Webinar Basics

Your target audience, method for sharing the event invitation, and objectives for participation will help you determine which online meeting format is best for your event. When in doubt, plan your event to be as restrictive as possible while still supporting necessary communication and exchange.

What is the difference between a Meeting and a Webinar?

Meetings are a collaborative event with all participants able to see everyone else in attendance, potentially turn on their video and audio, screen share, and participate in break out rooms.

Webinars are typically used for a more formal presentation with two kinds of participants: panelists and attendees. Attendees watch and listen to panelists and interact with panelists via Q&A, Chat, and by answering polling questions.

Feature comparison

Meetings vs Webinar Feature Comparison Table
Participant roles

Learn more about Meeting Roles.

Learn more about Webinar Roles.

Audio sharing
  • All participants can mute/unmute their own audio
  • Host can mute/request to unmute participants
  • The Host can set all participants to mute upon entry
  • Only the Host and panelists can mute/unmute their own audio
  • Attendees join in listen-only mode*
  • The Host can unmute one or more attendees
Video sharingAll participantsHosts and panelists
Screen sharing
CapacityUp to 100 with free license, up to 300 with a pro license, up to 500 upon special request. Up to 500 or 1000 participants, depending on the license.
Participants listVisible to all participantsVisible to host and panelist
Email remindersN/A If registration is enabled
ChatIn-meeting ChatWebinar chat
Meeting reactionsOnly raise hand
File transfer N/A
PollingPolling for meetingsPolling for webinars
LivestreamFacebook, YouTube, Workplace by FacebookFacebook, YouTube, Workplace by Facebook
RegistrationRegistration for meetingsRegistration for webinars
Closed captioning
Breakout roomsN/A 
Practice session N/A
Waiting room N/A
Require password to join

Types of Online Events

A Webinar is designed as an online event that has meeting panelists and meeting attendees. The panelists talk, share video and present to attendees, and attendees listen and watch. Attendees can neither speak nor share directly with other attendees or the panelists, but they may submit text-based questions that panelists may answer. A Webinar is most appropriate for formal presentations with an ability for participants to submit questions in real time. Example: UNM President Town Hall.

  • Internal Webinar — Webinars designed to convey information to a well-defined group within an organization can leverage authentication to allow for more relaxed attendee settings.
  • Public Webinar — Webinars advertised for public attendance with links on a website and/or through social media have more restrictive settings.
Please refer to the  Webinar Setting Quick Reference Guide for information on recommended Webinar settings for Zoom version 5.6.0 and higher.
With some attention to settings and extra vigilance on the part of the host, a Zoom meeting rather than a Webinar can provide a more collaborative, less formal experience. A meeting is appropriate only when:
  • it is appropriate for all participants to see everyone in attendance.  
  • participants may be asked to turn on their audio or video, and/or sscreen share.  
  • break out rooms may be used. 
Any UNM Zoom Licensed user can host a meeting with up to 300 participants. By request, a Large Meeting Add-on can be temporarily associated with your license to host up to 500 participants. Types of Large Meetings:
  • Internal Meeting Meetings where invitations are not shared publicly (e.g. only shared through an Outook Meeting Invitation) and requiring authentication and/or a carefully monitored waiting room can utilize relatively open settings with an expectation of reasonable behavior from all participants.  
  • Public MeetingMeetings where a link is publicly shared should use a carefully monitored waiting room, restrict or disable chat settings, and require that audio, video and screen sharing be enabled only on an individual basis by the meeting host or co-hosts. A "bouncer" strategy is also strongly recommended where trusted co-hosts carefully monitor participant behavior and rapidly eject participants not adhering to standards of appropriate behavior.
  • Please review the quick reference check list to secure your public meeting.

Zoom allows you to send video of your meeting to a live stream channel using common online tools such as YouTube, Facebook, or Workplace by Facebook. A live stream is the most restrictive format for meeting participants and is appropriate for large public events in which the majority of the participants do not need to speak or share content in the meeting. If you will be streaming to YouTube or other public sites, it is a good idea to turn off chat on the video. Examples: UNM Board of Regents' Meetings, distinguished lectures, public information Webinars.

For the most control over content that will be publicly shared, you may consider a pre-recorded event. While pre-recorded events lack the immediacy of live ones, the extra time allows you to edit and tighten your presentation, and also allows participants the opportunity to view the content at a time that works best for them.

The UNM Zoom Webinar Service

Request temporary access to a Shared Webinar Licenses UNM has a limited number of Zoom Webinar and Large Meeting licenses available as a shared resource. Since these licenses are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis, we strongly recommend making your request at least two to three weeks in advance of your event by submitting a  Shared License Reservation Request. Upon completion of the form, we will confirm availability two business and schedule training sessions to ensure that your event is a success. Please be aware that the shared license will only be associated with your account for a limited period of time just prior and subsequent to your event so that others may use leverage use of the shared license for their events.

Purchase a Dedicated Webinar License If  know you are going to host a series of Webinars, you can Purchase a Dedicated Webinar License that can be permanently associated with your account rather than using  one of shared licenses. This is particularly helpful if you plan on using “Registration” features and functionality to  leverage a Webinar as part of a networking or marketing strategy or perhaps even use a Webinar as part of a formal continuing education series.