‘In-meeting’ chats

By | October 12, 2020

Enabling/disabling chat

A Zoom meeting host can allow participants to use, or prevent participants from using, the Zoom chat function during a meeting.  Once enabled, participants can click the ‘Chat’ icon at the bottom of the screen and select who they would like to address in the group.  The details below show how you can enable or disable in-meeting chat.

At the bottom of the Zoom screen, there is a toolbar – you may need to move your mouse to see it:

Zoom toolbar (Windows)

The third option from the left is ‘Security’.  Click this and a small popup menu will appear:

Security menu

There are multiple options – we are only concerned here with ‘Chat’ under ‘Allow participants to:’.  By default this option is tick, and so Chat is allowed.  However, the host of a meeting has further controls that they can apply.  Click Chat on the toolbar at the bottom of your screen (remember you may need to move the mouse to be able to see it) and a Chat panel or sidebar will open on the right hand side of the screen.  The upper portion of this will display any chats as they are created, but for this point, we are interested in the options in the small sub-panel at the bottom of the Chat panel.  There is a set of three dots […] on the right hand side of this – click the dots, and a small menu will be revealed:

Chat controls – in meeting options for the host

This menu has two main options:

Save Chat   Note that this option is only enabled (shows black) when some chat has been created.  It then allows a record of the chat to be saved to your local device.
Participant can chat with:   If necessary, you can specify the chat options allowed (or not), by ticking the appropriate choice:
  No one Participants cannot chat with anyone in the meeting
  Host only Participants can only message the host of the meeting but not other participants.
  Everyone publicly Participants can chat with everyone in the meeting but only publicly.
  Everyone publicly and privately Default option. In addition to chatting publicly, participants can also message other participants privately.

On the left of the subpanel, there is a box allowing entry of a Chat.  By default, the chat will be available to all participants, but note if the host changes the options (as above), then this may vary. A downward chevron at the end of ‘Everyone’ allows a drop down, listing all current participants, and allowing you to select someone to chat to. 

Chat options – selecting a contact

Uses of chat

A comment facility can be very useful in a meeting – if there is lively discussion, for instance, and a point is questioned, then a participant may need to check a fact on the Internet: it may not be appropriate to interrupt the discussion with something that has now been leapfrogged, but putting the fact in a chat can draw it to general attention.  Of course, a private chat to an individual may also be useful, e.g. to suggest meeting for a coffee after the meeting.