Rock Your Zoom Meeting

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

January 27, 2022

Everyone is on Zoom these days, right? Our kids and teachers, our churches, everyone. And, everyone is LEARNING how to do this digital platform. The thing we have to remember is the same things that rocked meetings before rock them now. Inspiring and relatable content, engaged audience members, and a welcoming space. There are a lot of ways to do that with zoom, and there are some things to know to really rock your Zoom meeting and make it a great experience for your audience. 

There are so many directions we could travel, but for this one, I wanted to focus on a more seamless experience for your guests. So, to rock your zoom meetings, I want you to do three things. I want you to get connected, share with ease, and have fun.

1) Get Connected

The most successful Zoom meetings I have attended or run have had help. That is co-hosts. Even more successful Zoom meetings have had breakout rooms which give attendees a chance, just like in person, to get connected on a smaller more intimate scale and do a few things. Your attendees get to know each other better, they can dive into a topic more intimately, and it’s easier to create a safe space with a few people (sometimes) than many. This also gives the group a chance to explore many different angles of a thing. 

Let’s go back to hosts and co-hosts for a moment. First, they are not equal. Hosts will always have more features than co-hosts. But, your co-hosts are invaluable because they can let people into your rooms, communicate with your guests, and bounce between breakout rooms. 

Know your features. Zoom is making changes all the time, making the platform easier to use. And, sometimes you control things from behind the scenes before they are available in your meeting. 

That means, you need to get to know your Zoom “backend”, aka the web browser interface, pretty well. Go through all the options, and there are many, and decide which ones should be on or off. You will need to toggle ON both co-hosts and breakout rooms. So, make sure you do that before your big event.

2) Share with Ease

The most successful events I have ever attended always had music and food. And, sometimes they even had some sort of visual to back up what the presentation was all about. You mimic all of this, well maybe not the food, with Screen Sharing in Zoom. 

I love setting the stage for a meeting with a welcome screen in a presentation, nice easy-going music, and even shared menus that people acquire on their own. These are all ways to make a great, engaging event, and help bring us together even though we are a part.

Sometimes, I like to start meetings where we are just gathering, waiting for everyone to show up. In these moments, I love having the background music to help set the mood and fill the gap when conversation lags. Depending on the size of your meeting, this is a great spot to have your co-hosts welcoming guests in the chat, outlaid. Remember, when you have multiple people talking at once, Zoom will cut people’s mics, so sound can come off a little weird. 

Okay, let’s set the stage that you are hosting a meeting with a small group so you can give a presentation where you are speaking on a topic. You start the meeting with no presentation, but you have the music set. You will have some silent moments where your attendees will be called to reflect on what you are teaching, so you plan to bring the music back. This is how you are going to share. 

You will start by sharing from the “Advanced” tab where you have the option to share only the audio from your computer. Be sure to test this, sometimes older computers don’t work quite as nicely as we’d expect. I use Apple products, so I use Apple Music. Other people use Spotify and either Windows or Mac. Just test it first. You’ll also have your playlist queued up, so when you hit play, it’s the songs you want in the order you want.

Now, after your attendees have joined, you are now ready to start your presentation. Instead of “stopping” the share, you are simply going to start a new share. Don’t touch your music yet, just let it play. What should happen is that it’s a relatively seamless experience for your guests. You’ll start a new share, you’ll highlight your presentation (which you have played from a separate window… check out this post where I talk about using Google Slides and Keynote in their presenter views) and then tick the “play sound from computer” in the bottom left-hand corner. 

Your presentation should begin, and your sound should be uninterrupted. Now, to control the sound, because remember you are going to use it later, just simply pause it from your music player and hit play when you need it again. A word to the wise, sound doesn’t need to be nearly as loud when sharing as it would be if you are listening on your own. Ask your attendees how the sound is for a pleasant experience for everyone.

3) Have fun!

This step is the most important. So, we are saving the best for last. Please understand that technology is a fickle beast. And, despite our best intentions, it does weird things. The best way I have found to explain to my clients is that the 1s and 0s sometimes fall out of step and things just don’t work the way we think they should. So, I want you to show up with grace and most importantly, have fun. Remember what Julie Childs said, “There are no apologies in the kitchen!” And, with that, rock your zoom meeting.

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