As confusing and stressful as learning a new interface can be, I’m thankful for the opportunity to make the best out of crazy circumstances. As a business owner whose company is both virtual and in-person, learning the ins and outs of online video platforms is my specialty. And that’s why I’m excited to share some of my tips for using Zoom, one of the top video platforms (especially right now!) with you.

In the time of social distancing and virtual businesses, video services are very important. They amp up engagement, help with meetings, and allow for different ways to contact clients (when physical isn’t possible). Whether you or your company is using Zoom for the first time, or you’re interested in diving a little deeper, here are some tips:

1. Sign up for an account if you haven’t already

Zoom is a free service. It’s also accessible through links, which means you don’t actually need an account (but it’s helpful if you do). If you’re a host and you want to create meeting, you’ll copy the URL to send to the user. The user will receive a link that directs him/her to the page with one click.

You have to have an account to be a host. It also helps to have an account as a user, too, so that the app will open automatically.

2. Test computer video and audio before connecting

Before you jump on a call, it’s a good idea to test your computer or phone video/audio. When you open a link or (as a host) send an invitation, you’ll be prompted to ‘Test’ your video and audio. This is as simple as clicking each and waiting for audible tones, and then speaking into the microphone to hear your echoed response.

As a meeting host, ensuring you have proper video and audio will make you appear more professional.

3. Mute participants at the start

Another one of the most important tips for using Zoom, in my opinion, is to mute meeting attendees at the start. There’s an option on the user interface when scheduling meetings (click on the ‘Schedule A Meeting’ button on the top left part of your browser when you’re logged in) and scroll down. Towards the bottom, you’ll see the option to ‘mute participants upon entry’ which makes sure that your attendees aren’t all making noise at the start of the meeting.

You can choose to unmute each of them one by one as you start the meeting or class.

4. Schedule your reoccurring meetings (and send invite links)

Hosting live meetings is great! (You can choose this option by selecting ‘Host A Meeting’ in the top left corner of your account page. You also have the option to ‘Schedule A Meeting.’

Under the scheduling option, you’ll see a clickable section for ‘Reoccurring Meeting’ that allows you to select daily, weekly, etc., as well as specify what days and times your meetings will occur.

5. Enable waiting rooms to prepare your members if you’re running late

At the bottom of your scheduling screen, you’ll see the option for ‘Enable waiting rooms.’ If this is selected, your attendees will see a ‘waiting room’ page until you start the meeting, select ‘Manage Participants,’ and let each member in.

This is a great way to make sure you’re fully ready before beginning. It also ensures your attendees won’t panic and leave the meeting because you aren’t already there (which inevitably wastes precious meeting time).

6. Use the ‘Screen Share’ feature to allow your attendees to navigate with you

One of the best tips for using Zoom involves the ‘Screen Share’ option on the bottom of the call screen. The Screen Share is a way for you, as a host (or attendee!), to hare what’s going on in front of you.

Whether you’re looking at an email or project, website or something else, the Screen Share allows everyone to view each other’s screens and troubleshoot or address different areas of a meeting more effectively.

For other tips on using Zoom or video services, click here or leave a comment below!

PS: Here’s a Tutorial Video For Navigating Zoom:

Featured Image Credit: Afif Kusuma

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