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Virtual Meetings: Best Practices

Preparing for the meeting (participants and host)

1. Set up your equipment

2. Look your best

  • Lighting should come from in front of you or from the side, in order to best light your face

  • Keep your background clear of distractions or use a virtual background

  • Look at your webcam if you are presenting

  • Use gestures and mannerisms that you would typically use in person

3. Join a meeting

  • Join the meeting five to ten minutes and wait for the host to allow you in.

Participating in the Meeting (participants and host)

1. Participate Effectively

  • Use the Raise Hand feature to notify the host or current speaker that you wish to speakSome meeting hosts pay attention to whether someone unmutes their microphone when preparing to speak, but this is not guaranteed.

  • Unmute your microphone before speaking.

  • Identify yourself to meeting attendees - say your full name and pronouns the first time you begin speaking.

  • When screensharing, if you are referring to something on the screen, describe where your cursor is going or what it is that you are referring to.Avoid saying "here" or "this" when describing something. Instead, try using more descriptive language:"Notice the box labeled 'sign in' in the upper-left corner of the home page.""When reviewing the spreadsheet, in column H, row 34..."Identifying what is happening on the screen increases access for everyone attending the meeting.

2. Stay Engaged

  • Mute your microphone any time you are not actively speaking.

  • Avoid noisy activities like typing while your microphone is on.

  • Focus on the meeting - avoid multitasking when you can.

  • Monitor chat for conversation

  • Make sure you can see the Zoom windows at all times, especially if someone is sharing their screen

3. Reduce Distractions

  • Sit or stand somewhere with a neutral background (or use a virtual background).

  • Make sure your camera is on a steady surface to prevent shaking

  • Turn off your camera if you need to take care of business outside of the meeting. Turn the camera back on when you are present in the meeting again.Communicate privately with the meeting host or co-host if you need to step away from your computer, similarly to if you needed to excuse yourself from an in-person meeting. Notify the host or co-host when you return.

Hosting a Meeting

Preparing Your Meeting

  • Secure your Zoom meetings to prevent unwanted guests

  • Review your host controls and meeting settings ahead of time

  • Assign co-hosts as needed after starting the meeting
    It is always a good idea to have a peer or TA moderate and monitor chat while you lead the meeting
    Ask your co-host(s) to assist you in muting participants who may accidentally have their mics unmuted

  • Turn on Automatic Transcription after starting the meeting
    Participants can turn subtitles on or off and review the meeting transcript

  • Share your screen if you are presenting, or working collaboratively on a Google Doc or Sheet
    Enable Screenshare from the Security menu if you wish to allow participants to share their screen

  • Start recording (or set up automatic recordings) if desired
    Learn about enabling the Zoom Recording Disclaimer

Communicating Meeting Norms with Participants

  • Remind participants to mute their mics when others are presenting or speaking

  • Facilitate introductions and communicate meeting structure so your participants know what to expect from the meeting

  • Share a meeting agenda or meeting document links in the chat, if applicable
    Note: If a participant joins late, you or your co-host will need to re-send the links

  • Communicate your expectations for whether participants should have their video on There are many reasons why a participant may not wish to use video. Carefully consider your reasoning for requiring or not requiring video engagement.

  • Let participants know how they can get your attention or engage during the meeting. Should participants: Enter questions in chat? Unmute themselves and start talking? Use the nonverbal feedback Raise Hand?