#COVID19 LOCKDOWN PUSHES ENTREPRENEURS ONLINE-how to HOST a smooth and successful meeting with zoom?
Updated: Apr 2
Entrepreneurs have over the past few years be reminded again and again to bring their business online but many are still lagging. With the current #COVID19 pandemic, they now naturally will take this big leap. The first step is to communicate online. In our business networking group we still hold our meetings weekly. The surprising fact is attendance seemed to improve! Perhaps there is nothing else better to do than attending a business meeting when you are stuck at home? Everything happens for a reason and those who adapt quickly and can look at the bright side would benefit significantly.
How did we go online? We used a video conferencing tool Zoom (https://zoom.us/) owned by Zoom Communications listed in NASDAQ with 1,958 employees founded in 2011 in San Jose California, USA. For starters you can start with a free version. Your meetings can go on for forty minutes before you are logged out. You can login again and continue, taking the two to five minutes for your participants to log in.
Given our group was more than 100 pax, and we would not want to reconnect we bought the paid PRO version USD14.99/month/host and topped up to include large package for USD50.00. You can see the pricing list here or https://zoom.us/pricing
From the pricing list you would still have many questions am sure. Please comment and I'll update this page with answers to your questions.
The focus of this article is on organizing a smooth and successful Zoom meeting.
We had it very smooth considering the consistency and size of the participants with me chairing the meeting with a host and a co-host.
Before the meeting: 1. Prepare a clear announcement or even a nice poster because preparation is key, with timing! You can do so for free using Canva.com. There are hundreds of templates to choose from.
I have listed down all the steps needed for the Meeting Organizer in the form of T1 (Task 1), T2 (Task 2) and so on.
Meeting Organizer Tasks: T1) Prepare Publicity Poster T2) Prepare and share"Dos" and "Donts" List
Dos: Plan where to have the call (quiet place with good lighting facing your face), try out Zoom with the various buttons and features especially muting and unmuting, have strong and stable internet connection, dress appropriately, inform family members ahead for minimal distractions (if locked down at home with family) Dont's: Do the call while driving, leave the video camera and audio on unattended
2. Communicate the agenda ahead of time, especially on timing and have a meeting host and time keeper if needed. The host can also be the timekeeper (ideally) but if he/she is already occupied you can have someone do it.
Meeting Organizer Tasks: T3) Share meeting agenda to manage expectations so everyone has sufficient time to speak or knows when to speak
3. Hosts (and Meeting Chairperson if he/she is also the host, best to have separate host for large groups) to be extremely familiar with the following: - Audio mute and unmute button (participants too)
- Video mute and unmute button (participants too) - Give a name to yourself on Zoom so participants can see each other's name. For some it could show iPhone or Asus until you update it. Add profession too for value added branding. E.g. "Marcus Teoh - Zero Budget FB Trainer"
- Chat box to "Everyone" or to just an individual on the right (Host can disable public chatting too) - Different view settings from gallery to spotlight focused on speakers - Slides and screen sharing and management from the PC
- (Optional) Virtual backgrounds are available in Zoom itself like a seaside or you can customize to showcase your company logo and branding
Meeting Organizer Tasks: T4) Test Zoom especially key features as mentioned above T5) Teach the participants on audio and video mute function and also to rename their Zoom names for easier recognition before meeting 4. Set up the meeting room ahead of time, schedule it in advance and make sure you pick the right time zone! If you have participants from different time zones, remember to confirm. Decide if you want to include a password to join the meeting. It looks something like this (you can remove irrelevant info) and remember to send the Zoom meeting link ahead of time:
5. Do a rehearsal to involve as many people as possible especially technologically challenged participants to test it first. Meeting Organizer Tasks: T6) Schedule a rehearsal involving the hosts and the participants. Keep it short and focused with the primary objective to have participants get familiar with the set up and features of Zoom. T7) Send WhatsApp reminder a night before if it is a morning meeting, else same day reminder.
During the meeting:
1. Open the room earlier at least 30 minutes ahead and remind everyone that the meeting will be starting soon and make sure to test audio and video before the meeting. Else it could be very disruptive when participants have difficulties with finding their way to mute and unmute. 2. Once meeting starts, meeting host to mute everyone and only those who want to speak to unmute themselves and then mute again after that. 3. Recommended to have video camera on for better interaction.
4. Option to record entire meeting is available but make sure consent to record is obtained ahead of time.
5. Should anything not work, meeting host/ meeting Chairman to remain calm and positive while figuring out a solution. Remember it is supposed to be fun and enjoyable!
After the meeting:
1. Do NOT close the room yet if you have chat messages you need to follow up. Record down first.
2. Thank everyone for attending and remember to close the meeting room accordingly.