How do I Start a Zoom Meeting?
- Get a Zoom account
This can be a group member’s account or one set up by the group on zoom.us. You need a pro account to have a meeting longer than 40 minutes. Alternatively, there is a limited number of spaces available on Central Office zoom accounts (details on Central Office Zoom Spaces).
- Schedule meeting
Use the Zoom account to schedule a meeting. For some recommended settings for the meeting check out What Security Settings Do You Recommend? .
- Submit meeting information to Central Office
To get the new zoom information on the Salt Lake City Meeting Schedule and the Meeting Guide App, fill out the Meeting Changes Form. Make sure to fill out the form any of the zoom information for the meeting changes, or if it moves between online and in person.
- Decide on meeting host(s)
Take note of the host ID and assign people in the meeting to be hosts. More details in What is a Meeting Host?.
- Add closed captioning
If you would like to make the meeting more accessible, consider adding a closed captioning option to the meeting. How Do I Add Closed Captioning?
- Set up a group Venmo account
To allow members to follow the 7th tradition and keep supporting the group, consider setting up a Venmo account or similar. AA General Service Office and Central Office still have expenses and are counting on the group’s support.
- Update meeting scripts
An online meeting might require format changes to the meeting which should be reflected in the script. Also, consider adding tips to meeting attendees about zoom etiquette, enabling/disabling closed captions, etc.
What About Zoom Bombers?
Since most meetings want to welcome newcomers, they choose to share all the zoom information including the password on the schedule. Unfortunately, this means that sometimes unwelcome guests join and try to disrupt the meeting. To minimize disruption and quickly remove unwelcome visitors:
- Designate a meeting host and cohosts
Only hosts/cohosts can mute people and remove them from the meeting. If no one has assumed the host role, no one can do anything about an unwelcome visitor. More details in What is a Meeting Host?.
- Implement security settings
Take a look at the What Security Settings Do You Recommend?. Which options the group choses depends on the meeting format and group conscience.
- Have a plan in advance for how to handle zoom bombers
Zoom bombers often rely on loud noises and disturbing images to hijack a meeting. It’s stressful in the moment, so it can be helpful to decide in advance how the host and cohosts will handle the disruption. Which security options will your group implement? Will you mute everyone at the first sign of a disruption or leave participants unmuted to more easily identify whom to remove? If someone looks really suspicious, will you move them to the waiting room and ask them a couple of basic questions to make sure they’re actually there for the meeting? It’s a tough balance between keeping the meeting safe but welcoming to newcomers.
What is a Meeting Host?
The meeting host is either the person whose zoom account is used for the meeting or someone who assumes the host role when joining. The host can appoint other co-hosts, and only the host and co-host can change meeting security settings, mute participants, and remove people from the meeting. It is important to have a host at every meeting to handle disruptive participants and security concerns.
- Pick a host
Some groups have a rotating service position for the meeting host, while others let the chair assume the host role. The person whose Zoom account is being used for the meeting can just automatically be host, although this can be problematic if that person ever missed the meeting without designating someone else to be the host. Keep in mind that for larger and frequently interrupted meetings, it can be difficult for someone to chair and host at the same time.
- Claim host role and appoint cohosts
The host key can be found in the meeting organizer’s zoom account under the Profile tab. You can then use the key to claim the host role following the instructions on Zoom Claim Host Instructions. Once you claim host, you can appoint other co-hosts to help manage the meeting. They will have the same privileges as the host.
What Security Settings Do You Recommend?
Here are some zoom security settings that can help minimize disruptions from zoom bombers and help the host control the meeting. These can be adjusted at the account level or meeting level. They can also be changed by the host before the meeting starts. Which options the group choses depends on the meeting format and group conscience.
- Disable screen sharing
Screen sharing can be used by zoom bombers to share disturbing images or videos.
Most groups do not need the screen sharing option. However, if your group uses it to share readings or images, enable it for host only.
- Do not allow removed participants to rejoin
Once the host removes an unwelcome visitor, they will not be able to rejoin the meeting.
- Enable co-hosts
It’s convenient for a meeting host to be able to add other co-hosts to help manage the meeting as needed
- Enable waiting room
Some groups choose to have a waiting room and let in participants one by one into the meeting. This can allow the host to ask some basic questions if someone new tries to join. This option can be helpful for small meetings that tend to have a consistent set of attendees. However, this option is not very practical for large meetings with a lot new participants.
- Mute participants on entry
This option minimizes disruption if people join mid-meeting. Be careful if using in conjunction with the “Do not allow participants to unmute” option, since it will prevent any pre-meeting fellowship.
- Do not allow participants to unmute themselves
The host can remove the option for participants to unmute themselves. This can prevent zoom bombers from being able to interrupt the meeting. Whether this option is appropriate depends on the meeting format. If participants raise their hand to share and are called on, they can be unmuted when it’s their turn. However, if participants are asked to unmute and share, this option does not make sense. Of course, if a group is experiencing consistent disruptions, they can consider temporarily changing the meeting format to allow for this secure Zoom option.
- Disable chat
If chat has proven to be disruptive or offensive, consider disabling this option. However, most groups leave it open to allow members to exchange numbers and post useful information. Some groups leave the chat open but have asked members to minimize chat use during the meeting.
- Do not allow participants to rename themselves
Some zoom bombers change their names to match others in the group making it difficult for the host to know whom to remove from the meeting. This option prevents this trick. However, it is limiting for people who want to hide their last name after they join or make other adjustments.
How Do I Add Closed Captions?
Adding closed captions to your meeting makes it more accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing. Zoom does not provide its own transcription, but it allows closed caption integration with a 3rd party service. If you add closed captioning to the meeting, make sure to let us know using the Meeting Changes Form. We are working on a custom filter so meeting attendees can find the closed caption enabled meetings.
There are several options for this, but one we recommend is Rev. The Live Captions for Zoom option is only $20/month. It’s AI based, so there are some imperfections in its interpretation of what’s being said, especially AA specific terminology.
Follow the Rev instructions for the integration (or Zoom instructions for other options). To preserve anonymity, make sure to disable the caption saving option. It might help to mention in the meeting intro that the “Streaming Live” message is just part of the closed captions service and the meeting is not actually being broadcast in any way.