At Happily we are Zoom pros. We proudly utilize and customize the Zoom experience for the majority of our consultations, meetings and virtual events. So we make it our business to keep up-to-date with the latest Zoom features, and to understand all the little and big ways that the software can best function behind-the-scenes, and on the main stage for audiences at virtual events.
Looking for more Zoom related content and information? You can find our ongoing collection of Zoom blog posts here.
Most Zoom attendees are good about muting themselves when not speaking, however there’s usually at least one person who forgets to hit that mute button - or isn’t a Zoom Pro like you - and the call is suddenly interrupted with a barking dog, screaming children, noisy construction work on the street ect. If you are the Host or Co-Host of a meeting you have the power to mute the audio of any (or all) of the participants.
During a call, click the Participants button at the bottom and a list of all the current attendees will appear along the side. You can find a particular participant on the list and click ‘mute’, or you can click ‘Mute All’ down the bottom. Also if you click ‘More’, here you will find many other useful abilities such as ‘Ask All to Unmute’, ‘Lock Meeting’, ‘Allow Participants to Unmute Themselves’, ‘Mute All Upon Entry’ ect.
The Host (and Co-Host and Alternative Host) of a Zoom Meeting has a lot of power, so it is worth understanding all the features available to you as Host.
Quick side note on the differences between a Host, Co-Host and Alternative Host
Host: The user that scheduled the meeting. They have full permissions to manage the meeting. There can only be one host of a meeting.
Co-Hosts: Shares most of the controls that Hosts have, allowing the Co-Host to manage the administrative side of the meeting, such as managing attendees. The Host must assign a Co-Host during the meeting. Co-Hosts cannot start a meeting. If a Host needs someone else to start the meeting, they can assign an Alternative Host.
Alternative Hosts: Shares the same controls as Co-Hosts, but can also start the meeting. Hosts can assign alternative hosts when they schedule a meeting.
The Host has the ability to generate basic polls during a Zoom Meeting or Webinar. The feature allows you to create custom single choice or multiple choice polling questions for your Zoom event, webinar or meeting.
Polls can only be created via the Zoom Web Portal (so, not in the Zoom app) and then launched (by the Host or Co-Host) during any stage of the event via the ‘Polls’ button that appears in the menu along the bottom of the Zoom app.
We recommend creating any Polls or/and Questions prior to the event, just so they are ready to go and their creation is not a distraction for the Host during the event. However, if a new polling or question opportunity does arise, the Host can still create more via the Zoom Web Portal while the event is running.
This is a very useful tool for not only generating engagement in the event’s content, but also commentary, opinions and quotes on the event itself. Gathering post-event feedback from attendees can be a slow or fruitless exercise once the momentum of the event is over. By including a few Zoom Polls about the event itself while the event is happening, can be a beneficial way to capture that all important feedback for the event team.
Super Pro Tip! Zoom does have a Survey feature that will automatically send a survey to participants after an event. You can find it next to the Poll section in the Zoom Web Portal.
Video: A comprehensive explainer of Polling via Zoom.
The Zoom app has a sophisticated scheduling feature that allows you to establish the security and abilities of the meeting from the onset. You can do all the basics that you would except when scheduling a meeting (eg. title, date, time zone. ect).
Here are some highlights of the Schedule Meeting function:
Password: Add some extra security to your event by requiring a password upon entry. This can be great for a private event and to prevent any uninvited or unwanted guests.
Waiting Room: As Host you control when participants join the meeting, and you will have to ‘let them in’. This can be ideal to yourself and perhaps some other selected co-workers a moment before the gathering to connect and organize yourselves as needed before attendees join and the meeting officially starts.
Request permission to unmute participants: Under ‘Advanced Options’, you will find this option to ask invitees for permission to give the Host the ability to ‘unmute’ them. In other words, asking for permission to turn their microphone on. As virtual event producers, we find having this level of control very useful for creating a smooth and seamless broadcast experience.
Elect Co-Hosts or Alternative Hosts: Co-Hosts have control over a selection of the settings along with the Host, and allocating a Co-Host (or multiple ones) is a pro way to delegate and make a Zoom event run more smoothly. (See definitions of Hosts, Co-Hosts and Alternative Hosts above.)
There are a bunch of other settings in the Schedule Meeting function, and it can be fully integrated with your calendar, including your iCal, Google Calender or whatever platform you use.
Styling the backdrop environment of the Zoom box that other attendees see you in can take you from looking like an amateur, to looking like a pro. Design a space or a corner in your house that organically looks like the impression you want to give - professional, organized, stylish.
If you’re regularly on Zoom calls, if you have one very important Zoom call coming up, or if you will be speaking at a virtual event, take a moment to really look at what is visible behind and around you. What people see in the background will say a lot about you. Is that a boring blank wall behind you? Is there laundry? A messy pile of cords?
This may be as easy as moving some items from around your home and rearranging your home office space. Some simple pieces of art - that will not distract from you - can be a great instant glam for a bare wall. You can also start with some (healthy) plants, a few tasteful knick-knacks, a pile of books and purposefully placing them in the Zoom view. Just as long as the space behind you in the Zoom view appears organized and considered, you are on your way to looking like a Zoom pro.
Video: Here are some additional visual Zoom tips via our Founder and CEO, Sarah Shewey.
As a step up from presenting your PowerPoint or Keynote slides with the basic ‘Share Screen’ option, you can now use your presentation directly as a Virtual Background to create a smoother and more immersive sharing experience.
As the presenter, with this feature you will be able to easily manage and control the slides within the Zoom app itself. If your video is on, or if you would like it on during your presentation, your portrait will be imposed over the slides. You can resize and relocate your video stream on the screen as desired. We suggest a bottom corner and a smaller size, to ensure that all your presentation is visible.
Super Pro Tip! When designing your presentation, purposefully leave a black space or create a design in anticipation of your Zoom video feed. Please note that any audio, transitions, or animations embedded in slides are not supported with Virtual Backgrounds.
To share a presentation as your background, in the Zoom app: Share Screen > Advanced > Slides as Virtual Background > Browse and select the PowerPoint or Keynote presentation file > Open
For more information on this refer to Sharing slides as a Virtual Background via Zoom.