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Tips to Make Zoom Zing

Updated: Jul 4, 2020

With so many schools and nonprofits now using Zoom, we wanted to share some best practices, creative ideas, and simple tech tips. Enjoy connecting virtually and spice it up!

Creating a Zing

Communicate the Plan - Convey the theme, topic, or purpose of the connection.

  • Indicate the Format - Convey whether the session will be a discussion (with or without breakout sessions), webinar presentation, workshop or another format.

  • Allow Early Entry - By greeting people as they enter, this creates a sense of ease and exchange before the session begins. Open up chat for session questions, do simple polls while waiting, or just chat live.

  • Create a Storyline - Kick off the session with a story. This is an example based on a true school story, with some embellishments. "Last Tuesday, a group of maintenance workers did a video tour of the campus. Beyond showing our historic ivy covered buildings, they gathered in front of our old stone fireplace, where they told personal stories about students and the campus...."

  • Create a Takeaway - What do you want attendees to get out of the session? Example: "Crisis = Opportunity.....Everywhere you look, someone is pointing out how we can take difficult times to innovate and make radical changes. On Wikipedia, they indicate the chinese characters for crisis actually signify both danger and opportunity...."

  • Ask a Question - An example to follow the above quote could be something along these lines...."Do you feel your school is in danger or are you seeking new opportunities?"

  • Consider a Co-Host - To avoid distractions, it can sometimes be helpful to have someone monitor chat, polls, recordings, and other functions. It can also mix things up between speakers to capture interest and share different perspectives.

Avoid a Zap

  • Long Introductions - Send your bio in advance if needed and state the purpose and format in the invitation subject line. This will help avoid a long introduction of speakers or presenters. You can also put key info in the chat area prior to starting.

  • Meetings that Go On and On - Avoid meetings or webinars over 60 minutes. 45 minutes is ideal with 15 minutes for questions at the end of a webinar. Keep your audience wanting more and put out a teaser for the next session at the very end.

  • Breakout Rooms Without Purpose - Create compelling question(s) for the exchange. For example: What enrollment or marketing initiative has stood out and received the greatest response from families? What has been your greatest pitfall in the last few months? Biggest lesson from last few months?

  • Interruptions that Disrupt- Eliminate interruptions through the use of the raised hand icon in the participants section.

  • Tech that Frustrates Users- Teach a few tips right at the beginning so users know how to conduct themselves (mute, raise hand, use chat, show video camera, rename themselves). Hans Mundahl does this weekly at the EMA meetings and it has been very helpful.

Zing Tech Tips

1. Microphone - Use "mute all" under participants as needed, especially once a presentation begins. If it is a discussion, encourage participants to mute themselves when they are not speaking. The microphone icon is conveniently located on the tool bar.

2. Share Video & Video Settings - The default (high def facetime, etc) should show up with a settings area below it. Check the settings for these recommendations:

  • Mirror my camera view

  • Always display participants

  • Show video dialog when joining

  • Spotlight when speaking

  • Display up to 49 in gallery view (depends on device)

3. Participants - This section allows participants to raise their hand to avoid interruptions, provide yes or no responses, or help the presenter know whether to go slower or faster.

4. Chat - Get the meeting moving with simple questions where a quick impromptu response can come up as a "waterfall."

  • Examples: Name your school, name your school mascot, name your location, best idea for the week, etc.

  • As you move through the session, make it interactive, by encouraging participants to ask questions, share information, post links and more in the chat area.

5. Share Screen - This is managed in general settings so only the host or co-host does the screen shares. For security, it is typically not advisable to allow participants to screen share unless you sent out individual email invites or allowed people in before entering.

Screenshare Prep - Start the call 15 minutes prior to set up the screen share.

  • Open up the screen you wish to share on your desktop and maximize view.

  • Then click on the Zoom start icon and you will see your face.

  • Then click on share screen on the toolbar.

  • Find the screen you wish to share in the boxes and click share.

  • The screen should show, along with your personal video camera in the corner.

  • You can share a document, powerpoint, website, or even an email.

  • If you have multiple screens to share, you will need to pause and resume shares to show each one. Once again, it is best to open all windows up in advance, so you can move from window to window in the screen share area.

6. Record Sessions - Only the host or co-host can record sessions.

  • Pause until you are ready to begin recording.

  • Make sure you have tested your microphone, video view, and background.

  • Use cloud if you want to show your face while doing screen shares for the recorded version.

  • After the session, you will see the conversion taking place and select the place to store it.

  • Make sure you do not cancel it before it is finished converting. The file is large, so most computers will adjust for you once you attach it in email (google docs, drop box, etc).

7. Ramp up Reactions - This function under Participants is great to get a thumbs up or down to a question, idea, or to get a pulse during sessions. Encourage use of the clapping icon to express responses during the session.

8. Create Dynamic Breakout Sessions - Rather than register in advance for a breakout room topic, which can bring up complexities, it is simpler to set up a few topics during the actual meeting.

  • Ask everyone to choose their preferred topic from a list posted in chat. Focus on topics that are current and will engage participants in discussion.

  • Participants can then click on the three dots to rename themselves (near their video camera).

  • Participants should name themselves with the group topic of choice.

  • For example, if Mary is interested in the first group to discuss financial aid, she would rename herself - "Group 1." The host would then put her in that breakout room.

  • Technology Tips from Enrollment Management Association

  • Devices: Some devices do not work for breakout rooms. If this occurs, those without breakout will remain in the general session. They will stay with the main host.

9. See the Audience in Gallery vs Speaker View - For meetings, keep the gallery view open or the vertical cascade view. (see the options by looking at the small box icons near your video self-view).

  • Instruct participants to use the icon near their camera to adjust it to gallery view so they can see everyone.

  • If you wish to only see the speaker, you can adjust for speaker talking only. You can also hide your self-view.

  • This does not hide your video camera view to others, so be careful; it is just so you are not looking at yourself. (See dots near video section).

  • If you prefer not to be seen at all, do not enable the video camera and you will see your name and a blank square (see video settings).

10. Show off Via a Virtual Background - If you don't want to share the actual office or room you are in, feel free to go into your general settings to upload a virtual background. Be creative and use dynamic photos of your institution.

11. How to Ask Questions or Make Comments - Set the tone by encouraging the use of the raised hand. Sometimes, you have to remind others to unmute themselves before they speak.

12. Keep Chat and Participants Open on the Host screen - This shows everyone how to keep chat moving and shows them how to raise their hand or use other functions. Be careful with private chat messages, which can be disabled in general settings.

13. Set up a Poll to Get a Pulse- Narrow it to one or two questions - For example, use polls to collect data, cast votes, or provide simple feedback.

14. Calendar Invites - In the Google Calendar, you can send out invites to a list of emails. It is to the top right section so look for the place to add emails (a bit hard to see at first glance).

  • Click save and it will ask if you wish to send the personal emails.

  • Alternatively, you can copy the invite in an email and send it to a group. This saves time if you have a long list of emails and prefer not to upload them.

  • Calendar Invites Subject Line - Remember to set the date, duration, and change the subject line. A catchy subject can entice and build a larger attendance.

We hope this helps you engage with your audience. If you have any questions, Aperture Advisory Associates is here to help.

We offer a 1 hour free consultation call for any questions. This is not a discovery call. This is our way of helping out schools and nonprofits.

Contact Info: 760-805-5136 or

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