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Most people have participated in a Zoom call over the past few months and are now familiar in one way or the other with this platform.

What some might not realise is the different features available and the ways in which a host can customise the experience for their attendees or audience depending on their desired outcome.

The first decision a host needs to make is whether to organise a meeting or a webinar; the key differences between these two is the level of engagement required, how many participants will be joining and whether or not you want every participant to have the ability to talk.

When hosting a webinar, you can personalise the experience for your audience further by choosing whether to include one or multiple panellists, enabling Q&A and polling, customising invitations with your branding or key messages and engaging with your audience post event. 

Below are five tips to consider when organising a Zoom conference:

  1. Timing: to ensure you reach your intended audience, it is important to choose the right date and time to host your webinar or meeting. With an increasing number of people working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, think about school pick up hours, car travel as less people are using public transport and general workplace meeting schedules (e.g. regular 9am team meetings). It is also important to take into consideration the length of your webinar, a one hour or less session will keep your audience engaged and interested and limit the number of participants who drop off the call before the intended finish time.
  2. Practice session: when organising a webinar, or meeting with a key speaker, it is a good idea to hold a practice session beforehand, to ensure not only that the technology is working but the set up and camera positioning is ideal for the audience. Minimising background interference will keep the audience engaged and limit distractions.
  3. Set the tone: it is important to set the tone and announce any housekeeping matters as attendees join on both webinars and meetings. When hosting a large meeting, asking attendees to mute their microphone when they’re not talking or when a guest speaker is presenting is essential. This will minimise distraction to both the audience and speaker and will ensure a more seamless event.
  4. Q&A: to keep your audience engaged during a webinar, be sure to enable the Q&A feature on Zoom. This will make your participants feel more engaged and give a more personalised experience. The chat feature can be used for a similar purpose during meetings.
  5. Feedback: it is important to ask your participants for feedback; what can you do better for your next webinar or meeting? They may provide an insight that you haven’t thought of or from a different perspective.

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