30 Minutes to Becoming a Zoom Webinar Subject Matter Expert (SME)


Zoom webinar licenses allow you to broadcast to an audience of up to 500 participants, up to 1000 participants, or, with a special license, up to 10,000 participants. To request any of these types of webinar licenses, you will need to complete the U-M ITS Meeting vs Webinar form.

Webinars allow for a host, co-host(s), panelist(s) and attendees. As a host, co-host or panelist, you can share your screen, video and audio and attendees can use the chat or Q&A to interact with the host and panelists. This guide is intended to help you schedule and manage your own webinar with ease and confidence. We also recommend you review Roles in a webinar.  If you are conducting a large webinar (over 300) we recommend having more than 2 people on hand to help with Q&A, Raise Hand feature, and the presentation. 

Note: For information on hosting a live stream webinar, see Live Streaming a Zoom Webinar. Only public events may be live streamed.

Scheduling a Webinar

It's possible to schedule a webinar with registration or without registration for your participants, depending on your preference. We also recommend you review How to Secure Meetings in Zoom before scheduling your webinar. Editing the settings on your webinar is possible up to the start time of the event. 

  1. Sign in to the Zoom web portal and click Webinars
  2. Click Schedule a Webinar.
    Click to Schedule a Webinar
  3. Choose the appropriate webinar settings which include:
    1. Topic 
    2. Description - provide some details
    3. Use a Template - webinar templates
    4. Date and Time
    5. Duration
    6. Recurring webinar 
    7. Registration 
      Registrations requires attendees to complete a brief form before receiving the link to join your webinar. This enables the host to collect the names, email addresses and more from the attendees. It is possible to automatically approve anyone who registers or manually approve attendees. See Scheduling a Webinar with Registration for a short video on scheduling a webinar with registration. 
    8. Host Video - on or off when joining the webinar
    9. Panelist Video - on or off when joining the webinar
    10. Audio options
    11. Require webinar Password - or schedule without requiring a password
    12. Q&A - participants ask questions during the webinar  for the panelists, co-hosts and host 
    13. Enable Practice Session - start the webinar practice session instead of a live broadcast to set up and get acquainted with webinar controls 
    14. Advanced Options - Scheduling Privilege and Alternate Host 
  4. Click Schedule.

Inviting Panelist(s) to a Webinar

Panelists are full participants in the meeting, which is different from attendees who are are muted and cannot activate their camera or share their screen. They can view and send video, screen share, annotate and make use of the whiteboard. A panelist must be assigned this role by the webinar host. The host can also disable some features for panelists, including starting video, screen share, and recording.

  1. Sign in to the Zoom web portal and click Webinars
  2. Click the topic of the webinar you want to add panelists to.
  3. In the Invitations tab, select the Edit button in the Invite panelists section.
    Click to Edit an Invitation and add add Panelist
  4. Enter the name(s) and email address(s) of the panelist you want to invite.
  5. Click Save. An email will be sent to all panelists.

Inviting Attendees to a Webinar

Attendees are view-only participants who can be un-muted only if the host chooses. Their view of the webinar is controlled by the host. Attendees can interact with the host and the panelists through the Q&A and the chat.There are three different ways to invite attendees to register:

  • Copy the registration URL and share via email.
  • Click Copy the invitation to view and copy the invitation to send out to attendees.
  • Click Email me the invitation to receive a copy of the invitation that you can forward to potential attendees.

Information includes webinar size and ability to Copy Invitation and Email invitation

Starting a webinar

There are three different ways to start a webinar:

  • Sign in to the Zoom web portal and click Webinars. Find the appropriate webinar and click Start.
  • In the Zoom client, click the Meetings tab. Find the appropriate webinar and click Start.
  • If you have added this to your calendar, click on the link displayed on your calendar reminder. Make sure that you are logged into your Zoom account before clicking the link.

Managing Participants

The Participants option in your webinar toolbar at the bottom of your screen to manage the panelists and attendees in your webinar. Options include promoting to co-host or panelist, demoting panelists to attendee, un-muting participants, stopping video of participants, and more.


Hover over the panelist name and click More. You will find the following options:

Picture of the More menu in the Panelist tab of Participants


Click on the Attendees tab, hover over the attendee's name, and click More. You will find the following options:

Picture of More menu under the Attendees tab

Live Stream a Zoom Webinar

You may live stream your Zoom webinar if it is a public event.

Public events only!
— Live stream public events only.
No sensitive data can be included.
— Live streaming may not be used for teaching, learning, or research activities.
— If any individuals might appear in the live stream (video and/or audio), those individuals:
   — Must be notified in advance that the event will be live streamed.
   —Given the option to opt-out.

Please see below for the applicable Zoom Help Center instructions for each streaming service. 

Participants in the meeting will see the event is being streamed live. 

Note: Zoom Webinars can be live streamed to Facebook, YouTube, or third-party services, but Zoom meetings are not permitted to be live streamed. Find more information on the Zoom FAQ page


Tips for running your webinar:

  • Schedule a practice session which provides time for you and your panelists to get comfortable with the flow, content of the meeting, and the technology. This is an option within your scheduled webinar. Note that you can only have one practice session per webinar event. We recommend including as many participants as can join. 
  • Consider the security of your meeting by requiring registrations. We also recommend reviewing How to Secure Your Meetings.
  • Consider your viewers. Do any need Closed Captions? Refer to Videoconferencing Captioning Tools for Zoom and Videoconferencing and Digital Accessibility at the University of Michigan
  • Use visuals to keep participants interested. Consider Whiteboards and/or Annotation
  • Take advantage of the many features offered by Zoom:
    • Screen Sharing
      Only the host, co-host and panelist can share their screen during a webinar.
    • Polling for Webinars
      Pollling allows a host to create a single choice or multiple choice polling questions for a webinar. Hosts can create these polls prior to the webinar, or during, and choose when to launch the poll during the webinar. You can have up to 25 polls during a webinar. 
    • Raise Hand in Webinar
      This feature allows attendees to click a option for raising their hand to indicate they need something from the host or panelist. Hosts have the ability to Lower the hand and not address the attendee. 
    • Question & Answers (Q&A)
      Public Q&A feature the host to set up either anonymous questions or allows attendees to view either all questions or only answered questions. 
    • Enable a Co-host
      This feature can be useful when holding a large webinar. We recommend at least 2 people to help run the webinar, which can be an alternate host (if they also have the webinar license) or co-hosts. If you are conducting a large webinar (over 300) we recommend having more than 2 people on hand to help with Q&A, Raise Hand feature, and presentation. 
    • Recording


Last Updated: 
Wednesday, January 6, 2021