Alamo Colleges District

Web conferencing best practices

Updated on

Unless you're filming for your next YouTube video, don't be a Zoom disruptor.

Let's agree that no one wants to hear you breathing or snacking while someone is speaking because you forgot to mute your mic. 

The following tips will provide you with the information you need to practice proper Zoom etiquette and ensure that your next meeting runs smoothly, free of distractions and embarrassing mistakes.

For all participants

Check audio and video before the session begins

Make sure your audio and/or video is working before the session begins, to ensure a smooth start. Most web conferencing systems have an audio/video test to help you ensure everything is working.

Prep your materials and workspace

Whether you are taking notes, giving a presentation, or participating verbally, you should have all of your notes and materials at your workstation and uploaded onto your device. If giving a presentation or screen-sharing, be sure to have your documents or slideshow pulled up onto your screen. Nobody wants to reveal their private email or direct messages to other attendees!

Become familiar with the tools

Web Conferencing systems have many moderator tools available. You can mute attendees, grant or revoke presenter status, draw on the whiteboard, etc. You should become familiar with these before your session. Learn more how to use these tools by exploring our Zoom guides.

Introduce yourself 

If this is your first class or group meeting, you should introduce yourself, especially if you are the host. To connect with your group, you should give an interesting detail or fun fact about yourself: a favorite vacation destination, food, career/educational background.

You should also ask your participants to do the same. It's an ice breaker as well as allows the group to get to know each other better and connect over similar interests. 

Upload your PowerPoint (Presenters) 

Using a PowerPoint presentation during your meeting? Upload your presentation ahead of time. Alternatively, if you will be sharing your desktop for the presentation, make sure to launch slideshow mode.

Mute yourself

When you are not speaking, or if others are speaking, it is courtesy to mute yourself. It is also a good to get into the habit of muting yourself when you are coughing, sneezing, drinking coffee, etc. It is distracting and somewhat disrespectful to leave your sound on when others are speaking. 

Be mindful of background noise

Although some background noise is inevitable, you should try and think of your surroundings and the impact it might have on your presentation. Firetrucks, dogs barking, or loud offices can be distracting to others attending your session.

Always check the chat

It is easy get caught up in your presentation and disregard the chat, but some people prefer to communicate via the chat instead of their microphone (or they do not have a microphone). Don't forget to check in on the chat for dialogue, or even better, have a colleague monitor it for you.

Make eye contact and leave video on (when necessary)

Eye contact can be difficult for some, however it creates a sense of engagement when you look at your webcam while you or others are talking. Leaving your camera on ensures that everyone is participating in the meeting. If you were in person, you would look them in the eyes and participate.

Turn off video when not needed

Although it is great to use your video so others can see you, there may be times when it is appropriate to turn off your video. You do not want your video or the background to be a distraction during your presentation. 

For hosts and co-hosts

Don't forget to start the recording

If you are recording your session for later playback, don't forget to start (and stop) your recording. There are a number of important reasons why you should record the meeting. 

  1. Documenting conversation, actions, and decisions made or discussed
  2. Reviewing and analyzing information at a later time perhaps to gain a deeper understanding of what was discussed
  3. Sharing with participants who could not attend
  4. Legal requirements: in certain situations, recording a meeting can ensure that you maintained an accurate record of any discussion for possible legal or compliance purposes. 

Upload your PowerPoint or slideshow

Using a PowerPoint presentation during your meeting? Upload your presentation ahead of time. Alternatively, if you will be sharing your desktop for the presentation, make sure to launch slideshow mode.

It's important for accessibility reasons and it gives students the ability to look over information they might have missed.

Ensure everyone can hear you and that your volume is appropriate

If you are the host, it's especially important, before you formally start your session, ask your attendees, "Can you hear me ok?" A great time to do this is when people are beginning to join the meeting. Let them know the meeting will be starting in just a few minutes, and ask them to let you know via chat, thumbs up, or some sort of acknowledgment that everyone can hear you ok. A common mistake we've all made, at least once, a muted mic. Before you begin speaking, make sure you are un-muted. 

Additional Resources

Questions? Technical difficulties? Visit our Zoom guides for all of your frequently asked questions. For other questions or technical issues, contact Zoom support or your local or district IT help desk.


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