Zoom meet ups: 5 top tips for meetings without uninvited guests

Image of laptop with caption Remote working - some best practice tips

 

If you have a Zoom account and are using it as a regular tool to keep in touch with your members and volunteers, you might well have heard the term ‘Zoom Bombing’. This is when you allow people to attend your online meeting space without the digital equivalent of a couple of bouncers doing security on the door.

Bombs may include someone drawing nudie images or even sharing explicit and sometimes outright illegal and damaging sexual photo or video content.

We’re not saying don’t use this particular video conferencing app. But having heard a story from one of our groups who had her meeting zoom bombed we have put together 5 top tips to help you stay safe:

 

Step One – the invitation

  • Don’t share the link on any public forum or platform like Twitter or Facebook. If you share a photo of the meeting, make sure the meeting ID (top left corner) is hidden.
  • If you think your invitees may have some tech issues joining your meeting, you might want to circulate the following link with your invitation.

 

Step Two – your to do list for setting up the space before your guests arrive 

  1. Always set screen sharing to Host Only
  2. Disable File Transfer – so that people can’t share documents or photos with your attendees
  3. Disable Join before Host option
  4. Disable Allow Removed Participants to Rejoin. Although you may need to open this to let people in you know in some cases, e.g. their internet went down and they’re trying to re-join
  5. Enable your Waiting Room in settings and also set it to All Participants so you can see who's waiting before you admit them A good tip here is to customise the logo, title and description of your waiting room so that your guests are reassured that they are in the right place
  6. Enable or Disable Chat  it's you call. 
  7. Set up a virtual background to set the tone of the meeting – optional. You will need to test it out before you begin your meeting. Photographs are reproduced back to front – which is OK as long as there isn’t any text in the picture

 

Some questions to ask yourself at this stage...

  • Is this meeting too large to handle by yourself? If it’s a large meeting that you are organising, you can always invite someone else to co-host with you. It’s very useful to have someone help you facilitate the meeting, For example you could to ask them to read out the comments your guests are making, from the chat window, in batches grouped by a common theme as it emerges . This gives you the opportunity to clarify issues, ask  for futher clarification; and check that everyone is happy to move on to the next part of the meeting agenda.  (You can always follow up any you missed by email after you have finished the meeting)
  • Are you going to use the public or private chat feature – It's great to capture questions which you can use to send out links and further information after the meeting. You can use chat to remind people about Zoom etiquette or that you are recording the meeting (see next item for more information). If you want to organise breakout sessions then you could decide before hand who is able to chat to whom. But allowing private chat between your invited guests also has a potential risk that you might need to consider
  • Are you going to record your online meeting session? If it’s a staff or partners meeting, it’s a useful record to share after the event. But if it’s a wider meeting of other stakeholders, do you need to obtain consent from everyone first?  There are some amazing tools out there which integrate with Zoom that allow you to add audio and text notes you can playback, search and share 

 

Step Three – welcoming your guests into your meeting

  1. All guests will have to wait in the waiting room before you let them in, if you have disabled the join before host option. So, don’t forget to click on their names to let them into the meeting You can decide whether to let them in all at once or one at a time
  2. Another layer of security to stop gatecrashers would be to set-up a meeting password, which your guests need to use to get into the waiting room in the first place.  You need to include this this information with your invitation to join the meeting
  3. Taking this one step further if you know and trust everyone you invited, Zoom can encrypt and embed the password in the invitation to join with a one click invitation. 
  4. Another feature to think about, once your meeting has started and everyone settled, is you could suggest that everyone switches their view from channel view to gallery view so they get to see everyone who is in the meeting with them rather than just the person who is talking.  It also allows you, as the host, to spot someone who hasn't been invited.

Step Four – ending the meeting

  1. Keep an eye on the clock - if you are using the free sign up you only have 40 minutes
  2. Provide a summary of actions and follow on steps before Zoom pulls the plug on your meeting
  3. Review the list of things you said you’d do and act on them immediately. Sending out an action plan is always a good start. Remember everyday usage of video conferencing is new to a lot of people, and a new and immersive experience that takes time to get used to . 

 

Step Five - evaluating the experience

If, on balance after your first hosting role of an online meeting, you think it went well (with the odd hiccup notwithstanding), then have a look registering at the Charity Digital Exchange.  Here you can get a discount on the paid for versions.