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Virtual Meeting Best Practices

Here are some best practices for virtual meetings

For Participants
Play around with the features

There are a ton of options in Zoom that will make the experience better for everyone involved. Here are a few:

Mute Unmute: Mute or unmute your microphone.

Video: Start and stop your own video.

Share: Start a screen share. You’ll be able to select what you want to share. Learn more.

Participants: See who’s currently in the meeting. The participants list also gives you access to these options:

  • Tap your name if you want to rename yourself. (this is very useful if you happen to be using someone else’s account or computer)
  • Chats: Chat with other participants. Learn more.
  • Invite: Invite others to join your meeting. Learn more.

More: View non-verbal feedback icons (if enabled by the host). Tapping an icon will notify the host by placing the icon beside your name in the participants list. For example, Raise Hand places the raise hand icon beside your name and simulates a hand raise.

For Hosts
Be mindful of the Mute function

More often than not, feedback and other audio distractions are the cause of one or more people not speaking having their mic unmuted. If an issue arises, look for those participants without the mute icon in their image and suggest they mute their feeds. As a host, you have the option to mute all participants.

Don’t share your Zoom link or code on social media

The easiest way to avoid getting Zoombombed (a term for abusive, unwanted behavior in meeting) is to keep your event private and your invite list small. If you are creating an event for a large, public audience, do not share your meeting link directly on social media. Instead, publicize an R.S.V.P. email address where people can state their interest in attending the event. That way, you can vet the list of prospective attendees and share the event link with only those whom you choose.

A meeting password — which is automatically generated by Zoom — will prevent uninvited users being able to join your event, even if they have the meeting link. Unfortunately, many Zoombombers swap and obtain meeting codes on social media. Be careful with where you share your meeting code, and if you can, wait to send it out until shortly before the event begins. Read how to add a password here.

A waiting room gives the meeting owner the ability to put everyone seeking to join the meeting in a virtual holding area. The host can then select only those whom they have invited to the meeting. Sometimes Zoombombers will use familiar names, so be careful to confirm the person’s identity by asking them to turn their camera on. Read how to create a waiting room here.

One popular way Zoombombers hijack a meeting is through the app’s screen sharing function. When screen sharing privileges are set to “all,” any member who joins a meeting could project offensive imagery to meeting’s participants. Read how to keep screen sharing privileges limited here.

Even if you limit screen sharing, trolls may draw offensive words or shapes over the host’s presentation using the annotation tool, which gives users the ability to draw onscreen in different colors using a cursor. Read how to restrict the annotation feature here.

Zoombombers will leverage every feature they can to ruin a meeting. For some meetings it might make sense to block private chatsturn off file transfers and restrict custom backgrounds, all of which could be used to taunt or harass participants. Read more on host controls here.

Trolls can be persistent. One way to thwart their efforts is by preventing them from rejoining. Unfortunately some attacks are coordinated, so there may still be other bad actors in your meeting, but at least you’ll be one down. Read how to disable the “allow removed participants to rejoin” option here.

Zoom recently announced that it would be shifting all engineering resources to combating harassment and improving security features in order to better protect users. “We are making sure if we get issues in terms of security, we update the client right away,” said Oded Gal, Zoom’s chief product officer. “That’s why it’s important to update.”Read how to make sure you’re using the latest version of the app.

(liberally adapted from Zoom’s help pages and an article in the New York Times)

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    Wednesday 23 September 2020
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  • Peralta Community College District

    The District comprises four colleges serving northern Alameda County.
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