Video conferencing was not ever so crucial for our professional and personal lives. Offices are shut. Travel is limited. Employers are trying hard to set up virtual arrangements for employees so that they work from home. It was not expected that the spread of COVID-19 would have this kind of impact on our daily lives. With the spread of the outbreak of COVID-19, people are counting more and more on their household internet connections.
Countless employees are trying to self-learn the means available for teleconferencing. Initially, skype was used to communicate remotely but now, a video communications platform called Zoom is becoming popular. It is easier and lightweight than skype and without the same spam problems.
Simplicity is one of Zoom’s major strengths, yet it has some of the most advanced features that help increase the productivity of remote workers.
Zoom is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. The layout differs a bit depending on whether you are using it on desktop or mobile. Four plans are available. The most famous is the free tier, which you can use to hold virtual meetings of up to 100 participants, 1-on-1 meetings without any time limit are also possible, and meetings with numerous participants can be held for up to 40 minutes. When your time is over, a meeting can simply be restarted.
To start using Zoom, you have a choice to either download the app or start using it from the browser directly. Sign up and zoom will seek permission to send resources such as product videos and how-to guides. You can click “confirm” or “Set Preferences;” regarding receiving emails. A confirmation email will be sent to you, which you have to open and click “Activate Account” and then create an account.
Scheduling And Hosting A Meeting
The home screen you show if there are any scheduled meetings in your diary. You can click “schedule a new meeting” and a new screen will appear, in which you can schedule a new meeting. There is a “recurring meeting” checkbox under the timezone tab which can be used if the meeting needs to be repeated. It also allows you to decide whether the meeting has to be repeated daily, weekly, or monthly.
The Meeting Is Set, But How Do You Invite Others?
You have to do it manually. You can either do this through calendar invites or your email account. Links to Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar, and Yahoo Calendar are presented if you want to invite others through a calendar. Otherwise, there is an option to “copy this invitation” next to the “join URL” link on this screen. You can copy all the information required for the meeting, including the URL to your clipboard, and email the details. The participants just require the meeting URL, date and time, and a password if applicable.
Advanced Tips And Tricks
More experienced users might want to use more than basic features and Zoom has a range of settings and features for such usage.
If you are using the desktop application, you can go to “Settings” and select “In Meeting: Advanced,” to find the following features:
- Breakout room: you can divide meeting participants into separate and small rooms. You can also do this before a meeting starts to avoid logistics problems
- Remote support: allows you to offer 1:1 support to a participant
- Camera control: you can let a participant handle the remote control of your camera
- Show a “Join from your browser” link: a workaround for users that can’t download Zoom software
- Invitation languages: It supports many languages for meeting invitations, including English, Spanish, French, and Russian.
- Virtual backgrounds: enabling/disabling
- Waiting room: This feature lets you keep participants in a ‘waiting area’ until you are ready for them. It is mainly useful for remote interviews or office hours.
Take a Pro, Business, or Enterprise plan to benefit from the webinars option. You can set up webinars and broadcast to up to 10,000 view-only attendees at a time. You can also share screens, video, and audio. You can also host chat sessions between attendees and panelists. You have the option to run a webinar on either a pre-registration or open basis.
The “whiteboard” option is under the “Share Screen” tab. You can use it if you are writing ideas or asking for feedback. It offers different annotation options, including text boxes, arrows, and more. If you want to bring the attention of the user to a particular area or point, you can use the “spotlight” – a form of highlighter.
What About Zoom Gatecrashers?
Any popular software is also vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Scammers can jump into unprotected meetings and post malicious links, the term for which is “Zoom-bombing.” To prevent this, Zoom has published a guide on how to prevent gatecrashers from disturbing your meetings, including the following tips:
- Don’t share your meeting links on social media
- Never use your Personal Meeting ID (PMI) to hold public events. As an alternative, create a random ID.
- Select “only host” for screen sharing control throughout a meeting
- Only permit signed-in users to join a meeting
- Use the “lock” feature to avoid random users from joining a meeting.
- If you are gatecrashed, go to the Participants menu and use a “remove” option over the user’s name to remove the user.