Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of people are adjusting to a new way of working: all-remote, all the time. One big challenge to remote work is the loss of in-person meetings to work through issues, brainstorm new ideas, or quickly get everyone up-to-speed on a project.
At Resound, much of our team works remotely already and we absolutely LOVE using Zoom for our team meetings, client meetings, and other conference calls. In light of this and the recent changes to so many others’ ways of working, we thought it might be helpful to share our own guidelines, tips, and tricks for using Zoom.
(And yes, these are affiliate links in this article. But really, we would be saying the same things about Zoom regardless. It’s a great video conferencing app.)
So what is Zoom?
Zoom is a nifty video conferencing app that allows you to host and/or attend any kind of meeting remotely.
What’s so cool about Zoom?
Zoom allows us to set up a Zoom Meeting for each team meeting or client conference call that invitees can join via any device (computer, tablet, or phone) using either the Zoom app, a browser or even just dialing in with their phone. Once they’ve joined the meeting they can see, hear, and talk with fellow attendees.
For each Zoom Meeting, there is a link (or URL) that can be used to join the video conference call as well as a phone number and meeting ID if an attendee prefers to connect only by audio phone.
As long as someone has a smartphone, computer, or tablet with an internet connection, (and of course the link to the meeting) they can easily join by video and contribute their thoughts and ideas.
What can you do in a Zoom Meeting?
Well, for starters you can hear everyone and be heard by everyone in the meeting. Plus, you can see those who’ve turned on their webcams (and turn yours on as well). This is one of the best features as it allows you to communicate both verbally and non-verbally, much like an in-person meeting.
Beyond all of this, you can also share your screen (super helpful when illustrating a point or delivering a presentation). There’s also a nifty chat feature so you can have side conversations or ask questions without interrupting whoever’s currently presenting.
For the meeting host, there are additional features like the ability to mute individual attendees (which is helpful when an attendee forgets to mute themselves while working from a busy coffee shop). As well, hosts can record the meeting, saving it for everyone (or just themselves) to review in the future. (We’ve found this feature SUPER helpful for creating training or onboarding videos – both for clients and staff. For instance: I record nearly every Zoom meeting I have with my admin assistant as I often demonstrate new processes and tasks. This way my admin can go back to the recorded version any time and review the new process.)
Okay, so that’s the basic gist of Zoom. Here are some further guidelines and tips & tricks for using Zoom:
Is there a cost to use Zoom?
For attendees, there is no cost! This means any client or team member that wants to participate in our meetings doesn’t have to pay anything to attend using Zoom.
For the meeting host, there can be a nominal, monthly fee, depending on the type of usage plan. The free plan comes with unlimited minutes per meeting for up to 2 people but caps it at 40 minutes per meeting for 3 or more people in the meeting. The paid plans are very reasonable and make it very easy to scale up or down depending on your organization’s needs.
How do I join a Zoom Meeting?
For each meeting or conference call, we create a new Zoom Meeting invite and send out the info to invitees via email and/or a calendar invite. Each meeting has its own invitation with all the necessary info for invitees to join and you can very easily copy and paste the info wherever you need to.
PRO TIP: if you use Google Calendar, you can install the Zoom browser extension for Chrome and create new Zoom Meetings directly from your Google Calendar! This has been a super time-saver for me many times over.
What kind of device can I use with Zoom?
Zoom Meetings can be joined with a computer, tablet, or phone.
Consider what type of device might be easiest for you to use considering the context of the meeting you’re joining. A computer or tablet may be easier if you’re going to be a desk or if you’re huddling with one or two others in-person on your end of the call. If you’re out and about or not at a place where you can easily set up a laptop, using your phone may be easier. And you have the option with your phone to join with the full video and audio features or just simply call in with a special phone # and connect via audio only.
Do I need to download the Zoom app on my device in order to join a Zoom Meeting?
No, you do not need to download the app to join a Zoom Meeting. Each meeting will have a special link (or URL) that you can use to connect to the meeting through your web browser (like Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, or Mozilla Firefox). This does work best on a computer or tablet, though. Joining with your phone is best done with the Zoom app or dialing in to the meeting directly.
So, should I download the Zoom app anyways?
You’ll get the best experience in Zoom if you download the app on your device of choice – either your computer, phone, or tablet.
- On a computer, use this link to download the Windows or Mac app: https://zoom.us/download#client_4meeting
- On an iOS or Android device, search for ‘Zoom’ in your app store.
Once you have the app installed on your device, when you’re ready to join the meeting, simply click (or tap) the link provided. This will open the Zoom app and immediately connect you to the call using the audio capabilities of your device.
