How Do You Use Zoom?
If you want to know how to use Zoom, we’re breaking down every in-meeting button and giving you a few tips and tricks… and, no, you don’t have to wear pants if you don’t feel like it!
Let’s Talk About Zoom
With online meetings, conferences, and classes becoming the new normal, Zoom has undoubtedly emerged as the most widely used platform in 2020. It’s packed with tons of useful features that make online video conferencing feel like a piece of cake.
Not all of us have embraced this video conference system as yet. But, because so many people are Googling “how do you use Zoom,” we’ve decided to provide you with a step by step introduction.
So, how do you use Zoom?
Read on, and in five minutes, you’ll be a pro, as we’ve got the ultimate beginner’s guide to using Zoom. And, in the spirit of OTL Guide Me at Home, where we focus on “virtual hand-holding” to offset the frustration of remote learning, we’re going to do our best to do the same here.
How Do You Use Zoom if You’re a Participant in a Meeting?
Before you dive right in and start inviting people to your awesome virtual gathering, our beginner’s guide begins with the participant’s side of the meeting.
Let’s say that you have enrolled yourself in an online webinar, and you find out that it’s via Zoom. How do you use Zoom to participate if you’ve never even pulled it up on your screen before?
One link is all you need
It may be easier than you think, as you will receive a link from the host’s side, along with instructions to open it when you want to join the meeting. The same applies if your classes are held online, and your teacher wants to use Zoom for this purpose.
Don’t worry about advance prep work, as the link is going to do the hard work for you. Once you open it, you will then be redirected to a Zoom webpage in your internet browser.
Scenario 1: You already have Zoom installed
The option to “Open Zoom Meetings” will launch the Zoom app on your device if you already have Zoom Meetings installed.
Scenario 2: You’re 100% brand new to Zoom – it’s not on your computer or mobile device
If you haven’t installed Zoom as yet, no worries. Once you click on that invite link, you’re invited to install the application before you join the actual meeting. Unlike Google Meet, Zoom requires its application installed if you want to attend a video conference. However, it’s not a complicated process. All you have to do is just follow the prompts, and you’re good to go.
If you haven’t previously installed Zoom or used it before, you can go to https://zoom.us and get yourself set up ahead of time. You don’t have to wait for someone to invite you to a meeting. If you coincide installation with your session, though, give yourself five to ten minutes to prepare, just to be safe.
Once You’re in the Meeting, How Do You Use Zoom?
You might have a few seconds of hesitation the first time you enter a Zoom meeting. But, no worries, we’ve got you covered.
Once you are in the meeting, you will see what your meeting host is showing you. It may be his/her own video feed, or any presentation or screen recording that he/she is sharing. You will also see some other options on the screen that you can use to make your experience more immersive.
How do you use the Zoom in-meeting features?
Let’s walk it through, step by step, starting from the left on the screenshot above.
- Mute/Unmute: Your first option is if you want to mute or unmute yourself. You may want to keep yourself silent just to avoid any disruption, or the meeting host can also do that for you.
- Stop Video/Share Video: Next comes the “Stop or Share video” button, which is for controlling if you want to share your video feed (your face!) with other participants or not.
- Participants: The Participants button will simply show you a list of people who are currently part of the session.
- Chat: If you click Chat, you’ll open a messenger where you can interact with other participants and host depending upon your host’s permissions.
- Share Screen: Click on “Share Screen” if you want to share your own presentation or pdf file, and it will show a list of possible options that you can share.
- Record: You can also record the session using the “Record” button, and Zoom will provide you a video file once the meeting ends.
- Reactions: Show your appreciation by giving a “thumbs up” in the Reactions area.
- Leave: If you’re feeling bored or you’re done with what you came for, tap “Leave,” and you are free!
No hassle. It’s as simple as that, and you can print out the cheat sheet and keep it in front of you. Ah, the beauty of remote learning and gatherings!
How Do You Use Zoom if You’re the Host?
Now, if you are a teacher or the party in-charge, and you want to conduct a meeting on Zoom, you will need to set up an official account on Zoom. That’s in addition to installing the Zoom Meetings application from https://www.zoom.us.
