation media so the host, co-hosts, or panelists can share them.
- A malicious actor takes over the event.
- A presenter is experiencing audio/video issues.
- Recording stops or becomes faulty.
- The meeting/webinar has accidentally ended.
- Start early to give your team time to get ready, configure settings, and get last-minute practice.
- Check your audio/video equipment to verify that it’s working.
- Check your internet connection to verify that it’s stable and that you have adequate bandwidth.
- Check the in-meeting security options to make sure they’re set.
- Promote guest presenters and moderators to their co-host and panelist roles.
- Address the rules, agenda, and technical notes to the participants at the start of the meeting.
- Meeting etiquette (keeping mics muted until you need to speak, video off or on, etc).
- Briefly explain the format and timeline of the event.
- Let participants know where to direct questions and requests.
- Designate a technical support moderator for participants to reach out to if they need assistance.
For questions or requests, such as booking a webinar license, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 617-824-8676.