Zoom 101: Five Keys To Hosting A Great Zoom Event!

Your charity is hosting an online fundraiser show on Zoom.
You are bringing in a speaker/entertainer for your Zoom meeting.
You are adding entertainment for a family event or private group event on Zoom.

Your entertainer/speaker could be great …fantastic …the bees knees …and the cat’s meow.
BUT …if he or she doesn’t know their way around the Zoom universe, your event is potentially DOOMED, not Zoomed.

I’m here to help.

Since mid-March I’ve performed in hundreds of online Zoom events. For the first handful — all events I did for friends and family — were done so I could experience and better understand the tech side of Zoom. Once those few, but important, early shows were done, I went on to share my shows with clients across the nation. I learned a lot from those first shows. Let me speed up your learning curve for your events by sharing those 101 lessons.

Points to keep in mind when:

★ You’re hosting and leading a Zoom meeting
★ When you have invited an entertainer/speaker to present for your group. These points will help you speak the same tech language as the person you’re engaging.

As already mentioned, these are “101” points. If you’re a Zoom veteran at this point, you know these, but you’ll also know they are critical.

#1 If your guest entertainer/speaker doesn’t already have it, give them host power.

Hosting power is just a way another way to allow the performer to run the tech aspect of his performance. In live in-person theater shows, the audience doesn’t control the spotlight or microphones. The performers do and should. Same thing in Zoom.

Let the performer control the tech by being a Zoom host for the show or his portion of the meeting.

#2 The host should embrace the power of the mute and “mute all.”

When you’re new to Zoom it can feel weird to mute people because it feels like you’re telling them to shut up. In Zoom you’re doing them a favor. In Zoom, the main camera/screen will frequently go to the person making noise if they’re not muted, a.k.a., “speaker view.” Ugh.

Imagine this: you’ve hired David Copperfield to vanish an elephant for your Zoom meeting. (Or you’ve hired me to vanish something slightly smaller. Probably better, because I’m closer to your budget.) At the exact moment Copperfield makes the elephant vanish, the dog of Marge in accounting starts barking. Suddenly, everyone view shifts away from the magic to Marge saying, “Shhhhh. Shhhh. Who’s a good puppy? Who’s a good puppy??” Not exactly ideal.

#3 Pin is good. Spotlight is usually better.

Remember this lovable couple from 2011? It might be one of the sweetest things you’ll ever see. It’s a senior citizen married couple trying to figure out a webcam. They’re delightful.

As charming as they are, imagine an entire audience of people with similar tech knowledge. That would be rough.

In a small gathering of zoom savvy people I might ask participants to pin my screen. Pin is what a participant does to disable the active speaker view and view one screen. It’s a simple matter .

In spotlight the host effectively pins primary active speaker for all participants in the meeting and cloud recordings.

Participants pin. A host spotlights. When performing for groups of more than a handful I usually spotlight myself. This prevents any less Zoom savvy participants from missing parts of the show.

Details on pinning and spotlighting can be found at Zoom here.

#4 Use a password or waiting room.

Zoom strongly recommends using a password or waiting room for security reasons.
I agree, but which one?

For larger groups, unless you have a committed host to allow people into the room, I strongly recommend password over waiting room. Why? When I’m entertaining an audience, I focus on the audience, on performing, on giving everyone a great time. I do not want to interrupt the show repeatedly to allow people in the room. Using a password furnishes security without distraction.

Are there more things that can go wrong in the Zoom universe? Sure, but these will steps will solve 99% of Zoom snafus. Bonus point coming up …

#5 Let’s talk!

Entertainment, at its very basic level, is the art of transferring the performer’s excitement and fun into the audience. The challenge with Zoom is that not all entertainment styles transfer the same.
Magic, particularly close-up sleight of hand, is a tailor-made fit for the intimacy of Zoom.
Mentalism, a.k.a. “theatrical mindreading” works so well because audience members thoughts are read even though physically the performer may be a thousand miles away. It’s amazing!
And comedy? Good comedy always works.

Check out how I bring the fun to Zoom of events!
Then go here to make your next online event amazing.


Chris “Doc” Dixon

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