Zoom Webinar Best Practices

Recommendations and best practices for running a Zoom Webinar.

Please submit a ticket to the CUIT Service Desk before or during your webinar to ask questions. You can also call the Service Desk at 212-854-1919.

Best Practices

Setting up your Zoom Webinar
  1. Submit a ticket to request a Zoom Webinar license for your event. Options are:
  2. Configure your webinar settings, such as registration, passcode, Q&A, Polling 
  3. Delegate your co-hosts
    1. Delegate co-hosts ahead of your webinar to help manage participants
  4. Invite Panelists
    1. Find your event page in Zoom, and navigate to the Invitations tab
    2. Click Edit next to Invite Panelists, and enter panelist’s email address and name to invite them to your webinar
Before the event
  • Prepare a presentation script ahead of your event for a more seamless experience
  • Run a Zoom Webinar practice session
    • When setting up your event, enable Practice Session
    • To begin the practice session, start the webinar before the start date/time of your official event. Your practice session will remain private to hosts and panelists.
  • Watch a Zoom Webinar training session
  • Visit our Zoom Webinar Settings information
  • Learning how to control the various webinar settings will ensure a better experience
  • Zoom Webinar roles include the webinar host, co-host(s), panelist(s), attendees
  • Attendees can view and listen only
  • To review permissions by role, please visit our Webinar permissions by role table

Webinar Features

The following features are unique to Zoom Webinar and accessible to the host, co-host(s), and panelist(s):

  • The Polling tool allows you to create and launch live polling questions for your attendees
  • To activate Polling, visit your Account Settings
  • For more information on polling, please visit our Polling overview
Question & Answer (Q&A)
  • The Q&A tool allows attendees to post questions via chat for the host, co-host(s), and panelist(s), and offers question moderation
  • Enable Q&A when scheduling your webinar
  • For more information on Q&A, please visit our Q&A overview
  • Screenshare allows the host, co-host(s), and panelist(s) to share the materials on their computer screen with all participants
  • This feature is automatically available during all webinars, and is accessible by host, co-host(s), and panelist(s)
  • Test the screenshare feature during a Practice Session

CUIT Webinar Recommendations 

  • If CUIT’s Zoom Team is assisting with your webinar, be sure to share your presentation materials with CUIT beforehand
  • Prior to your Zoom Webinar, run a Practice Session (enabled during event set up) to test audio, video, and screensharing for host, co-host(s), and panelist(s)
  • Create a separate communication channel outside of Zoom for presenters to use during your webinar; suggestions include: RingCentral chat, Slack, Google Hangouts chat.
    • Having a separate communication channel allows you to quickly manage screen share, and address any other challenges with your moderators and co-hosts without inadvertently sending a chat to all of the event's participants
  • Ensure that you join the Zoom Webinar using your Columbia Zoom account, and not an outside Zoom account
  • Delegate managing participants to a co-host or multiple co-hosts
  • Open the Q&A tool in a pop-out window to monitor and approve incoming questions

    Pre-Webinar Checklist for Hosts

    Begin planning the structure of your webinar:
    • Confirm the date, time, title, and description for your webinar
    • Assign webinar roles: host, co-hosts, panelists, and attendees
    • Schedule the webinar
    • Meet with panelists to confirm the webinar's structure and content
    • Decide whether your webinar will require attendees to register
    • Request any necessary permissions
    • Depending on the expected number of attendees and current license, consult with CUIT to request a Zoom Webinar license
    Finalize content and review webinar features:
    • Review the webinar and account settings
    • Finalize your presentation; add poll questions as needed
    • Check your list of attendees
    • Host a tech rehearsal to review the features of Zoom Video Webinars
    Review webinar roles and practice using webinar tools:
    • Enable Practice Session so that only the host and panelists can join, and start the Webinar
    • Greet panelists and review everyone's roles
    • As panelists join, confirm that their audio and video are running smoothly
    • Set up and manage webinar tools:
      • Chat: Click the More menu at bottom to allow or disable attendee chat
      • Participants: Click the More menu at bottom to allow panelists to start video and mute on entry
      • Q&A: Click the Options menu at top to allow or disable anonymous questions
      • Polls: Select Polls to prepare to launch the poll
    • Run a final audio, webcam video, and content sharing test
    • Review your host controls
    • Mute all panelists; they will remain muted until the presentation starts
    • Use the broadcast button to move from practice to start mode and allow attendees to join
      • Attendees will join muted; they will be able to see and hear panelists

