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Zoom, Best Practices for Meetings

Here are a few tips and tricks you should know about to help make your Zoom meeting a success:

If you need to host public meetings where most participants are outside the University of Illinois System, we strongly recommend you use a Zoom webinar for your event. 

Please, do not post your Zoom meeting information to public forums or social media. Do not edit or disable the default meeting settings unless you are aware of, and accept the risk associated with doing so. Limit in-meeting participant features to only those participants require. If you must post information to a public forum or social media, and you require the interaction features of a Zoom meeting, require meeting registration and only publicly share registration links. If you require meeting registration, verify and manually approve each registrant. Utilize meeting authentication and the waiting room to block unwanted guests from joining.  More information about protecting your Zoom session can be found at: Zoom, protecting your sessions

If you have any questions or require assistance with your event, please reach out to the Technology Services Help Desk by creating a ticket at, or by calling 217-244-7000, or emailing

All Zoom disruptions should be promptly reported to the Technology Services Privacy and Security team at:


  • 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.
    Host and participant video settings turned off.  These settings are found at
    • 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 there 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:


  • Meeting passcodes are required 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
  • IMPORTANT: Zoom meeting passcodes are embedded in to Zoom meeting links.  Do not share your Zoom meeting ID, passcode or meeting link publicly.  Share it with only those you trust.

Other meeting protection information

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
  • IMPORTANT: 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 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: Large or public events should disable this setting.

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.
  • The waiting room can be customized to allow UIUC Zoom users the ability to bypass, allow UIUC  Zoom users and safelisted domains the ability to bypass or place everyone in the waiting room.  By default, everyone will be placed in the waiting room.
  • Participants can also ensure they are in the correct Zoom meeting, 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.  

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 Zoom Support, Alternative Host.

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.  

Utilize Breakout rooms for collaboration:

  • Breakout rooms are only available in Zoom Meetings.
  • Meetings can have up to 100 breakout rooms.
  • Breakout rooms can have a maximum number of 1000 participants (large meeting add on required) per room or across all rooms.
    • Note: you will be limited by the total number of participants based on your Zoom meeting capacity.  Base UIUC Zoom hosts will be able to assign 300 participants to any one breakout room or all breakout rooms, as their Zoom meeting license is limited to 300 total participants.
    • For more information about Zoom add ons please click Webstore, Zoom add ons.
  • Breakout rooms can be randomly selected or they can be set before the meeting starts.

Annotate during your meeting to highlight important information.

General Zoom Hosting Tips:

  • Speak clearly and do not rush
    • Slowing 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 Zoom Support, Host and Co-host controls in a meeting.
  • 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.
  • 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).

More resources including presentation tips, housekeeping slides, etc can be found at the Zoom website here:

Keywordsvideo, audio, hosts, host, co-host, co-hosts, waiting, manage, meeting   Doc ID91823
Ownerzoom t.GroupUniversity of Illinois Technology Services
Created2019-05-17 12:16:38Updated2022-02-07 14:39:50
SitesUI Gies College of Business, University of Illinois Technology Services
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