Please make sure you are already familiar with the Zoom participant controls and that you have the latest Zoom software installed by going to and downloading and installing the Zoom Client for Meetings (even if you think you have the latest version already.)

The first time you install Zoom you have one chance to get Zoom to remember your name correctly, so make sure it is e.g. “Stephen Marcus” and not “smarcus” or “stephenmarcus” or just “Stephen” or even worse “iBook” or “Home PC”! Otherwise you will need to change your name each and every time you use Zoom.

Becoming a Host

There are three ways to become the Host of a Zoom meeting:

  1. Owning the paid Zoom license used to create and start the meeting.
  2. Joining a running Zoom meeting and being made Host by the current Host, who must be on the call at the time and can then leave.
  3. (ADVANCED) Being an Alternate Host for that meeting: multiple Zoom licenses can be grouped under one Zoom account. This allows you to be specified in advance as an Alternate Host by another license holder under the same account. If you turn up first or the regular Host is unable to attend, you become the host.

Hosting a Meeting

With new participants, begin by explaining the most important control on their screen:

  • Gallery View / Speaker View at the top right
  • Mute / Unmute microphone icon at the bottom left
  • The hidden “Raise Hand” button at the bottom of the list that pops up when they click on “Participants”

As host, your screen will look much like the participants’ screens, with a few more options:

Manage Participants

The “Participants” button now says “Manage Participants” and pops up a list which allows you to do such things as mute and unmute participants, make another participant the host, remove them from the meeting, etc. (a pop-up list appears when you put the mouse over a participant.) One or more participants can be designated Co-host and are then able to assist in doing most of the things the Host can do, such as muting and unmuting participants.

Any participants with raised hands will automatically be sorted to the top and have a hand symbol next to their name.

At the bottom are buttons to Mute everyone (you can then specify whether they can unmute themselves or not), and of course to Unmute them.

“More” includes:

  • Mute Participant on Entry
  • Lock Meeting – no-one can enter (NOTE: if you select this they can’t get back in even if they were in the meeting and dropped out for some reason and are trying to get back in)

When in Gallery View there is also a menu that pops up when you put the mouse over the three dots that appear at the top right of each participants video. The menu is slightly different for your own video.

Share Screen

If you want to share things like photos or videos, the Share Screen button is what you need. The options when you hit the share button should be obvious and let you share various application windows or your entire desktop. Just try it out. The small “Share computer sound” check box at the bottom left will share your computer sound with everyone so that you can play audio or video recordings, or YouTube videos, to everyone.

If (when!) you forget to check the “Share computer sound” box you do not need to cancel screen sharing, you can simply click on “Share Screen” again and this time check the box.

The up-arrow to the right of the big green Share Screen button allows you to control who can share their screen. Of particular importance for meetings with new users is to turn off All Participants screen sharing by selecting “Only Host” (see “Who can share?” settings below) so they don’t do it by mistake! Then only the Host and Co-hosts will be able to share their screens.

If you forget to do this and someone does accidentally share their screen, the quickest way to get back control is to share your own screen and then almost immediately stop sharing your own screen – there is no single control to simply cancel a participant’s screen share.


This allows the Host, Co-hosts and others who are given permission to record the meeting. The recording could either be on your local computer, in which case it records Speaker View and Gallery View exactly as you see it on your own screen, or use Zoom’s Cloud if that is enabled. Cloud recordings can have either just the Speaker View or the Gallery View, or both, and would have to be edited together in a video editing program afterwards to switch between the two views.

If you are using the cloud make sure you check with your account administrator as Zoom offers only a small amount of cloud storage space by default.

If you record locally the file will be converted into standard MP4 video and M4A audio files after the meeting is finished.

Breakout Rooms

The Host (but not the Co-host) has a button which allows them to divide participants across Breakout Rooms.



It is easiest to do this automatically – you specify the number of rooms (and the number of participants per room is shown) and after assigning participants to rooms you can move them around between rooms, add an extra room, etc.

Clicking on the blue number to the right of each Breakout Session brings up a box which will let you remove specific participants from the breakouts – for example to keep certain Co-hosts or other assistants, or latecomers, in the main room with you. It can also be used to add removed people back into the mix, e.g. an assistant to make up odd numbers.

Once you are satisfied with the arrangement you click Start All Sessions.

Participants are invited to join their designated breakout session with a dialog box – they need to click JOIN.

Once in a Breakout there is almost no communication between the Host and participants, so you need to give ALL instructions before participants enter the breakouts. There is currently no capability of broadcasting audio announcements (though you can broadcast a text message to everyone) so if timing is involved in exercises you need to instruct everyone to bring a timer before the meeting so at least one person in each breakout will probably have one.

As host it is best for you to remain in the main room to supervise breakouts. You can move people between breakouts even while they are running – for example to put together together two people who may have ended up in a session alone because their partner dropped off the call. Or you may arrange for a number of assistants to remain in the main room with you and move one of them to a breakout as needed.

All of this functionality is provided by fairly intuitive menus when you hover the mouse over a participant’s name.

You can also Join and leave a specific session.

Co-hosts are also able to move themselves between Breakouts but cannot move other people.

The only way participants in breakouts can communicate with you is by clicking a Help button. You can choose to join that session, or send an assistant there.


To end the Breakouts, click “Stop All Sessions”. Participants will see a box with a 60 second countdown timer, at which point they will be automatically returned to the main room. Unfortunately they also have a button which lets them return immediately – give them instructions before the breakout NOT to click that but to use the 60 seconds to finish up.

The speed at which participants enter and leave breakouts depends on their internet connection speed. If you have a global meeting with people on various speed connections this will probably be in the range of 5 to 20 seconds.

Here is the Zoom page with more details on Breakouts.