Information Services Division


Planning a webinar

Zoom Webinar is a self-service tool. The guidance below is to help you set-up and host your webinar.

Please note that some links on this page are to external content.

Two weeks (or as early as possible) before your event

Request a webinar licence

If you do not already have a webinar licence, you will need to request one by filling out the Virtual Events self service form. On the form options, choose request something and a Zoom webinar licence. This will log a ticket to have the licence applied to your account.

Please include the following details:

  • the start date of the event
  • the date of your last webinar (after which you will no longer require the licence)
  • whether you require support with video production
  • the email address of the account which the licence needs to be applied to; and
  • the number of participants of the webinar.

If you are unsure if Zoom Webinar is the right platform for you and would like some advice, you can contact the virtual events service by submitting a  Virtual Events self service form. On the form options, choose request something and advice and guidance for hosting my event. This will log a ticket and a member of the team will be in contact to help you determine which tool best fits your requirements.

Schedule the webinar

Note that you must have a webinar licence to schedule an event.

  • Confirm the date, time, title, and description for your webinar
  • Assign webinar roles: host, co-hosts, panelists, and attendees. Although you must have a webinar licence to schedule an event, when setting up the event you can add one or more alternative hosts who can start the event on your behalf.

Please note you may initially be given a small webinar licence to enable you to schedule your event. If you have confirmed a higher number of attendees, you can be provided with a larger licence upon request to zoom support the day before your event.

Secure the webinar

Consider how to keep your webinar secure and restrict it to only authenticated users where possible (you can further restrict to only UCL attendees if necessary).

Organise support for the webinar

Consider if you need additional support for the meeting such as:

  • closed captioning – automatic captioning is available as well as manual captioning. Manual captioning is where you, a co-host or panellist can type closed captioning during the meeting. For larger events, if you wish to use manual captioning, you are advised to book a stenographer from a third-party external service, such as 121 Captions or AI Media
  • language translation – ensure you have translators available and enable translation language interpretation within Zoom. UCL has preferred suppliers for transcription and translation services, see UCL Procurement pages for further information
  • sign language interpreter – ensure you have a sign language interpreter available and enable translation language interpretation within Zoom. Email UCL DCAL for further advice
  • if you want to live stream your event, please contact streaming@ucl.ac.uk
  • if you need support to run your online event you can email video@ucl.ac.uk to enquire about this costed service.

Invite your attendees

Confirm the format for sending invites to attendees.

  • Ask attendees to register in advance (we strongly encourage this if you do not have a fixed list of attendees). If you use another platform for this, you can use the Zoom pre-register CSV upload capability. You can also enable the manual or auto-approve functionality once individuals have registered.
  • Invite specific individuals by directly sending out an invite link.
  • If you are inviting attendees who will be dialing in, (if they don’t have access to a computer), please make sure you include the dial-in information in the invite. You may also want to flag if you have attendees calling in from countries that may result in a fee.
  • To have the best possible online experience, you should encourage attendees to have a quiet place to work and use a headset or other appropriate audio device. However, we are all too aware that this is not possible for everyone, so you should also be mindful of different circumstances.
  • Don’t forget to let your attendees know if you intend to record the event and allow them to opt out if they are unhappy with this. GDPR regulations apply; for further information see UCL guidance on capturing images and videos.

A reminder to consider Zoom security and don’t make invite URL public unless it is required for a public event. For more information visit our Staying safe on Zoom webpage.

Prepare with your panelists

  • Confirm times with panelists, and ask them to join the session early (30 minutes) to help you with the final checks.
  • Set up practice rooms and Q&A functionality.
  • Where appropriate, discuss and agree the webinar's structure and content with panelists.

One week before

  • Review the Webinar and account settings to make sure they are set up correctly.
  • Double-check your list of attendees and send out reminders to respond to invites or registration requests if required.
  • If relevant, remind participants you intend to record the event and allow them to opt out if they are unhappy with this. GDPR regulations apply; for further information see UCL guidance on capturing images and videos.
  • Check you have requested a large enough webinar licence (although this may not be assigned to you yet). If you have more, or fewer, attendees signed up than expected email zoomsupport@ucl.ac.uk to request the right size licence.
  • Encourage attendees to download ether the Zoom desktop client or the Zoom mobile app in advance of the meeting.
  • Consider whether you need polling within Zoom Webinar. You can use Zoom Webinar polling or Mentimeter which also allows you to use polling, questions, create graphs and images.

In addition, we recommend you have a practice run of your webinar with someone in an attendee role and a panelist role to:

  • check presentation slides are presented correctly to everyone
  • review any videos to be shared
  • check any polling
  • practice host controls, i.e promoting people to panelist roles, audio video controls
  • ensure your panelists roles work as expected; and
  • test live streaming.

One day before

  • Check you have the right Zoom Webinar licence assigned to you for the size of your Webinar

30 minutes before

  • Start the webinar at https://ucl.zoom.us/webinar/list
  • Greet the panelists as they join and check everyone has the correct roles
  • As panelists join, confirm that their audio and video are running smoothly 
  • Complete final setup and check webinar tools:
    • Check the Chat functionality
      Click the More menu at bottom to allow or disable attendee chat
    • Set up Participants
      Click the More menu at bottom to allow participants to start video and mute on entry – or other settings you want
    • Check the Q&A functionality
      Click the Options menu at the top to allow or disable anonymous questions 
    • Set up Polls or double check links to Mentimeter
      Select Polls within Webinar to prepare to launch the poll or ensure Mentimeter polling is set up and you have links to share

15 minutes before

  • Run a final audio, webcam video and content sharing test
  • Review your host controls
  • Check stenographer (captioning), sign language interpreter and/or translator have joined – ask a friendly attendee to check these functions are working

5 minutes before

  • Set audio and video controls for panelists, hosts and co-hosts to ensure that everyone will remain muted until the presentation starts. This will apply both to the practice session (if you have one) and the main webinar
  • Use the broadcast button to move from practice to start mode and allow attendees to join. Please note that attendees will join muted
  • If you are live streaming, connect to the relevant streaming service
  • The host/speaker should welcome the attendees and let them know you'll be getting started soon

Webinar start time

Remember that co-hosts can undertake the majority of the same roles as the host (except live streaming and starting the event).

  • If you are recording the session, Start recording – don’t forget to remind people that the session is being recorded
  • Unmute yourself and/or the first speaker and start the video
  • Begin the presentation with welcome and housekeeping items
  • Monitor Q&A or chat from attendees for technical concerns.

After your webinar

  • Download any Zoom webinar reports or statistics from the meeting you want to keep. You need a Zoom webinar licence to be able to access this information and it will be removed 72 hours after your event.
  • Trim the webinar recording if required. Note that recordings should only be shared with participants if there is prior agreement.
  • Send a follow up email to attendees and panelists:
    • remind participants they can access the link to recording (this should not be shared more widely except with prior agreement of all webinar participants)
    • include follow-up surveys or any additional actions
    • ask for feedback if relevant
  • Complete a review/lessons learned of the session. Make a note of any changes you want to make for future webinars

How to guides: