We recently asked our followers what annoyed them most about webinars and Zoom meetings. Here’s what they said, along with tips on how we overcome them.
1.When participants aren’t muted
This is a big one! You’re trying to listen to a great talk, but you can hear the radio on from someone else. And if you have Zoom set to Speaker view it might keep jumping to that person rather than the presenter.
We have our Zoom account set to ‘Mute Participants on Entry’ which does exactly what it says on the tin. It solves 95% of the issue as people then aren’t unaware that they are unmuted. And then we just keep a keen eye and eye out and mute anyone should they unmute themselves when they shouldn’t. This is why it’s useful to have someone other than the presenter on the webinar who can focus just on the tech (yes, we offer a Webinar support package.)
And for some talks on particularly sensitive or controversial topics, Zoom can be set so that Participants cannot unmute themselves without permission from the Host or Co-host.
2. Seeing up the Presenter’s nose
Or missing their chin, or the top of their head – generally badly positioned cameras. Most people join Zoom from a laptop with a built-in camera, which is fine, but it doesn’t always give the best video feed.
Ideally, if you do lots of Zoom presentations, buying a laptop stand and/or an external webcam is the way to go as it will give you a better image and more flexibility of where the camera goes. But if you are stuck with just a laptop, you should aim to have the camera at about eye-level and the screen of the laptop as close to vertical as possible, and check that your whole face is visible. You might need to put the laptop on a pile or books to get it to the right level. And then there is lighting… but we’ll keep that for another time.
When supporting webinars, we always ask hosts and presenters to join about 15 mins before the webinar is set to start, so that we can check everyone is looking and sounding as good as possible. And for big or really important events, we try to do a tech run through at least a week before, so that if there are any major problems, we can get a laptop stand, external webcam or new microphone sent to them in time.
3. Not knowing if a Zoom event is a Meeting or Webinar
I must admit this isn’t one I had come across before, but it makes sense. A quick terms check: a Zoom Meeting is where everyone can see everyone, speakers, hosts, and participants. A Zoom Webinar is where attendees don’t appear to other attendees, you can only see the host and those invited to speak.
The person who sent this irritation in said that they feel webinars are less personal and they are more likely to end up doing other things like checking their emails or scrolling social media than they would be in a Zoom Meeting. But if they know they'll be on camera they know they need to do their hair
Zoom Webinars do have their benefits but require a more expensive Zoom subscription. Much of the control Webinars give can be achieved in Meetings if you know what you are doing and (again!) have someone whose role is just to look after the tech side.
4. The Chat Dominator who is constantly posting in the chat
I think we can all relate to this one, and they can drown out helpful comments or valuable questions. You can't easily stop them, but there are ways to mitigate their impact.
You can set the chat so that participants can only message Hosts and Co-Hosts, which spares the other participants of the distraction. And it’s worth having someone other than the presenter monitoring the chat and noting down the good comments as they come in, so you don’t have to scroll through the whole chat later.
5. The Webinar that could have been a Video
Much like the Meeting-that-could-have-been-an-email, I’ve sat through many a webinar and thought ‘why am I here right now, I could just watch this later’. This is most often when there is absolutely no engagement with attendees but is just an info dump from a presenter.
If you’re not going to ask for questions, feedback, have breakout room discussions or even read questions from the chat, why make all the attendees give up that specific hour. You can record your presentation, often with better video quality and more polished graphics, and allow people to watch it at a time that works best for them. If you need to know if people have actually watched it (eg. for training) then you could create a Google Form quiz to test them afterwards.
At MC Online events we offer filming and video editing packages if you wanted to create video presentations to help you create high-quality content you can use time and again.