Role: Co-Host, Tech B, House Manager, Scribe

This post is part of a series intended to become a Mermaid’s Tavern Guide to Zoom Singing publication for folk arts organizations, feature artists, session singers, and online audiences for folk music. We welcome comments below.

A Zoom Co-Host fills the role of House Manager and Usher at a real-world event. You manage the “door” (waiting room), monitor the chat, support the Zoom Host in answering questions and pasting links into the chat, and support the MC as a scribe to keep track of singing order for session singers in a singaround. You are a silent partner whose job is to remain calm, keep everything running smoothly, and take some of the pressure off the MC and Zoom Host so they can keep the audience and the artists relaxed to enjoy the show.

What You Need

  • A computer or laptop (not a tablet or smartphone) running Windows or MacOS
  • Reliable internet access with high bandwidth: a wifi location close to your router is better, a wired Ethernet connection is best
  • The latest version update to the Zoom app so you can use all available features
  • The link to join the event
  • The name and contact information for the Zoom Starter and Zoom Host for the event

What You Do

Before You Join the Event

  1. Set up a notes app or shared document with cut-and-paste strings for the artist and sponsor websites and tip jars.
  2. For a singaround, set up a notepad or shared document to keep track of singing order for session singers. For different ways to do this, see Who Sings When.

To Start the Event

  1. Join the event about 30 minutes before the start time so the Zoom Starter or Zoom Host can make you a Zoom Co-Host.
  2. Check the waiting room for the MC and Feature Artists and let them in as quickly as possible to get started on tech check.
  3. Check the waiting room for early arrivals, but don’t let participants in during tech check. As needed, message them that tech check is in progress and you will “open the doors” shortly.
  4. Check in with the MC and agree when to open the doors and admit participants from the waiting room.
  5. For a singaround, participants will indicate as they arrive that they want to lead a song. Your job is to note this down as efficiently as possible while lots of people are arriving (see Who Sings When). The MC and Zoom Host should NOT help with this, as they are busy greeting arrivals and muting/spotlighting to start the event.
  6. Keep your mic on mute so you can focus on your job. Let the MC be the mouth, and refer on-mic questions to the Zoom Host.

During the Event

  1. Monitor the participant list and mute any participant who has unmuted themselves and forgotten to mute again.
  2. Monitor the chat and reply to participant questions and help requests.
  3. Work with the MC to provide any additional support needed to mobile device users, dial-in users, and visually impaired users who are unable to use chat. These participants must unmute to ask questions or request help. The MC may need a private chat with a solution to be announced on-mic.
  4. As you receive a cue from the MC, copy and paste the links to the artist websites and tip jars, and to the sponsor’s website as guided by the MC.
  5. For a singaround, if you have a shared document to track the roster, you can paste the link into the chat so participants can see the singing order. For details, see Who Sings When.
  6. If using breakout rooms, visit each breakout room at the beginning of the session just as you would drop in on workshops rooms at a real-world event. Check to see that everything is running smoothly, but don’t interrupt if all’s well.
  7. Respond as quickly as possible to help requests from breakout participants.

To End the Event

  1. Take your cue from the MC when to stop muting participants so they can applaud and talk among themselves.
  2. Take your cue from the MC and Zoom Host whether to stay on for a debrief after participants leave.
  3. Graciously accept thanks from the MC, but don’t make a speech. You are a silent partner and an excellent Co-host!