Know nothing about Zoom meetings? Don't worry; we've got you covered.
If this is your first attempt dealing with videoconferencing tools like Zoom, this article has what you need from the definition of a Zoom meeting and how to create one to the latest features you can use in Zoom meetings. So, let's dive in.
What is a Zoom meeting?
A Zoom meeting is a meeting you conduct on a video and audio communication platform called Zoom. The platform is cloud-based and helps you set up virtual video and audio meetings and webinars. It's compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS.
What makes Zoom stand out is its lightweight desktop app and user-friendly interface with numerous popular features.
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How to join a Zoom meeting for the first time?
If someone asks you to join a Zoom meeting, there's nothing to be done on your side, except for asking this person for an invite link. The conversation might go something like this:
Person A: Let's schedule a Zoom meeting.
Person B: Alright, I'll wait for your invite link.
So, can you join a Zoom meeting without signing up? Yes, you can, if you're joining as meeting attendee. The person who called for the meeting can send you the invite link over any communication tool, like WhatsApp, Slack, or FB messenger. Or they can send it via an email. The invite link looks like this: https://us05web.zoom.us/j/81973551406?pwd=TmF4cXdWTWV3WVhFaHRRc0V6UTY5QT89
You can easily join the meeting even if you don't have a Zoom account. Just click the link. If you're opening it on your laptop or mobile, the link will direct you to install the Zoom app. Do so, and then click the link again. You'll be asked to enter the name you want to appear to other meeting participants. Then, you'll either directly enter the meeting room or you'll be asked to wait until the host permits you to enter the room. And voila, you're in!
How to create an account on Zoom?
To invite someone to a Zoom meeting, you should start by creating an account. You can do so either through your favorite browser or by downloading Zoom app. Here is how you can do it in detailed steps using your favorite browser.
1. Open your browser and type Zoom. Zoom's website will appear as the first result. Click on it.
2. Click "SIGN UP, IT'S FREE" in the upper right part of the website.
3. You'll be asked to enter your birth date and then your email address. At this point, you can create a Zoom account using either your email address or SSO, Apple, Google, or Facebook to create an account (you'll be asked to use your SSO, Apple, Google, or Facebook's credentials to complete this step).
4. Next, you will receive an email from email@example.com. Click "Activate Account," which you'll find in the email.
5. Sign into your Zoom account using your favorite browser at any time, at zoom.us/signin.
Next step, personalize your account.
How to personalize your account on Zoom?
It's best if you'll use Zoom to conduct business meetings that you personalize the account. Make sure you edit the following on your account.
- First name and last name
- Display name (this is the name that appears on your profile across the Zoom platform, such as your profile card and in meetings and webinars)
- Pronouns (you can enter your pronouns and choose whether you want to share them in meetings and webinars)
- Your job title
- The name of the company you're working at or own
- Your location
So, how can you edit personal information on Zoom account?
1. Once you're signed in, you can find click on Profile in the menu called Personal on the left side. Or you can simply use this link https://zoom.us/profile to access your profile.
2. Beside your name (written in a large font) on your right side, you'll find "Edit"; click on it and you'll have access to edit all of the previously mentioned information.
How to schedule a meeting on Zoom?
So, before hosting a Zoom meeting, there are two important tasks you need to do: (1) prepare your list of invitees; (2) prepare your agenda. These two will help you hold perfect meetings that serve their purpose.
To schedule a meeting on Zoom's website, follow these steps:
1. Sign into your Zoom account.
2. Click on "Schedule" on the vertical list on the upper right-hand side corner on the page.
3. Then, you will have several boxes to fill to schedule your meeting according to your preferences:
(A) Topic: Enter a topic or name for your meeting.
(B) Date & Time: When selecting a date and time, keep in mind that Zoom will use your current time zone, but you can always change that (click the drop-down menu to select a different time zone).
You can also start your meeting at any time before the scheduled time. This is useful if you want to test anything in the meeting room before the invitees enter.
(C) Passcode: Each meeting has a passcode. You can either use the automatically generated one or create one yourself. The meeting participants will either use this passcode or the invite link to join your scheduled meeting.
4. Click "Save." In the next page, you can add your meeting to Google, Outlook, or Yahoo Calendar. You can copy the invitation link. And you can edit any info.
How to invite participants to your scheduled Zoom meeting?
You do so manually. You can invite participants either before or during the meeting.
Before the meeting:
You can invite the participants by simply copying the invite link and sending it over your preferred communication tool: WhatsApp, Slack, Facebook Messenger, etc.
Or click on "Copy Invitation," which you will find right beside the invite link. Another window will open with the meeting invitation text. Click "Copy Meeting Invitation." You can copy the invitation and send it out through email or elsewhere.
During the meeting:
Click on "more," and choose "participants" and then "invite." Or follow these shortcuts: (1) Alt + U; (2) Alt + I.
A window will open and ask you to choose an email provider. Once you choose your preferred email provider, a "Compose Email" window with the invitation to the meeting is opened, and it has the subject "Please join Zoom meeting in progress." You can then add the email of the participant to send them the invitation.
What are the roles in a Zoom meeting?
In a face-to-face meeting, there is the person who called for the meeting, and there might be other people who present content in the meeting or are designated to taking meeting notes. Just like face-to-face meetings, similar roles are available in Zoom meetings.
First, you should know that the role that anyone has in a Zoom meeting is designated by the host. So, what is a host?
A host is the user who scheduled the meeting. They have full permissions to manage the meeting. There can only be one host of a meeting.
So, what are other roles that the host of the Zoom meeting can designate?
There are the co-hosts, who share most of the controls that hosts have. They are assigned during the meeting, not before it. The co-host can manage the administrative side of the meeting, such as managing attendees.