Once you have created a free account, you can organize your own meetings.
How to schedule a Zoom meeting
To schedule a meeting, open the Zoom meetings application. Click on “Schedule a meeting” to enter the time and details of your meet-up. A page like the one below will appear, which will show you different options from which to select.
The entire process is intuitive, so you don’t really need us to tell you how to fill out the form. Just pay attention to the advanced options, as they control whether you want anyone entering the “virtual door” before you.
How do you confirm and send invitations to your Zoom meeting?
All of your upcoming meetings will appear in the “Meetings” tab. From here, you can copy the invitation and quickly send it to your participants. There’s even a “Copy Invitation” button to speed up the process.
How do you use Zoom to conduct your meeting?
So far, so good, right? It’s all pretty straightforward. As long as you know what to look for, you can quickly navigate yourself through the new Zoom waters.
When it’s time for your meeting, all you have to do is click on the “Start” button. It’s in the same “Meetings” tab that you used to copy the invitation. Once you’re in your online conference room, you’ll see a similar bottom menu like the one that’s provided to you as an attendee.
However, you have a few additional options, as you’re large and in charge now!
Zoom host features
While the majority of the things for both Hosts and Participants remain the same, there are a few differences that give the host an upper hand.
- Annotate: There is an option to “Annotate” that appears when you are sharing your screen. This button allows you to draw and write on the screen while you explain things. This option is also available to participants, but only after you start sharing the screen.
- Security: The “Security” button helps to ensure that the host has control over the session. There are different options that the organizer can choose to customize the experience. For example, hosts can enable or disable annotation for participants and give the go-ahead for a chat (or not).
Zoom Tips, Tricks, and Suggestions
When we head to a face-to-face meeting, as we did in the pre-COVID 19 era, we tend to get dressed up, or at least look presentable. A back and forth dialogue comes naturally, and we already understand meeting etiquette.
But if you’re not used to online gatherings, you’ve got an entirely new learning curve. So, we’ve got a few things to consider when you use Zoom.
- The mute button is your Zoom best friend – Mute your microphone whenever you are not speaking. The mute option not only helps to keep out any distortion, but it’s easy to forget you have a hot mic when your dog is barking in the background or your washer and dryer make their presence known.
- Video slows things down – If you are one of many participants and you can be in the meeting with your video camera turned off, it’s a good idea to go dark. It’s actually a courtesy, as it reduces the load on all of the participants’ internet connections. And, again, it provides you an extra edge to interact with your surroundings. Besides, if you have your dirty laundry lying around behind you, you really would want to keep that camera off anyway, right?
- Let the host annotate – Resist the urge to annotate on the screen as a participant unless you’re asked to by the host. Otherwise, it just creates an extra distraction and a new headache for the host to remove it if it’s unnecessary. It can also disrupt the flow of the discussion
- Go old school and raise your hand – All participants have an option to raise their hands if they want to ask a question or simply add to the discussion. Please use this option. It makes the meeting more manageable than just unmuting yourself and interrupting. So, raise your hand. The host will know you want to share something. Then speak when you are invited.
- Put your best face forward – To put your best foot (or face!) forward, make sure at least the upper half of your body is well-groomed. Do a bit of experimenting with your phone or computer camera angles as well. Positioning the camera just a tad bit higher than your face tends to work best, along with having ample light.
Now, do you know how to use Zoom?
Hopefully, you can now say yes to that question. It’s always intimidating to try something new. But Zoom has been designed for simplicity. Once you know what your options are when you’re in a meeting, the fog is lifted. So be sure to print our little icon cheat sheet or save it to your computer. You probably only need it once, though, as you’re already on your way to being a Zoom pro.
Just one more: How do you use Zoom to make videos?
If you want to know about making videos using Zoom or anything about quality lecture-recording, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve already covered the topic in our Three Easy Ways to Make a Teach Video post. It’s particularly helpful for video-making beginners and all three methods are free, just like Zoom!