Before the Coronavirus pandemic and the sharp rise in employees now working from home, many of us had never even heard of Zoom – a few months on, however, it’s now a staple of the working week for millions of home workers across the globe.
Zoom is, of course, a complete contrast to what many are used to whilst holding and attending office meetings, and may have come with areas of confusion for some. As millions of us begin to get to grips with home working, what can we do to ensure that our Zoom meetings are as successful as the traditional face-to-face meetings we’ve always been used to?
6 essential steps will help you to sure that your home Zoom meetings are successful:
- Have the latest version of zoom installed and keep it up to date
- Get familiar with different options such as waiting room and schedule meetings.
- Test your equipment before the meeting begins (microphone, webcam)
- Have all necessary documents for the meeting at hand
- Choose a suitable location and lighting for your meeting
Getting Zoom Set-Up
If you haven’t already but think you may have to begin attending meetings on Zoom, then you should be sure that you have the Zoom app downloaded to your primary work station – whether that be your computer, tablet or mobile phone. It’s easy to download Zoom via their website (directly from Zoom at https://zoom.us) for your computer or laptop, where they have a version available for desktop use, as well as several browsers and email plug-ins
It’s also available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store – all initial Zoom downloads are free, and it’s easy to make an account in less than a few minutes.
Recently Zoom experienced some setbacks because of security issues. Others were able to hack their way into Zoom meetings, known as zoom-bombing. As Zoom announced, these issues were addressed, and they promised that these security concerns are now solved. But it is crucial to always have the latest update on your device.
Keep in mind, however, that you may find that the features vary depending on both the platform you’re using and the version of the app that your tablet, computer or mobile phone is compatible with.
Holding a Meeting With Zoom
If you are the meeting host, then there are a few things you should note, and steps you should take before you begin.
You may wish to schedule your meeting ahead of time, giving your team plenty of notice and time to prepare. You can do this by selecting the ‘schedule’ option when you open the Zoom app on your chosen platform.
First, edit the meeting name – this isn’t compulsory, but is certainly a professional touch. The default meeting name will be ‘(Your name)’s Zoom Meeting’, so it may help to alter this depending on the subject of your meeting – especially if you are scheduling multiple meetings at once.
This is also where you will be able to choose the date and time of your meeting. There is an added tickbox that allows you to set this meeting to be a recurring meeting, which is certainly useful if your meeting is a weekly briefing, progress update, etc., as it saves you from having to schedule the meeting all over again before the next one.
After this, Zoom will give you the option to either generate an automatic meeting ID and password or to set your personal meeting ID and password. If you are scheduling multiple meetings at once, especially if these are with different participants each time, then an automatic ID and password should suffice – but be sure to note each one down.
There is also an ‘Advanced Options’ section, which you can use to add further settings to your meeting. These are:
- Enable waiting room. This setting allows you to view which participants are present before allowing them into the meeting itself.
- Enable join before the host. This setting allows you to decide whether or not participants with the meeting details can join the meeting without you present.
- Mute participants upon entry. This setting allows the host to be the only one who can be heard at the beginning of the meeting. You can change this setting once the meeting has begun.
- Automatically record meeting on local computer. Enable this setting if you would like to save a video of the meeting to refer back to on your computer.
After you have scheduled the meeting, you are given your meeting ID and password to send out to your team, and the meeting will appear on your dashboard. You are able to edit your settings at any time before the meeting.
One thing to note if you are planning to host multiple Zoom meetings with your team is that there is a 40-minute time limit on meetings for anyone without a Zoom subscription. However, a Zoom subscription starts at $14.99/£11.99 per month and only the host needs to be subscribed to access longer meetings, as well as a variety of other features.
Attending Zoom meetings
If you are a team member who will be attending Zoom meetings and maybe attending multiple meetings, it’s a good idea to keep a record of when your meetings are, what the meeting ID and password are, and what the topic of the meeting is. It is, of course, up to you whether you keep this digitally or write it down in a manual organizer, but it’s an important thing to keep a note of.
As for preparing for your meetings, be sure that you are in a suitable environment. Make sure that the lighting is not too bright or too dark, and that you are in an area where you are free from distractions and are unlikely to be disturbed. (see the article: ZOOM OFFICE BACKGROUND – SHOULD YOU USE IT?)
Also, make sure you have all your equipment ready before you start and that everything is working properly – for instance, check your microphone, webcam, etc. before you are due to join your meeting. You can test these by accessing the ‘settings’ section of your Zoom app on your computer.
When you enter a Zoom meeting, it might be that your microphone is automatically muted by the host. You can easily unmute yourself by clicking on the microphone symbol in the lower-left corner of your screen.
Finally, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with Zoom on your chosen platform before you begin – it’s quite different to other popular video conferencing apps, with many different features and settings that it’s helpful to get an idea of before you try to use it in a professional context.
Zoom, overall, is a brilliant platform for video conferencing, but it’s certainly helpful to follow these steps to ensure you get the most out of your meetings, at a time when they’re a little different from what you’re used to. If you have any other issues, or troubleshooting queries, be sure to check the Support Center section of the Zoom website.