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Managing a Professional Video Conference

Professional Video Conferencing During COVID-19

March 23, 2020

Many of us have jumped on a video call with friends or coworkers. Let’s face it, it is easy! Managing a professional video conference or meeting requires some planning and forethought. Here are some tips and guidelines for successfully running a virtual conference or meeting.

Best Practices

  • Use a headset. This is an absolute requirement.
  • Assign a person to be the host and to run the call process. This is the person who knows the software (Zoom in this example) best.
  • Have the presenter(s) call in on their phone(s) to provide the voice stream and use their PCs for video. The sound will be much clearer this way. Make sure you know their phone number in advance so you can unmute them.

Before the Call

  • Hold a practice session with the presenters and the host.
  • Test headsets for volume and clarity. Make sure everyone is using a headset.
  • Practice handing control back and forth and walk through the planned agenda.
  • Create a separate introduction slide for the host running the meeting. I prefer to have a slide up that states “Welcome” and asks attendees to turn off their video and mute their microphones.
  • The host and the presenters should be on the call 10 minutes early at a minimum.

At the Beginning of the Call

  • In Zoom, use the share screen function to share the introduction slide with participants when the call starts. If the presenter is starting on their deck (no intro) make sure they have shared that before the call formally begins.
    • Do not make someone else the host during the call. This will stop any recording. Rather, make that person a co-host. You can do this from the manage participants area by hovering over the person's name and clicking "more" and the "make cohost." To switch back, go to the same person, click "more" and click "withdraw cohost permission."
  • Unmute the presenter.
    • If presenter is using their phone for audio (recommended) make sure you unmute their phone! (Make sure you know their phone number. The host will be faced with a list of everyone phoning in as just a list of numbers, no names.)
  • Unmute the host.
  • Announce all mics are muted for participants.
    • When you use “mute all” keep in mind you have muted cell phone callers and they cannot unmute themselves! This can really mess things up!
    • When you use “mute all” you have muted the host and the presenter. Make sure to unmute as needed.
  • Announce that you will be taking questions via chat. There is no practical way to allow many people to ask questions at once. The host can monitor the chat answering simple questions.
  • Announce that the call is being recorded and will be available after the meeting.

During the Call

Throughout the call, the host should:

  • Monitor chat room.
  • Keep everyone but the speaker muted. People have a habit of unmuting their phones.

After the Call

  • Download the recording of the call as soon as it is ready. You will receive an email when this is the case.
  • Download the chat recording.
  • Download the transcription.
  • Capture final count and list of attendees for mailing lists.
  • Follow up with the presenter.
    • Say Thank You!
    • Ask for all content from the presenter that can be shared with participants and potentially on a blog post.
  • Provide content to all attendees.
  • Review chat content for ideas and content suggestions.
  • Review transcription. You may need to clean it up.

Setting up Zoom for Maximum Success:

Consider using the following key settings in Zoom. First, log into the browser version of Zoom (not the app).

In Settings

  • Participants Video Off
  • Audio Type — Telephone and Computer
  • Turn on “Mute participants upon entry”
  • Turn on Chat
  • Turn on “Auto saving chats”
  • Turn on Co-host
  • Turn on “Always show meeting control toolbar”
  • Turn on Screen Sharing for host only
  • Set “Who can start sharing when someone else is participating” to “Host only”
  • Turn on “Remote control”
  • Turn on “When a cloud recording is available/Notify host when cloud recording is available”

In Settings/Record

  • Turn on Cloud Recording
  • Turn on Automatic Recording
  • Turn on “Save chat messages from the meeting/webinar”
  • Turn on Audio transcript
  • Turn on Private Chat

You can count on The Partnership to continue to share accurate and fact-based updates as well. See more on COVID-19 here.

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