So, a couple of reminders on using Zoom to host public meetings:
- Don’t share your meeting link on social media or other public forums. ANYONE with the link can join your meeting.
- Use your Personal Meeting ID (PMI) only for private meetings, not public events. Your PMI is basically one continuous meeting, and you don’t want someone crashing your personal virtual space. Learn about meeting IDs and how to generate a random meeting ID in this video tutorial.
- Familiarize yourself with Zoom’s settings and features so you understand how to protect your virtual space when you need to. For example, the Waiting Room is an unbelievably helpful feature for hosts to control who comes and goes. (More on that below.)
Read on for a list of Zoom features from that can help you safely share your Zoom meeting without unwanted interruptions.
Manage Screen Sharing
In Zoom, there is a default setting that allows any meeting participant to share their screen without permission from an event’s host. You can restrict who is able to share screens — before the meeting and during the meeting in the host control bar — so that you’re the only one who can screen-share.
Manage Your Participants
Some of the other great features to help secure your Zoom event and host with confidence:
- Allow only signed-in users to join: If someone tries to join your event and isn’t logged into Zoom with the email they were invited through, they will receive this message:
This is useful if you want to control your guest list and invite only those you want at your event — other students at your school or co-workers, for example.
- Lock the meeting: It’s always smart to lock your front door, even when you’re inside the house. When you lock a Zoom Meeting that’s already started, no new participants can join, even if they have the meeting ID and password (if you have required one). In the meeting, click Participants at the bottom of your Zoom window. In the Participants pop-up, click the button that says Lock Meeting.
- Set up your own two-factor authentication: You don’t have to share the actual meeting link! Generate a random Meeting ID when scheduling your event and require a password to join. Then you can share that Meeting ID on Twitter but only send the password to join via DM.
- Remove unwanted or disruptive participants: From that Participants menu, you can mouse over a participant’s name, and several options will appear, including Remove. Click that to kick someone out of the meeting.
- Allow removed participants to rejoin: When you do remove someone, they can’t rejoin the meeting. But you can toggle your settings to allow removed participants to rejoin, in case you boot the wrong person.
- Disable video: Hosts can turn someone’s video off. This will allow hosts to block unwanted, distracting, or inappropriate gestures on video or for that time your friend’s inside pocket is the star of the show.
- Mute participants: Hosts can mute/unmute individual participants or all of them at once. Hosts can block unwanted, distracting, or inappropriate noise from other participants. You can also enable Mute Upon Entry in your settings to keep the clamor at bay in large meetings.
- Turn off file transfer: In-meeting file transfer allows people to share files through the in-meeting chat. Toggle this off to keep the chat from getting bombarded with unsolicited pics, GIFs, memes, and other content.
- Turn off annotation: You and your attendees can doodle and mark up content together using annotations during screen share. You can disable the annotation feature in your Zoom settings to prevent people from writing all over the screens.
- Disable private chat: Zoom has in-meeting chat for everyone or participants can message each other privately. Restrict participants’ ability to chat with one another while your event is going on and cut back on distractions. This is really to prevent anyone from getting unwanted messages during the meeting.
Try the Waiting Room
One of the best ways to use Zoom for public events is to enable the Waiting Room feature. Just like it sounds, the Waiting Room is a virtual staging area that stops your guests from joining until you’re ready for them. It’s almost like the velvet rope outside a nightclub, with you as the bouncer carefully monitoring who gets let in.
Meeting hosts can customize Waiting Room settings for additional control, and you can even personalize the message people see when they hit the Waiting Room so they know they’re in the right spot. This message is really a great spot to post any rules/guidelines for your event, like who it’s intended for.
The Waiting Room is really a great way to screen who’s trying to enter your event and keep unwanted guests out.
Keep Zooming Responsibly
Zoom is a great way to stay connected right now, and we hope these tips will help you continue to host amazing events If you’re not sure whether a public Zoom event is the way to go, share the meeting link only with your close friends, co-workers, and students.
For additional information about how you can protect your Zoom classroom meetings, check out https://blog.zoom.us/wordpress/2020/03/27/best-practices-for-securing-your-virtual-classroom/.
Lorenz, T. (2020, March 20). ‘Zoombombing’: When Video Conferences Go Wrong. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/20/style/zoombombing-zoom-trolling.html.
Zoom Video Communications. (2020, March 20). How to Keep the Party Crashers from Crashing Your Zoom Event. https://blog.zoom.us/wordpress/2020/03/20/keep-the-party-crashers-from-crashing-your-zoom-event/.