Tips For Managing The Start Of A Virtual Meeting

Hello & Welcome 300pxOne of the significant principles underlying ZipDX is empowering people to take back control of their virtual meetings.

We provide tools for people to plan and execute sophisticated, structured, virtual events. We enable a DIY approach to events that previously required costly, operated-assisted conferencing.

As has been noted elsewhere in the public consciousness, with great power comes great responsibility.

As the host of any virtual meeting one of the things that you need to consider is the participant’s experience as they join your event.

The Sound of Silence

While “The Sound of Silence” was the title of a massive hit for Simon and Garfunkel in 1964, it’s proven to be a problem when people connect to a conference call.

It can be very disconcerting for someone to join a call only to hear a long, unbroken stretch of hold music, or worse, total silence.

Lacking confirmation that they’ve reached their desired call, people often connect, wait a short while, then hang-up, only to reconnect a short time later. This process can inspire frustration.

The Good Host

With any gathering, real or virtual, part of being a good host is greeting your guests (call participants) when they arrive. This requires that the host join the conference a little early, to be available when participants begin to join the call.

If you take advantage of our Call-Me feature ZipDX will call you when the call is scheduled to begin.

If you also use the Host Advanced Start setting in the conference template, the system will call you some minutes before the scheduled start time. Thus you’ll be connected and ready to receive the others when they begin to arrive.

For Small Conferences

Smaller conferences tend to be more like in-person meetings, with everyone participating in a conversational manner.

If the participants are dialing-in some may join early. It’s a good idea to set the Host Advanced Start early enough that you’ll be the first one to join the conference. That way you’ll be ready to greet your participants as they start to arrive.

Even with a smaller group, when participants are dialing-in it may take a few minutes for everyone to join the conference. As people join the call welcome them and advise them of the call status.

If you must wait to achieve quorum, or for the arrival of a key participant, let them know.

For Large Conferences

Large conferences present a different set of requirements.

Events with a large audience tend to be a more structured presentation, perhaps followed by some Q&A from the audience. These events benefit from the use of hard lecture mode, so participants are automatically muted as they join the conference.

If you plan to have a large number of participants dial-in you should also consider enabling the waiting room. When the waiting room is enabled those who dial-in prior to the official start of the call hear music until the call begins.

The fact that they hear music at very least confirms that they’re connected. It doesn’t tell them anything specific about the pending conference, but it’s definitely more comforting than joining a silent conference room. It also allows the hosts some privacy as they get ready for the conference.

If participants join well in advance of the conference, it’s a good idea for a host to welcome them and let them know that they’re in the right place.

A host can use the conference dashboard to move themselves to the waiting room. While in the waiting room the host can make an announcement to everyone. The participants awaiting the start of the conference will hear the host, but the host cannot hear them.

The Announcements

In making such an announcement it’s a good practice to welcome the participants, confirming the function that they are about to join, and offering a status update. For example:

“Hello ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the board meeting for Acme Widget Works. This is Jim Kirk, the secretary of the board. The last of the board members are just now arriving and the conference is expected to begin on time in three minutes.”

In many cases it may also be prudent to offer some advice about how the conference is expected to proceed.

“Given the large number of people on the conference today we’re taking steps to ensure an orderly and productive call. When the meeting begins everyone except the board members will be muted. If you’d like to ask a question or make a statement press *1 on your telephone keypad to raise your hand. This will let the chair know that you have something you wish to say.”

In the case of a multilingual call you would also offer some explanation about the nature of the interpreted conference, and possibly how to change language channels.


Whether your next conference is a webinar with hundreds of participants, or a small team on a project status call, it only takes a little thinking ahead to optimize the participant experience joining the call.

Help them to know that they’ve reached the right conference, and keep them informed as they await the start of the meeting.

This simple act of courtesy will deliver participants ready to engage in productive conversation. They’ll marvel at how smoothly and professionally the event was handled.

Seriously, people will talk.


If you have questions about any aspect of ZipDX please contact our support team at:

We’re here to help you get down to business.

Posted in: Best practices

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