Carnegie Mellon University

Before You Meet: Prepare for Success

Step 1: Set Up

Setting matters in a Zoom meeting, so take time to make sure yours is prepared, whether you're the primary meeting host or not.

  • Start an Instant Zoom meeting and check the your video frame. Verify you will not be cut off in the video.
  • Make sure your lighting is bright and projecting from in front of you, never behind you.
  • Raise your webcam to eye level.
  • If you use multiple monitors, move the Zoom app or shared content to the monitor or laptop with the webcam. This makes it easier to maintain eye contact with a virtual audience.
  • Your background should be professional and not distracting. Virtual Backgrounds can sometimes degrade video quality, so don't rely on these for your meeting.

Step 2: Customize

Your meeting needs will vary depending on the type of meeting you're hosting. To change additional options, open the Zoom app and click Settings (gear). Some commonly used settings are:

  • Use dual monitors - select this option if you regularly present from a machine with an external monitor attached. Click General. Click the Use dual monitors checkbox.
  • Always display participant name on their videos - this option forces participant names to display on their videos. Use this feature with caution, as participants can change this field to reflect any name, even one that isn't their own. 
  • Hide non-video participants - this option will only display video for those who've enabled it. This is perfect when there is a single speaker in the meeting. Open the Zoom app and choose Settings and Video. Click the Hide non-video participants checkbox to apply.

Step 3: Check-In

Once the participants have joined the meeting, perform the following:

  • Ask the attendees to locate their meeting toolbar and find the Chat button, Participant button and tools, and Reactions.
  • Explain that participants can be muted at any time during the meeting if there is audio feedback or a backgroud noise. The microphone icon beside the participant's name will flicker if the individual is speaking or there is a noise.
  • Request they use the Hand Raise feature to ask questions. This is located on the Participants panel (bottom) under the more menu.

While You Meet: Zoom Quality Issues?

If the quality of your Zoom meeting degrades, have your participants try these tips for improving your experience.

  • Avoid using virtual backgrounds.
  • Disable HD video streaming.
  • Stop video sharing unless it is required.
  • Leave the meeting and rejoin.
  • Advise participants to dial in using one of the phone numbers provided in their invitation.