Technology Enhanced Learning Team


Managing Participants, Chat and Polling in Zoom

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

For: StaffApplication: ZoomTagged: web conferencing , zoom

There are a number of features in Zoom which allow you to manage and interact with participants during a meeting. This guide will highlight some of the options you may want to consider utilising, depending on the number of attendees and the type of session you are planning.

Waiting Room

The waiting room can be used to prevent participants from enter the main meeting room before the host is ready for the session to begin. This can be useful if you need to set up a presentation or test your audio and video settings before participants join. You can also use this feature to ensure that only the intended participants are admitted into the meeting. See more information on enabling the Waiting Room on our scheduling guide.

When the waiting room is enabled, you will receive a notification when participants are waiting to join the meeting. You can view and manage the waiting room using the Participants panel.

From this panel you can Message those in the waiting room, Admit specific participants, or Admit all participants into the meeting.

Once you are ready to start the meeting, you can also disable the waiting room entirely using the More menu at the bottom of the Participants panel. This is useful if you do not want to manually admit any participants who may join the meeting late.


Grant access or revoke features

Using the Participants panel, you can promote participants to a higher role if you want to grant them additional access to meeting controls and features. Hover your cursor over the participant’s name and click More to either make the user the meeting Host or a Co-Host.

Note: a meeting can have multiple Co-Hosts, but only one Host. If you make another user the Host, you will lose your own Host role in the meeting.

You can also revoke certain features from participants in a meeting. Manage participant features by clicking the Security button at the bottom of the window. From this menu you can choose whether participants can share their screen, use the Chat, rename themselves, unmute their microphones, or enable their cameras. This can be adjusted at any time during the meeting.


Muting and requesting participants unmute

During a meeting, it may be useful to mute all participants quickly. This can be done by clicking Mute All at the bottom of the Participants panel.

You can also request a participant unmute their microphone. This can be done by highlighting a participant’s name in meeting gallery or by moving your cursor over the participant’s name in the Participant panel and selecting Ask to Unmute.


Arrange view and active speaker

Depending on the number of participants and whether they are sharing their cameras, you may want to customise how the Zoom interface is displayed on your screen. Using the View button in the top-right corner of the window, you can select Speaker view (switching between active speakers), Gallery view (displaying up to 25 participants), and Fullscreen. This only changes the interface for yourself, not other participants in the meeting.

Example of Active Speaker view. The active speaker’s profile is moved into the larger area, with participants listed across the top of the window.

Example of the gallery view. The active speaker’s profile is highlighted in yellow when talking.



Zoom reactions allow participants to communicate using nonverbal feedback and ‘raise their hand’ virtually to request the attention of the host. This feature can be accessed using the Reactions button at the bottom of the meeting window. Participants can select Raise Hand, choose a common emoji to express their feedback, or use the ‘menu to choose from the standard list of emoji available on their device.

Reactions will display for other users in the meeting beside the participant’s name in their video panel and will also display beside their name in the Participants panel.



The meeting chat is useful for allowing a large number of participants to engage with the meeting host without the need for microphones. The chat can be used for participants to discuss topics between each other or to ask questions without interrupting the host’s presentation. To use the chat, click the Chat button at the bottom of the meeting window.

In the text field, type your message and press return on your keyboard to send the message.

The chat can be used to send Direct Messages to specific users. Beside the To: field, click Everyone (in Meeting) and select the desired user from the list.

You will see the user’s name appear in the To: field along with the text (Direct Message), indicating that only the selected user will see the message. This will also be noted in your chat transcript.

Click the ‘‘ More options menu to restrict how the the chat can be used by participants. From this menu you can select the following options:

  • No one – disables the chat
  • Host only – text entered in the chat is only visible to meeting hosts
  • Everyone publicly – participants can use the chat, but not message other participants privately
  • Everyone publicly and directly – participants can message the whole group or individual users privately


Sharing files

You can also send files from your computer to participants using the chat panel. Click the Files icon and select Your Computer to browse for the file on your PC. Selecting a file will place a link to the file in the chat panel for participants to download. Files can also be sent to all participants or directly to a single participant using the direct message feature.

Once the session has ended, you can download a full text transcript from the chat panel by opening the ‘…’ menu and selecting Save Chat.



Zoom allows you to run multiple choice polls for participants during a session. Polls can be created when schedule a meeting (see our Scheduling guide for more information) or during a meeting. To create a poll, click the Polling button on the toolbar at the bottom of the meeting window.

A polling window will appear on your screen. Click Add a Question. This will open your Zoom account in a browser window.

Beside the text ‘No polls created‘ click + Create.

Give the poll a title and type the text for your question. Click Single Choice and select Multiple Choice from the menu if you would like participants to select more than one option. Responses can be Anonymous by ticking the box at the bottom of the window.

Click the Untitled Option fields to enter text. Click + Add Option to add more response fields.

When the question is ready, click + Add Question to create another question. Click Save at the bottom of the window when your poll is ready.

On the polling page, you can click + Create again to make a new set of questions. Select the ‘pencil‘ icon to edit existing polls.

Return to your Zoom meeting and your polls will be available in the Polling window. Click Launch Poll to make the questions available to participants.

You can monitor responses as they are submitted and how long the polls has been active using the timer at the top of the window. Click End Poll at the bottom of the window to close the poll.

Once the poll has ended, close the window or click Share Results to make submitted responses visible to participants.

You can also Re-launch a poll from this window or click Download to access the results from your Zoom account.


Did this answer your query? If not, you can raise a ticket on the online Helpdesk or email: . Alternatively you can also request a particular guide or highlight an error in this guide using our guides request tracker.

Produced by the the Technology Enhanced Learning Team at Queen Mary University of London.

Return to top