Online Meeting and Webinar Best Practices

Using web-based technology to hold meetings, distribute information, and deliver presentations can free up time and energy otherwise spent on traveling. However, online events require planning to minimize the possibility of problems and to meet the expectations of both the presenter and the attendee. This article will provide guidance for using Zoom as a DASNR presenter to both internal and external audiences.

About DASNR’s Zoom License

Basic Zoom licenses are free and allow you to host an online meeting for up to 40 minutes with 100 people. Pro Zoom licenses allow you to host meetings up to 24 hours in length and up to 100 people. DASNR IT manages a limited number of Zoom Pro licenses. We maintain one license for Zoom Webinar that extends the Pro license to up to 500 people and the host can stream their session to YouTube Live or Facebook Live. If you are interested in obtaining a license, please contact Dwayne Hunter at dwayne.hunter@okstate.edu.

When the host chooses to record their session, Zoom will ask if the recording is being stored locally or to the cloud. DASNR has a small amount of cloud-based storage use to hold recordings. Because of the limited storage, you will have two weeks to move your recordings off the Zoom cloud storage then the recordings will be removed. You can make your recordings available to others using your OneDrive (as as shared file), through YouTube or with Microsoft Stream. If you are interested in using YouTube, please contact Craig Woods in Ag Communications Services who can make your recording available either as unlisted (private) or public. With OSU’s license to Microsoft’s Office 365 Stream, uploaded recordings can be restricted to OSU employees.

Best Practices and Guidelines

Rehearse your session with at least one other person and with the equipment and presentation material you plan to use during your actual online meeting. Talk through your main objectives with the individual or focus group. Ask for feedback and attempt to address issues during your rehearsal.

Plan to use at least two display monitors. This allows you to host the presentation on one monitor while the second monitor can show the chat, Q&A and participants list. A laptop computer may be useful if two monitors are not available.

Consider the length of your session. Be aware that an attention span can wane with longer meetings. Typical online events will be no more than one hour.

Plan to have at least one other person who can be your behind-the-scenes co-host. They can manage your session recording, assist participants, watch for questions and provide answers (when applicable), or alert you about questions that require an answer. You may want to use an Extension Technology Specialist to help with technical support issues.

During your webinar ask questions that require feedback. With larger audiences, you may want to avoid enabling participants’ microphones for feedback and input but, rather, use the chat and Q&A windows. Realize your audience may have distractions while on their computer so use a discussion-based presentation that encourages active and frequent participation.

Explore the annotation and screen sharing tools offered in Zoom. The annotations tools can highlight areas of your presentation and personalize the content to your audience. Zoom’s screen sharing option gives you the ability to make live demonstrations of software, web tools, etc.

Take advantage of Zoom’s video capabilities by activating your camera. But, be aware of your camera’s placement: notice your background and eliminate possible distractions, evaluate your lighting and make adjustments if necessary, keep the camera level with your eyes so you can maintain eye contact as much as possible, and use your primary display monitor so you are facing the camera during the presentation.

After the meeting, use Zoom’s presenter’s tools to download your recorded video and audio, view the chat, and generate a participant listing.

Live Meetings

While this article was primarily focused on web-based meetings and webinars, you may be interested in helpful resources for conducting in-person meetings:

Helpful Links