Can I just call in to the Zoom Meeting using my phone?
You can also simply call in using the phone number provided (though by connecting only via a phone call you will not be able to see or be seen in the video part of the joint call).
How do I connect to a Zoom Meeting?
Once you have the app installed on your device when you’re ready to join the meeting simply click (or tap) the link provided. This will open the app and immediately connect you to the call using the audio capabilities of your device.
If it’s your first time using Zoom, I would encourage you to try to join a few minutes early so you can work through any technical issues you might encounter.
Zoom Meetings use video. Will my camera be on as soon as I join, and people will see me?
This one’s an important question as privacy really is important.
Once you’ve joined a meeting, the video functionality of your device will NOT be turned on immediately. You will need to click the selection on the screen provided for your camera to be turned on and allow everyone else to see you.
What if I want to mute myself so others don’t have to hear background noise?
You have the option to mute yourself so that others can’t hear you (and any other noise coming from your end of the call). If you have loud noises around you (maybe some kids are in the house as you work from home) I highly recommend using this feature to provide a great audio experience for everyone in the meeting. When you want to say something you can easily un-mute yourself using the app controls and then mute yourself again when you’re done.
PRO TIP: If you’re calling into the meeting directly through the phone number you can use *6 to mute and unmute yourself during the call.
Okay, so I can record my Zoom Meetings, yeah? What’s the point of that?
I mentioned this above already, but I thought it should get its own callout, because, honestly, recording Zoom Meetings is amazing. There are so many ways you can use this feature:
- Send out the recording afterward to attendees (both those that made it as well as those that couldn’t) so they can refer back for specifics in the conversation.
- Recordings can be used for training and onboarding sessions with new team members. They can view the recordings afterward on how to handle specific tasks or processes (rather than asking you a bunch of questions because they forgot how to do things).
- Use them to record yourself demoing a product or reviewing a new website or software or showing others specific issues in their work. Then send the recording to those that need to watch later and learn or fix the issues.
- Not my most optimistic tip but…recordings are also good CYA moments if you need to refer back to a particular verbal agreement or promise made during the meeting.
PRO TIP: most likely, your level of Zoom account will limit how many recordings you can keep at a time – just like mine. If you want to keep using and accessing your recordings into the future, it’s very easy to download them and then upload them to YouTube where you can host them pretty much forever (or as long as Google is still a thing…so yeah, forever). When you upload your video you can mark what kind of privacy you want to have for the video, whether it’s public on your YouTube channel, unlisted but accessible via a link, or totally private and only available to the other YouTube users you share it with. This is a great way to keep training and onboarding videos for future reference by staff, customers, or vendors and partners.
How private are my Zoom Meetings? Am I going to get ‘ZoomBombed’?
So there’s been this growing concern over the privacy of meetings hosted on Zoom. And that’s a legit concern, to some degree or another. There are definitely cases out there in the world of random people ‘bombing’ Zoom meetings by joining without being invited only to ‘troll’ or create havoc in the meeting – usually through a screen share or annotations with obscene language or visuals.
Honestly, this would be a total bummer on any meeting.
But there are some simple tools in Zoom – and some common sense – to help alleviate this issue:
- For every Zoom meeting you can set a password for your attendees to use to access the meeting. This is by far your best means of preventing someone uninvited from hijacking your meeting.
- You can also implement a ‘waiting room’ where attendees wait before being manually added to the meeting by the host. This gives you an opportunity to verify that it’s an invited attendee before they an access the meeting.
- Be careful where you share the link to your meeting. If you’re posting on social networks or other public websites just know that anyone who finds that link can access the meeting.
There’s a whole lot more info and tips on securing your Zoom calls here.
Wait, I can play Pictionary on Zoom?
Yep, you heard that right. You can play Pictionary over Zoom. But the really cool part is that there’s a whiteboard feature in Zoom. This means in any meeting you and your participants can all collaborate together, right there on the video call, with a nifty shared whiteboard. This tool is fantastic for brainstorming, working through complex issues, mind-mapping concepts,…or playing Pictionary. As a consummate user of whiteboards in my in-person meetings, this feature is awesome!
Wow! That was a lot more tips and guidelines than I thought we’d come up with! I really hope these are helpful. Let me know how your experience with Zoom goes and if there are any great tips you learn for getting the most out of your video conferencing. I’d love to include them here.
If you’d like to check out more useful tips and resources for your marketing and branding efforts, we’ve got you covered. We have quite a few Insights and Pro Tips on our blog as well as a whole host of other resources, like a marketing checklist, brand maturity assessment, and tons of videos and worksheets.