However, you need to know that co-hosts cannot start a meeting. So, if the host needs someone else to start the meeting, they can assign an alternative host. Alternative hosts share the same controls as co-hosts, but can also start the meeting. Opposite to assigning co-hosts only during the meeting, hosts can assign alternative hosts when they schedule a meeting.
How do I increase Zoom privacy?
Everything virtual comes with this concern: privacy. And Zoom is no exception. In fact, there is a term that describes uninvited participants showing up; it's Zoom bombing. Zoom has several privacy settings that can help you avoid Zoom bombing.
1. Lock your meeting
You can lock your meeting once all the people who've sent out invitations to join the meeting. By locking the meeting, no new attendees can join even if they have the meeting password or invite link.
When you're in the meeting, use the shortcut Alt + U. A small window will open on the right-hand side of the screen and you should see your meeting participants listed. In the bottom right-hand corner, click on the three dots and select Lock Meeting.
2. The waiting room
There is this great feature in Zoom called the waiting room. It allows you as the meeting host to decide when participants can enter the meeting. You can admit attendees one at a time or all at once. To enable this feature when you schedule a meeting, click on "Advanced Options," and check the box next to "Enable Waiting Room."
You can also enable this feature during the meeting if you decided to do so. When you're in the meeting, use the shortcut Alt + U. A small window will open on the right-hand side of the screen and you should see your meeting participants listed. In the bottom right-hand corner, click on the three dots and select Enable Waiting Room.
3. You can stop participants from sharing their screen
To be in total control of what content is shared during the meeting, you as the host of the meeting can be the only participant who shares content. At the bottom of the Zoom meeting window, click the up arrow next to Share Screen, and then click Advanced sharing options. Under "Who can share?" select "Host only."
4. The meeting password
Make use of the meeting password to boost extra security. When you schedule a new meeting, at the Passcode line, click the checkbox next to Passcode. You'll notice that a small note is written below saying that "only users who have the invite link or passcode can join the meeting." You can either use the password that Zoom automatically generates or type in your own password. Participants will be asked to enter the password to join the meeting, and those who don't have it won't be able to join your meeting.
What are the common Zoom shortcuts?
Using Zoom shortcuts will help you navigate the application easily. Just make sure you use when Zoom is the active application. Here are few of the common Zoom shortcuts.
- Mute/unmute microphone
Mac: Command + Shift + A
- Turn camera on/off
Mac: Command + Shift + v
- Toggle chat on/off
Mac: Command + Shift + h
- Toggle participants list on/off
Mac: Command + u
- Raise/lower hand
Mac: Option + y
- Stop/start local recording
Mac: Command + Shift + r
What are the latest Zoom features?
Here are some of the latest Zoom features you need to try.
1. Immersive view
Zoom meeting tiles can be tiresome and can contribute to Zoom fatigue. The regular mode of Zoom videos is viewing participants in a grid or vertical column and the person speaking takes up the main screen. The "immersive view" feature arranges all the meeting participants into a single virtual background. You will feel like you're speaking to multiple people in the same place like face-to-face meetings.
How to enable immersive view in Zoom?
To enable immersive view, click on "view" on the upper-right corner of the Zoom desktop app.
Then, choose "Immersive." You'll find different backgrounds to choose from.
2. Blurred background
Blurred background is one of the most useful features, specifically for people working from home. We're not always ready to open our cameras; our background might not be tidy pleasant as we want them to be. However, some meetings necessitate video calls.
The blurred background feature gives you what you need: blurring what's behind you.
How to enable blurred background in Zoom?
You can do so either before or during a meeting.
Before your meeting, go to Settings > Background & Filters > Virtual Background > Blur.
During your meeting, in the bottom-left corner of the Zoom desktop app, click the up arrow button next to the Start Video button. Click Blur My Background.
3. Suppressing background noise
This is another great feature for people working from home. You can easily adjust your audio settings to suppress background noises in your audio feed.
How to enable suppressing background noise in Zoom?
To enable the feature, open the Zoom desktop app, and click the up arrow next to the “Mute” button.
Then, choose “Audio Settings” and go to “Audio." You'll find “Suppress background noise,” under which there are four options. Here is the detailed description of each option according to Zoom:
- Auto: This is the default setting and will apply moderate background noise reduction when needed. It will auto adjust the aggressiveness for blocking background noise based on what it detects in the background. If music is detected, it will not treat the music as background noise.
- Low: Noise reduction will be minimal. It will block low levels of persistent background noise.
Note. This setting is best for casually playing music, as it will preserve as much of the original sound as possible. For highest fidelity when playing music, consider using the Enable Original Audio setting in your advanced audio settings.
- Medium: Best for reducing and eliminating background noise in standard environments, including fans, pen tapping, etc.
- High: Noise reduction will be at its most aggressive, and eliminate noise such as crunching of paper or wrappers, keyboard typing, etc.
4. Live transcript
This feature is useful in today’s remote-working world. Companies are hiring a lot of off-shore employees and many won't have English as their first language. So, making your meetings more accessible is important.
Live transcription will allow the meeting participants to keep up with the discussion and contribute effectively. It will also help compensate for poor audio quality.
How to enable live transcript in Zoom?
At the bottom of the screen in the Zoom desktop app, click on the "Live Transcript" button. Then, click the "Enable Auto-Transcription."
To sum up, Zoom has brought their A-game to the virtual meetings' world. It is crowned as one of the most easiest and efficient video and audio communication platforms.
In this article, we've covered how to join a Zoom meeting for the first time, how to create a Zoom account and invite participants, and how to easily navigate the tool shortcuts. We've also touched on the latest Zoom features, which are incredibly useful to people working from home.
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