As a course creator, Zoom is your playground where you run live sessions or workshops and interact with your students.
The experience you provide here directly reflects on your course. Your material can be brilliant, but if the delivery feels clunky, you risk coming across as an amateur.
It's the small but important details that make the difference and wow your audience.
Before I tell you what those are, here's the most important tip:
Don't run your Zoom sessions alone. Have an assistant or your course manager take care of the logistics so you can fully concentrate on teaching and engaging with your students.
As promised, here are 11 tips to take your Zoom sessions from "amateur hour" to "even better than an in-person meeting."
- Nobody likes waiting. If people are in the waiting room and you can't let them in yet, send them a message in the chat how long it will be before you'll let them in. Select "Everyone in the Waiting Room" in the chat window.
- Greet people with music as they're coming into the room. This sets the vibe for your session. Go to "Screensharing" and "Advanced" to share your computer audio only.
- Mute everyone besides the speaker. People unmute themselves by accident all the time and cause background noise. You'll see who is off mute in the participants panel. You can mute everyone with one click there.
- Spotlight the speaker for everyone. This way, their video doesn't disappear if another person accidentally unmutes themselves.
- Add links to resources in the chat as they come up in the session (e.g., links to a book, a person, an article, a worksheet). Pro Tip: Add an emoji in the front of the message so it stands out.
- If you're doing a timed exercise, show a timer (look for timers on YouTube) on screen. State clearly when the timer starts and then shut up so your students can concentrate on the exercise and not you talking.
- Have breakout rooms set up and ready go when the time comes. Add the prompt to the chat, show it on a slide, and say it out loud multiple times so it's clear what you want people to do/discuss.
- In Q&As, spotlight the persons asking and answering the question so their video is visible for everyone. You'll have to switch the spotlight to the next person asking a question.
- Ask people to raise their hands via the 'Reactions' button to avoid people talking over each other in discussions. You can lower their hands (if they don't) to keep track of who has spoken and who hasn't.
- Answer questions in the chat by starting the message with @[name of the person asking] so everyone knows whose question you're answering.
- When you're uploading files to the chat, make sure the file name states clearly what it is. For example: "Worksheet 1" instead of "Screenshot_11_2_21."