With the sudden shift to remote learning and working, many in the University community are learning to host Zoom video conferences on the fly. Follow these meeting etiquette tips and best practices to make your video conferences more productive and enjoyable for all participants.
Don’t Make Private Meetings Public
Whenever possible, distribute your Zoom meeting link only to those individuals who will be attending your class or meeting. If you share your meeting link on social media or other public platforms, anyone who sees the link will be able to join your meeting (unless you set a password for your meeting and share that privately with attendees). That includes trolls, who can then share or post inappropriate or offensive material (“zoombombing”).
Manage Screen Sharing
Only hosts and co-hosts have the ability to share their screens by default. However, hosts may enable screen sharing for participants on a per meeting basis or change settings to enable participant screen sharing by default for all meetings.
Click the Security icon in the meeting host’s toolbar to easily enable and disable screen sharing and other common security settings from within an active meeting.
Manage Your Participants
- Allow only signed-in users to join: This feature can be useful when you want to control your guest list and invite only certain individuals (for example, students or colleagues). If someone tries to join the meeting who isn't signed in to a Zoom account, they will receive a notice indicating the meeting is open only to authorized attendees, and they will have the option to sign in with an authorized email address.
- Lock the meeting: Locking a Zoom meeting that is in progress prevents new participants from joining, even if they have the meeting ID and password (if you have required one). In the meeting, click Participants at the bottom of the window, then click the Lock Meeting button in the pop-up window.
- Remove unwanted or disruptive participants: Navigate to the Participants menu, mouse over a participant’s name, and click Remove. They will not be able to rejoin unless you allow them to do so (see below).
- Place participants on hold: You can put everyone else on hold, and the attendees’ video and audio connections will be disabled momentarily. Click on someone’s video thumbnail and select Start Attendee On Hold to activate this feature. Click Take Off Hold in the Participants list when you’re ready to resume the meeting.
- Disable video: As a meeting host, you can turn off someone’s video. This will allow hosts to block unwanted, distracting, or inappropriate gestures on video.
- Mute participants: You can mute/unmute individual participants or all participants at once. This allows you to block unwanted, distracting, or inappropriate noise. To mute everyone, click Manage Participants and select Mute All. You can also enable Mute Upon Entry in your settings to keep noise at a minimum during large classes or meetings.
- Turn off file transfer: In-meeting file transfer allows people to share files through the in-meeting chat. Toggle this off to keep the chat from getting bombarded with unsolicited pics, GIFs, memes, and other content.
- Turn off annotation: You and your attendees can doodle and mark up content together using annotations during screen share. You can disable the annotation feature in your Zoom settings to prevent people from writing all over the screens.
- Disable private chat: Zoom has in-meeting chat for everyone, or participants can message each other privately. To cut back on distractions, you can restrict participants’ ability to chat amongst one another while your event is in progress. This also helps prevent anyone from receiving unwanted messages during the meeting.
- Review Zoom's best practices for securing meetings: Zoom has compiled a list of pre-meeting and in-meeting settings you can use to protect your meetings.
Tips for Meeting Attendees
- Mute your microphone: To help keep background noise to a minimum, make sure you mute your microphone when you are not speaking.
- Be mindful of background noise: When your microphone is not muted, avoid activities that could create additional noise, such as shuffling papers.
- Position your camera properly: If you choose to use a web camera, be sure it is in a stable position and focused at eye level, if possible. Doing so helps create a more direct sense of engagement with other participants.
- Limit distractions: You can make it easier to focus on the meeting by turning off notifications, closing or minimizing running apps, and muting your smartphone.
- Avoid multi-tasking: You'll retain the discussion better if you refrain from replying to emails or text messages during the meeting and wait to work on that PowerPoint presentation until after the meeting ends.
- Prepare materials in advance: If you will be sharing content during the meeting, make sure you have the files and/or links ready to go before the meeting begins.
Focus on Clear Audio
Audio is the most important part of video conferencing. You can communicate with audio-only, but not video only. Follow these steps to optimize your audio.
- For individuals joining a call from their work or home office, it's best to use a mic-enabled headphone, like Logitech H390 USB or Mpow HC6. This is the best way to avoid unwanted feedback & echoes.
- For a group of people in the same room joining a call, you'll need to use a webcam and/or speakerphone designed for echo canceling, like Logitech BCC950 or Jabra USB Speakerphone. While laptop & tablet speakers usually work fine, they can cause feedback & echoes especially with a group of people in the same room.
- Host your meetings in as quiet a place as possible, and mute your microphone when possible, especially in large groups. Many programs, like Zoom & Google Hangouts Meet, will prioritize video layouts based on audio, so background noises like passing cars or keyboard typing can change others' views.
Light Your Face
- Front-facing natural light is best. It evenly accentuates and brightens your skin and features, giving you a clear, flattering, movie-star-like quality. Set up your computer in front of a window, and importantly, make sure that light is hitting your face straight-on.
- Avoid having bright light sources like lamps or windows behind you. This will darken your face and degrade the quality of your video.
RAISE YOUR CAMERA
The best camera angle is head-on and at eye level. Your table is almost certainly going to be lower than your face, and that means people are going to get an unflattering look up at you. Use a set of books, a stool, or a higher table to make sure your camera is at the same level as your eyes. You don’t want people to feel like they are looking up or down at you.
Avoid Cluttered Background
Removing any clutter from your background to minimize distraction for others. Although our homes are inherently less equipped for professional meetings than your office, it's best to have a plain, simple background, as opposed to something busy.
Not being in the same room can make it challenging to determine order & how to handle dialogue. This is a very personal preference choice depending on how you want to run your class or meeting. Smaller groups may not encounter any issues; larger groups may want to create a queue by virtually "raising their hand" in the chat or some similar method.