Due to the major lockdowns due to the coronavirus, Zoom calls are booming. But are you nervous about hosting a Zoom call? Perhaps your team is switching to an online meeting for the first time and it just feels off?  Team meetings get hosted over Zoom and some businesses even offer their services through it. Businesses use Zoom to host online classes like yoga, online lectures, and find many other creative ways of doing business online. And even families who can’t meet in person right now meet over Zoom.

Naturally, it’s one of the businesses which are doing really well during the crisis. In fact, since March the daily Zoom users increased from 10 million to over 200 million. But this new phenomenon also has its downsides. Several Zoom meetings got hacked by so-called “Zoom bombers.” Those are people you don’t know, trying to join your meeting and misbehaving during the call. Zoom already implemented stricter safety measures. Still, it made people nervous.

So, if you’re hosting a Zoom call soon, you probably want to make sure that everything goes well. Especially if you are also a bit worried about how the meeting will go and if you can do well on camera. If this is the case, read on to discover our tips and secrets for a successful Zoom meeting structure and what you can do to keep the participants engaged. Our whole team is virtual and we worked remotely with people across the globe.  Find all our top tips for a successful Zoom call below.

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Treat The Zoom Call Like Any Other Meeting

At the core, Zoom meetings and regular meetings really aren’t that different from each other. The main difference is that you see your teammates on the screen instead of in person. That might take some pressure off you.

The general guidelines for a successful meeting still apply. Prepare in advance. Have an agenda so everybody knows what the meeting will be about. Moderate the conversation and have somebody take notes. Basically, do everything you would do in a regular meeting.

Get Familiar With Zoom Before The Meeting

Now, there are a few technical things you want to know before you host a Zoom call. The software isn’t hard to understand at all. Just make sure to get familiar with it before the meeting. If you are prepared you’ll feel more secure.

The first thing you need to do is set up an account. It’s the same like on any other online platform and they will guide you through it step by step. To start a meeting you have to access a button called “start a meeting”. There are different options.  You can have a Zoom call where everybody is visible on camera. Or you can turn the cameras off – in that case, it’s more like a group phone call.

Finally, you can also pick the option to share your screen. That’s especially helpful if you want to show your teammates a certain document, or give them instructions on a program. Imagine it like a live PowerPoint presentation. You can directly demonstrate what you want to explain.

Simply, pick the option that fits best. You can also change this later if needed. So for example in a video call, you can still share your screen. When you chose the meeting type, Zoom will generate a meeting link for you. You have to give this link to your team members, so they can join.

If the Zoom call you are planning is recurring then you can actually create a recurring meeting. When you do that the meeting link stays the same and you don’t have to send out a new link each week.

Zoom Call Basics You Should Now…

You can protect your Zoom call with a password, which is a good idea – especially if you will talk about business strategies that should stay under disclosure. Right now, all Zoom calls are password protected by default as Zoom increased its security standards. So, when you give your team the meeting link, make sure to also send them the password they’ll need.

Another neat feature is that Zoom allows you to record your calls. It’s especially useful if some team members can’t attend the Zoom meeting. Record it and send it to them so they can catch up on what’s been discussed.

The final basic function you want to know about are waiting rooms. When you start a Zoom call, the participants don’t get in right away. Instead, they access a virtual waiting room first. If a person is in the waiting room a notification will pop up on your screen and you can allow them to enter as soon as you are ready.

How To Create A Better Experience

Now you know the basics for your Zoom call. But there are ways to take your online meeting to the next level.

The first thing you want to do is have a tech check before the actual meeting. Make sure your connection is stable and your audio is working well. It’s a pity to lose time during a meeting because you have to figure out technical things first. So do that beforehand.

Now, it’s still possible that you lose connection between the meeting. There are a few things you can do to avoid the whole meeting stopping if you cut out for a moment. The best thing to do is to assign one or several team members as “co-host.” That way they can manage the call until you figured out your connection issues.

Co-hosts can also help to let people enter the call when they are in the waiting room. So they can help you allow people in. If one of your team members loses connection and tries to go back into the call, they will end up in the waiting room.

If this happens during a meeting, it’s very easy to forget about checking the waiting room and letting the person wait. So it’s good to have co-hosts who help you with that. Make sure you and your co-hosts have an attendance list, so they only let in people who are supposed to attend.

Mute Participants

By now, maybe you are thinking this all sounds great but won’t a huge group call be very noisy? If you have a call with 20+ members, there might be a lot of background noise.

Thankfully, Zoom has taken care of this with the option of the mute button. When you speak, you can put everyone else on mute, so they only hear you. If somebody else wants to speak, they can unmute themselves with one click and speak. This also makes moderation easier so people won’t talk over or interrupt each other.

What’s more, Zoom calls have a written chat option too. That means, while you talk, the other people on the call can type in the chat. This could be useful to collect questions for example. Just make sure that you or one of your co-hosts check the chat so it doesn’t get ignored.

Improved Security

Now, your Zoom call is relatively secure. You have to send out the link to participants – so you decide who can attend in the first place.

Then you can set a password – and give it only to people who are supposed to join. Finally, you have the waiting room so you only let people into the actual call who you know. These three things usually protect you from Zoom bombers. Still, we want to tell you about one more thing to increase security. It’s about who is allowed to share information from the meeting.

When you log into your Zoom on the web – not the app – you can find the settings. There is a section called “who can share”. You want to make it “only host.” With this, you ensure that what happens in the meeting stays in the meeting. If you have people on your call who keep causing trouble, you can remove them from the meeting. How? By going into the “manage participants” section on your call and removing them.

