What are some best practices for using Zoom/Teams meetings?

Following are a few tips to help make your Zoom meeting a success:


  • Set both Host Video and Participant Video to OFF by default within your Zoom profile meeting settings.  The image below shows what these settings look like within your profile.

    video options sceen
    • Note: this doesn't mean that participants will not be able to display their camera during the meeting.  It simply means they will not have their camera turned on by default when they join the meeting.  
    • More information about Zoom settings and how to change them can be found here.
  • Test your video before the first meeting:


  • Set to Both (Telephone and Computer Audio), by default within your Zoom profile meeting settings.
    • More about audio settings can be found here.
  • Test your audio before your first meeting:


  • Consider using a password to further secure entry into your meeting or webinar.
  • More information about passwords and how to set them please take a look at: Meeting and Webinar Passwords.

Join Before Host

  • If your meeting does not depend on the attendance of the original, scheduling host, then you should enable join before host.
  • This setting allows participants to join the meeting prior to the host, or without a host entirely.  
    • More information about this setting can be found here
  • If the host does not join the meeting or is not logged in when joining, there are no host controls such as recording, mute/unmute all, lock meeting or remove attendees.
  • When Join Before Host is on, the host can join the meeting without being logged in. If you are the host, but do not have host controls such as recording, leave the meeting and login in the Zoom application. Start the meeting again from your Meetings list.
  • If one meeting is running and someone tries to start a second meeting with join before host on scheduled by the same host:
    • If started by a Zoom Room, the second meeting will start and close the first meeting without warning.
    • If started by the host, they will have the option to close the first meeting and start the second.
    • If started by a participant, they will receive a message that the host has another meeting in progress.
  • If Waiting Room is turned on in your meeting settings, Join Before Host will not work for your meetings.
  • If you would like the meeting to be recorded without the host attending, you will need to turn on Automatic Cloud recording for the meeting.
  • IMPORTANT: This is enabled (checked) by default.

Waiting Room

  • A waiting room can be used to control entry to a meeting. Participants can be brought in as desired, either one at a time or all at once.
  • If you're using Zoom to lecture online you may want to enable the waiting room.
  • Participants can also ensure they are in the correct room, while they're waiting.
  • The waiting room also gives attendees a chance to test their audio configuration.
  • Join Before Host will be disabled if the waiting room is enabled.  
  • IMPORTANT:After your meeting has begun, it is strongly recommended you disable the waiting room so you no longer have to manage entry into the meeting.  If a participant leaves the meeting and then rejoins, they will need to be allowed back into the meeting.  
    • For more information about how to disable the waiting room after the meeting has begun, navigate here.
    • Please visit Zoom Support to learn more about how to customize the waiting room.

Alternative Hosts

  • Alternative Hosts can be listed when scheduling a Zoom meeting.
  • Set back up participants as Alternative Hosts just in case the scheduling Host is unable to attend.  This allows others to start meetings if necessary, or if the meeting doesn't depend on the original Host. 
    • IMPORTANT: If the meeting is not dependent on the scheduling Host, it is best practice to designate Alternative Hosts during the scheduling of a meeting or have Join Before Host enabled.  Meetings will not begin if the scheduled Host is unable to attend, there are no Alternative Hosts listed, and Join Before Host is disabled.  
  • In the case of the scheduling Host being absent, the first Alternative Host to join the meeting will assume the role of Host.
  • The scheduling Host can reclaim host controls by going to the Participants list and select ‘Reclaim Host’.  Or, the person with the Host role can assign the Host role back to the intended Host, and revert to a participant. In either scenario, the Host can always assign a Co-Host role to any participant.
  • In a Webinar, if the Host is reclaimed (or reassigned), the person leaving the Host role will become a Panelist. The new Host can assign any Panelist a Co-Host role to facilitate managing the participants and starting the recording.
  • More information about Alternative Hosts can be found here.

Promote Co-hosts to help manage large meeting logistics

  • Meetings can have only one Host, but many Co-hosts.
  • Co-host is a role the meeting host can assign to any participant during the meeting.
  • An attendee can be promoted to a Co-host role after the meeting has started. 
    • For more information about how to promote meeting participants to Co-host role please visit Using Co-host in a Meeting from Zoom Support.
  • Co-hosts are a good idea for large meetings as they can watch for raised hands, respond to chat messages, and manage breakout rooms.  
    • If you're curious how to add Co-hosts to your meeting, please check out Enabling and Adding a Co-host on Zooms support page.
    • For more on the differences between Host and Co-host controls please visit here.

Utilize Breakout rooms for collaboration

  • Breakout rooms are only available in Zoom Meetings.
  • Meetings can have up to 50 breakout rooms
  • Breakout rooms can have a maximum number of 100 participants per room
    • This number can be increased to 200 if you have one of the large meeting (cap: 500, 1000) add ons.
    • For more information about Zoom add ons please click here.
  • Breakout rooms can be randomly selected or they can be set before the meeting starts.

Annotate during your meeting to highlight important information

  • If you're using the Zoom Desktop application or the Zoom mobile application, you can use the annotation tool or whiteboard to help highlight your shared materials.
    • More information about how to annotate during a Zoom meeting please click here.

General Zoom Hosting Tips

  • Speak clearly and do not rush
    • Slwing your delivery will help ensure meeting attendees can comprehend what you're saying.  Remember, some attendees may be working with a slower internet speed or lower bandwidth and speaking clearly without rushing can help those with comprehension.
  • Animate your delivery
    • Inflection and tone changes can help draw participants into your meeting or lecture.  
  • Visualize your participants
    • Treat your students or attendees as if they are still right in front of you.  Ask attendees questions directly to foster participation and collaboration.
  • Look at the whole screen/feature set.  Do not focus on just the content area. 
    • Make sure either the host, or supporting staff (co-host) is set to handle chat, polling or other meeting logistics so that attendees can be fully engaged and given the proper amount of attention.  
    • More about in-meeting controls can be found here.
  • Encourage participants to ask questions and participate.
    • Furthermore: hosts should ask questions and provide opportunities for interaction.
  • Use annotation tools to assist in your delivery.
    • More information about how to annotate during a Zoom meeting can be found here.
  • During a meeting, the ‘Manage participants’ control at the bottom of the screen can be used to remove someone from the meeting or lock the meeting to prevent others from joining (even if they have a Meeting ID and password).

Verify Participants and Lock Meeting

Once the meeting has started, the host should verify all participants and lock the meeting when everyone has joined. You can lock the meeting by clicking on “Manage Participants” and then selecting “More” from the “Participants Pane”. The “More” button will bring up a drop-down; from that drop-down click on “Lock Meeting”.

More resources including presentation tips, housekeeping slides, etc can be found at the Zoom website here: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/209743263-Meeting-and-Webinar-Best-Practices-and-Resources.

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Article ID: 1501
Tue 1/19/21 9:13 PM
Wed 8/2/23 4:57 PM