The national office of The Presbyterian Church in Canada is helping support and equip congregations and presbyteries in the use of Zoom for online meetings. Zoom is an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat and webinars. It is free for users to attend meetings and installs quickly onto a computer, tablet or mobile device. Participants can also join by phone. This is an especially helpful tool when in-person meetings are not possible.
Staff members of The Presbyterian Church in Canada’s national office are ready to help you schedule a Zoom meeting.
They can provide guidance on how to set up and host your own meeting or can set up and host the meeting on your behalf. Please note that staff hosting will be limited to availability of staff, and on a first-come, first-served basis.
For those who would like to their manage their own Zoom conferencing, below is guidance to help facilitate smooth and secure online meetings.
- Each meeting requires a host. Ensure hosts are familiar with Zoom’s features so that they can comfortably carry out their responsibilities.
- It is helpful if the host is on a computer with the latest version of Zoom installed.
- Always schedule a new meeting instead of using the Personal Meeting ID in the Zoom account for a meeting.
- Use a meeting password and enable the Waiting Room feature to improve security.
- Be familiar with the prerequisites of the Zoom features that will be used in the meeting. For example, if Breakout Room(s) will be used, participants using Chromebooks or Chrome OS will be unable to join the Breakout Room(s).
- If voting will be involved in the meeting, decide on the voting method. I.e., the Polling feature, nonverbal feedback options (thumbs up/down, yes/no) available in Zoom, or other methods. Create polls ahead of time if the Polling will be used.
- Do not advertise meetings on social media to prevent unwanted attendees. The meeting invitation should be sent by email only.
- Edit the meeting invitation to make it easy to understand.
- Encourage participants to join the meeting early in order to test their audio and video settings ahead of time, so that the meeting can begin promptly, and all can participate without difficulty.
- If a separate practice session will be held before the actual meeting for those who want to get familiar with Zoom’s features, it is helpful to use the same meeting ID as the real meeting. This will minimize the chance of participants using an incorrect meeting ID when it comes time for the real meeting.
- It is helpful to send a reminder email on the day of the meeting repeating the initial invitation’s instructions on how to join the meeting.
- The host has to sign into the Zoom account to start the meeting.
- If needed, the host can assign a few others who are familiar with Zoom features as co-hosts to share host responsibilities.
- If the Waiting Room is enabled, the host should sign into the meeting at least 15 minutes before the meeting starts in order to admit participants.
- Encourage participants to identify themselves clearly on the participants’ list with their names. The host may need to confirm an individual’s identity if they join the meeting by phone and their name is not displayed. The host can change the name that displays on the participants’ list if necessary.
- The host and co-host(s) can use the Security Icon in the Zoom meeting controls to secure a meeting and minimize disruption during the meeting.
- When individuals are not speaking in the meeting, it is suggested that they mute their microphones and unmute them only to speak.
- If your meetings are recorded in the cloud, monitor the cloud storage usage in the Zoom account. Purge old recordings to free up storage space if necessary.
Virtual Meeting Best Practices and Resources – Handshake Help Center
How to Keep Zoom Classes Secure and Private – Contact North
How to Smoothly Run a Professional Webinar – CharityVillage
When requesting support, please provide the following information at the time of booking:
- Your name, contact information and the congregation/organization you are representing
- Type of meeting
- Whether or not your meeting needs to be recorded
- Type of meeting support you are requesting, such as training, full hosting, etc.
- Date and time (including time zone) of the proposed meeting
- Alternative date and time (including time zone), if possible
- Level of confidentiality of the subject matter to be discussed
The national office staff look forward to helping churches across the country to continue to meet and complete the ongoing business of the church.
To get started, send an email to Grace McCreary or call 1-800-619-7301, 416-441-1111, ext. 259.