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When the global pandemic led to stay-at-home orders and worldwide quarantines, businesses everywhere turned to Zoom to stay connected. There are two main ways to use the tool: a webinar or a meeting. So, what’s the difference?

What is a Zoom Meeting?

A meeting is the most common option for connecting via Zoom. You have likely chosen this route to video chat with family, friends, and even with your colleagues at work. 

The goal of a Zoom Meeting is to keep things interactive. Although only one person needs to be the host, everyone can participate and share their videos. It is ideal for small to large groups, and can be used for training sessions, interacting with customers, and even sales meetings. 

It is important to note that the entire list of attendees is visible to everyone on a Zoom Meeting.

The host and co-host have special privileges, including the ability to mute or request to unmute all participants. However, everyone else can choose to turn their audio on or off – unless the host turns off that feature.

Additional features include breakout rooms, which allow you to divide the participants into smaller teams to encourage further interaction. 

You can host up to 100 participants on a Zoom Meeting with a free license, but you can increase that number to 1,000 with a paid upgrade!

Zoom Webinar vs. Meeting

A Zoom Webinar is managed a bit differently than the meetings described above. This option is designed for larger events ranging from 100 to 10,000 participants, depending on the license. 

As you can imagine, having up to 10,000 people share their videos and audio could become a bit chaotic. Zoom Webinar remedies this issue by muting the audio and disallowing video sharing for all attendees.

Instead, only the host, co-host, and designated panelists may share! This option works best for large events, such as company-wide presentations or guest speakers. The difference here is that the focus is on what the panelists have to say, rather than creating a place for participants to discuss and collaborate. 

Participants can raise their hands to notify the host that they would like to speak or ask a question. If they choose to do so, the host can unmute their line and invite them to join their audio. 

Similarly, the list of viewers is only visible to the host and panelist. This can help protect the privacy of your clients if you are hosting a virtual customer event. 

The webinar tool is also built to help the host collect participant data, so you can set up a registration requirement where viewers provide their name and email address. You can use this data to send a follow-up email or a survey! Also, if you enable this option, you can send email reminders out before your event. 

Zoom Meetings and Webinars are both great ways to virtually connect, but their purpose is different. Zoom meetings work best for individuals or groups to interact and collaborate, whereas webinars provide a platform for public speakers and presenters to take the stage.