    Supporting Information

    Participating in webinars

    Managing participants

    Recording webinar

    • Require your registrants to register before receiving the link to join your Zoom Webinar
    • Collect registrant names, email addresses, and other information
    • Password-protect your webinar to increase security
    • By default, Zoom assigns all webinars a random 6-digit passcode (which can be changed)
    • Decide if the host and panelists will begin the webinar with video on or off
      • On: Host's and panelists' video will automatically turn on upon joining the meeting (video can be turned off by each individual)
      • Off: Host's and panelists' video will be turned off upon joining the meeting (video can be turned on by each individual)
    • Determine how participants (including host and panelists) can join the audio portion of the meeting
      • Telephone: Participants must dial in to listen to the webinar audio
      • Computer Audio: Participants can listen to the webinar audio through Zoom (recommended)
    • Allows attendees to post questions to panelists, co-hosts, and host via chat, and offers question moderation
    • For more information on Q&A, please visit our Q&A overview
    Enable Practice Session
    • Set up and get acquainted with Zoom Webinar controls before starting the webinar
    • Practice sessions are accessible by the host, alternative host, and panelists only
    Only authenticated users can join
    • Restrict the webinar to only allow attendees who are logged into their Zoom account
    Automatically record webinar
    • Automatically records your Zoom Webinar to the chosen location:
      • On the local computer
      • In the cloud
    Alternative Hosts
    • Choose another licensed CU Zoom user to start the webinar on the host's behalf
    • Enter the email address associated with the user’s Zoom account


    The Question & Answer (Q&A) feature for Zoom Webinars allows attendees to ask questions during the webinar and for the panelists, co-hosts and host to answer their questions.

    Setting up Q&A

    Enabling Q&A
    • Enable Q&A when setting up a new webinar, below Webinar Options
    Modifying Q&A options
    • Review the Q&A options available prior to your Zoom Webinar
      • Navigate to your list of webinars and select the event
      • Scroll to the bottom of the page and select the Q&A tab, then select Edit
        • Allow anonymous questions: Allow participants to send questions without providing their name
        • Allow attendees to view: Allow attendees to be able to view all questions, or only answered ones 
      • Save your changes

    Using Q&A in a webinar

    Managing live Q&A
    • To open the Q&A tool, click the Q&A button at the bottom of the webinar window
    • Click Answer Live to answer the question out loud, or click Type Answer to post a written response in the Q&A
    • Dismiss a question by hovering over it and clicking Dismiss
      • Dismissed questions can be reopened from the Dismissed tab in Q&A
    • Click the Options menu at the top to allow or disable anonymous questions
    • Attendees can upvote questions; Upvoted questions are automatically sorted by popularity
    CUIT Recommendations
    • Assign a co-host to monitor the Q&A tool and approve/dismiss questions
    • Decide ahead of time how to feed questions to panelists:
      • Panelists can monitor the Q&A tool directly, or
      • A co-host can be assigned to read questions out loud to panelists
    • Consider turning off anonymous questions
    • If panelists will not be taking questions, leave Q&A disabled


    The Polling tool for Zoom Webinar allows you to create and launch polling questions for your webinars. You can gather and share responses from attendees.

    Setting up Polling

    Enabling Polling
    • Polling can be enabled in your Account Settings. Under In Meeting (Basic)’, enable the Polling setting
    Create a poll
    • Navigate to your list of webinars and select the event
    • Scroll to the bottom of the page and select the Polls/Survey tab, then select Add
    • Add questions and single choice or multiple choice answers
      • Each poll can have up to 10 questions
    • Save your poll

    Launching polls during a webinar

    Managing Polls
    • To launch your poll during the webinar, click Polling at the bottom of your webinar window
    • Click Launch Poll
    • Click End Poll when finished
    • Click Polling again to relaunch your poll or display polling results to all webinar attendees