Finally, if you have a big meeting – especially with people you don’t know that well – you want to make sure that nobody shares unwanted files in the Zoom chat. Trouble makers might share disturbing links or try to self promote. You can prevent this by going on Zoom web version and finding a button called “file transfer.” Choose “only allow specific types”  so you can decide which file types you’ll allow. For example, you can set it so that it’s okay to allow Google docs or pdfs, but not others.

Differences Between The Free And Paid Version

Zoom is relatively usable even if you don’t have the paid version. It gives you all the basic features. One of the downsides of the free version is that the length of your Zoom call is limited. After 40 minutes, the call ends automatically. If you need to go on longer, you have to start a new meeting, get a new link, and send it out again. If you have the paid version, call lengths are unlimited.

With the unpaid version, the number of participants is also limited – you can have a call with 100 people. This is enough for most meetings but if your team is very big this is something to keep in mind. If you want to go for a paid version, there are 3 different options, the most expensive being about $20 a month.

Tipps For An Unforgettable Zoom Call

By now you know all the technical details you need for a successful Zoom call. In fact, you probably know more than 80% of the users, simply because most people don’t research these things. the fact that you’re still reading tells us that you don’t want to create a regular meeting. You want to create an outstanding Zoom meeting. So besides the Zoom-specific things to keep in mind, here are some general ideas to get your meeting to the next level.

As we already mentioned, Zoom calls aren’t that different from regular meetings. You definitely want to have some kind of structure in place. The structure allows everyone to know where you are at and it prevents you from going too far off-topic. Value everybody’s time and try to not run overtime.

Now, as in any regular meeting, a Zoom meeting bears the rise of people being easily distracted. Everybody is sitting in front of their computer now, and this risk is perhaps a bit higher now. It’s easy to be on the call and start checking your mail or looking up stuff online on checking your Instagram.

How can you make sure your team stays engaged through the whole Zoom call? Discuss things that are relevant to everyone. If a single person brings up an issue that only concerns them, then you should go over it with them later. When everyone is in the meeting, the conversation should be relevant for everyone.

It’s generally a good idea to let everybody participate. For example, everybody can give a short update where they or their department is at. This is relevant so everybody knows the status quo. You can also let some team members take over parts of the call. Don’t treat it like a lecture, and make sure others get their airtime too.

Have A Level 10 Meeting

If you are getting the feeling that your meetings up till now have been chaotic, then maybe you want to look for a better structure. A proven formula is the level 10 meeting style.

For a meeting like that you usually prepare an agenda in advance. In the first section, all participants can put in their wins of the week. This makes sure that the meeting starts on a happy and inspiring note.

Then you would usually have so-called “scorecards.” In these, you track the tasks everybody was working on in the last period. The participants themselves go in and state if they are on track with their tasks or if there are any challenges.

If challenges arise, don’t discuss them immediately. Instead, the topic gets written down for a later section of the meeting. That section is called IDS – identify, discuss, solve. It’s the longest part of the meeting where all important things get addressed.

This is what makes level 10 meetings so successful. Instead of discussing topics randomly, they get collected first and then get solved. That means nothing falls under the radar.

If time runs out and some issues don’t get discussed that’s okay too. The topic gets written down into the agenda for the next meeting, to ensure it will be addressed next time. It’s one of the best structures for Zoom meetings that will allow you to accomplish a lot within 60 or 90 minutes.

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All Speaking Is Public Speaking

Now maybe all of this sounds great but you are still a bit nervous. And the reason you are nervous isn’t that you don’t understand Zoom or that you don’t know how to structure a meeting. It’s more that you are a bit insecure about talking on camera.

We completely understand. Talking in front of people is already a huge step for most people (most people are afraid of public speaking). Somehow, a camera makes that even worse. Something about it makes you feel watched even more and adds to the stress. But let us offer you a change in perspective – You already engage in public speaking all the time. Every day. How so?

Vell, all speaking is public speaking. It doesn’t matter if you talk one on one with a friend or in front of hundreds on a Zoom call. Both are public speaking because you’re talking in front of someone else.  So, if you can talk to a friend then you are also very well able to host an awesome Zoom meeting.

If you think about it that way, it allows you to relax more. Your team knows you. And even if you decide to have a Zoom meeting with people you don’t know well yet – you still got this. At the end of the day, it’s just a conversation.

To feel more comfortable in the beginning, make sure your body language is upright. That will give your voice more power and you’ll naturally feel more confident. Take your time and allow yourself to talk slow, so everybody can follow your thoughts.

Want More Public Speaking Secrets?

Keep these basics in mind and we are confident to say that your Zoom call will be a success. If you are still a bit unsure about your public speaking skills you could also learn more from Dan Lok.

Dan has been an opening speaker on TedX twice. Since his early 20ies, he regularly visited groups like Toastmasters to improve his public speaking. He was able to do all this, even though English isn’t his first language and he wasn’t even able to hold speeches back in school. He simply was too nervous.

Learning something that is completely out of your comfort zone isn’t always easy. It definitely wasn’t easy for Dan. But today he is well known as a speaker and for his ever-growing YouTube channel. So it’s possible to learn public speaking. You don’t have to be born with a natural talent.

If you want to improve your public speaking, you might want to check out Dan’s Public Speaking Secrets Video Training. You’ll learn how to be more confident when speaking and also how to be more persuasive. Check all the details here.