Zoom Guide


Account types

Hosts with free accounts can only host 40-minute meetings. However, at the end of the 40 minutes, attendees can simply click on the same link to rejoin the meeting. EA group organisers may wish to apply for funding from CEA for a paid Zoom account.

Using breakout rooms and polls

Breakout rooms involve small groups of people to chat within your call. Here's a video showing how to use Zoom with polls and breakout rooms made by Catherine Low.

Note: The video doesn’t use ideal security settings! Ignore the security setting part.

Breakout rooms are an option in free accounts. Polls are only available in paid accounts.

Breakout room strategies

  1. Assign people to breakout rooms by hand.

    • If you are assigning people by hand to rooms based on their preference, this strategy might make it easier:

      • List the topics for each breakout room in the chat, and number each room

      • Ask attendees to rename themselves starting their name with the number of the room they would like to join (e.g. “1 Joe Bloggs”, or “5,1 Joe Bloggs” if you want people to share several rooms they are interested in). This will make assigning people to rooms easier for the host.

  2. Allow Zoom to assign people randomly.

    • When you do this, you have the option to tweak this random assignment - e.g. if you want to make sure you have a pre-determined moderator in each room).

  3. Let participants move freely between each breakout room.

    • If you want to let people move freely between each breakout room, you can also invite all participants to be co-hosts. Note: MAKE SURE YOU TRUST EVERYONE BEFORE DOING THIS.

    • To do this:

      • Wait until people are in the meeting

      • On the “Manage Participants” panel hover over the user

      • Click on the three dots and choose “Make Co-Host”

    • As the host, you will still have to start the virtual meeting rooms. Once people are in a breakout room, they’ll be able to see the breakout room icon (window shape) at the bottom of their Zoom window). Clicking this icon will allow people to view and move between rooms.

      • This may not be intuitive for all participants, so you may have to explain this to everyone. It's recommended for everyone to first be in the same breakout room to start with before you explain the process.

    • Note that this feature does not work on tablets or phones. Any guests who log in using a tablet or a phone will be stuck in a room, and will need your help to move - ask them to put their room request on the chat. More information about allowing people to move between rooms.

Reduce the chance of security issues

It’s important to note that Zoom has less ideal security features - it doesn’t have end-to-end encryption for example, and there is the possibility for “Zoom bombing,” where people join and disrupt your meeting - sometimes in very bad ways. This advice is not written by an expert, so if you have additional information to share please let us know by emailing groups@centreforeffectivealtruism.org.

Sharing meeting access information (important for Zoom, and useful for other applications also)

If possible, don’t share the meeting access information (link, unique ID or password) publicly. Alternatively, share the meeting access information shortly before an event so that there’s less chance of undesirable people finding the link. Here are some options:

  • Require registration. This may provide a barrier to people joining your event, so might be worth encouraging people to register whether or not they are certain to come, and letting people know what the registration process involves, and letting people know when they have to register by.

    • Zoom registration is a good option because it requires little work from the Host, and people can register up until seconds before the meeting starts. You can require registration when you set up the meeting in Zoom on your browser (the Zoom app doesn’t have the same meeting options). This will give you a link that you can post where ever you advertise your event. This link will prompt attendees to fill in their name and email address. The meeting access information will be immediately displayed on the attendee’s browser and emailed to the attendee. The email will come from “[Name of the Zoom account] <no-reply@zoom.us>”, with the subject [Name of Meeting] confirmation. So before using this option checking the name of your account will be recognisable to your audience - this might be an issue if you are sharing a paid Zoom account with other people or groups.

    • You can ask people to register by filling out a form (e.g. a google form), and then email everyone who registers the meeting access information a few minutes before the event. This could be a good option if you have criteria for people to join your event.

    • You could use an external service, e.g. Eventbrite to manage this for you. Eventbrite is always free for people hosting free events. Eventbrite emails registered attendees the meeting access information and sends reminder emails.

  • If you prefer not to require registration, e.g. if you think registration would provide a barrier to attendance, you could reduce the risk of Zoom-bombers by posting the meeting access information a few minutes before the event starts.

    • If you have only advertised this meeting on a single platform (e.g. Facebook) this should be straightforward. In your initial advertising ensure you let attendees know when to expect the meeting access information to be posted.

    • If you are advertising on meetup.com you can have the meeting access information appear only to meetup members who RSVP.

    • If you have advertised this in several places (e.g. facebook, meetup, events calendar, email list) it might be impractical to update the access information in all places just before your event starts. If your facebook event is public, and hosted by a public page or group, then the event DETAILS are public to everyone, whether or not they have a facebook page. Therefore you might want to link the facebook event to all the places where you advertise your event - and let people know that this is where to find the meeting access information a few minutes before the event starts. Ensure you put the access information in the event DETAILS (not just in the discussion) so that non-facebook users can see the information.

Security settings

  • Schedule a meeting with a unique ID, rather than using your Personal Meeting ID

  • Require a meeting password, and disable “embed password in meeting link for one-click join”

  • Allow only hosts to share their screen. If you want a participant to share their screen you can make them a co-host during the meeting: On the “Manage Participants” panel hover over the user’s image, click on the three dots and choose “Make Co-Host”.

  • Create a waiting room, and have the host let people in. This would be suitable with a small number of expected attendees

  • Lock a meeting once it starts (In the participants panel under “more”)

  • Remove attendees by hovering over the name of the person on the participants panel and clicking “Remove”, or put them on hold by clicking on their video image and select “Start Attendee on Hold”

  • You can mute or disable the participant’s camera through the participants panel.

  • Keep Disable File Transfer settings active

Further Reading