“Go Around the Room” to Hear from ALL Zoom Meeting Participants

Posted by Kristin Arnold on March 23, 2021

Use this Zoom tip during a “Go around the room” to keep track of who has already spoken.

As a meeting facilitator, I often start a brainstorming session by “going around the room” or summarizing a conversation with a “lightning round” where everyone gets a chance to weigh in.

For in-person meetings, it’s pretty obvious.  You simply go around the table.  During virtual meetings, it can be challenging to remember who has already spoken and who remains.

So here’s a quick tip to keep everyone engaged and keep track of participation on the Zoom platform:

Start the brainstorming session or lightning round by calling on one person to answer the question, and then when they are done, they have to “pass the ball” to a teammate.

When in Gallery View, click and drag that person’s video frame to the top of the screen – and remember who started the session!  When the second person speaks, click and drag the second person’s video frame to the top of the screen.  You’ll notice that all the other participant tiles will shift and stay in the same order as they speak.  New participants will be added to the bottom-right, on the last page.

Your custom order will be seen only by you.  And as you get to the tail end of the number of people to chime in, you can mention who is still in the “queue”!

And if you’re the host, you can deploy your custom view to all participants. This order can also be released and the order will revert to the default.

Zoom offers these helpful directions to change and set the participants’ video layout order:

  1. Click and drag any participant video to the location on-screen you want.
  2. Continue as needed to achieve your desired on-screen order.
  3. (Optional) As the host, click View to enable or disable these options:
    • Follow Host’s Video Order (only available to the host): Force all participants to display your custom video order. Participants will not be able to change the order when this is enabled. (The custom order will apply to Gallery View and Active Speaker View for participants using the desktop client, mobile app, or Zoom Rooms.)
    • Release Video Order: Release the custom order and revert to the default order.

Note: This technique will not work while screen sharing and the Gallery View cannot be customized while Hide Non-Video Participants is active.

People are delighted that I can quickly tell who has not spoken yet or when we have gone around the room during a brainstorming or lightning round session.

For more information about how to lead your team in the virtual environment, use these resources.

KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CPF | Master, CSP is a high-stakes meeting facilitator and professional panel moderator.  She’s been facilitating teams of executives and managers in making better decisions and achieving greater results for over 27 years.  She is the author of the award-winning book, Boring to Bravo: Proven Presentation Techniques to Engage, Involve and Inspire Audiences to Action.  Her latest book, 123 Ways to Add Pizazz to a Panel Discussion was published in January 2021.

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