Tips on how to effectively use Zoom for meetings….

Pandemic or not, video conferencing software has become a key tool in work and personal communication in these days of the hybrid workplace.

Although it is easy to get up and running with Zoom, you may not be aware of some of its best, most useful features because they are buried in advanced setting menus.

Here’s what you need to know to get the most out of the service, even if you’re using only the free, basic version.

Automatically schedule meetings:

Image ref: Zoom Support

If you run a lot of meetings but don’t have an assistant, you might want to connect your scheduling app, Zoom, and your calendar. If you like it the traditional way, you open the zoom app, schedule your meeting and then share a link to the scheduled meeting with the participants ahead of time. So many third-party apps can help you schedule a meeting if you don’t want to log into zoom. For example, appointment scheduling apps like Zapier can automatically create a new Zoom meeting and add it to whatever app you use for your personal calendar.

Create recurring meetings with saved settings and one URL:

Image ref: Zoom Support

For weekly meetings, monthly check-ins, and other regularly-scheduled calls, Zoom lets you create a recurring meeting. This allows you to lock in all the call settings you want once and have them be in place every time you meet. Second, recurring calls use the same join URL each time, so you never have to send a fresh one to attendees.

Furthermore, if you meet with the same group regularly but not on a regular schedule, you can choose an option called “No Fixed Time”, which lets you use the same settings and meeting ID over and over with the same group, no matter when you get together. This option is popular with educational groups who use Zoom as their virtual classroom.

See who attended and collect their details:

Image ref: Zoom support

If you’re using Zoom to hold a mandatory event, like a university lecture or a safety training session, you probably want to know who attends. The attendee list for all meetings resides in the Zoom Account Management > Reports section. Look for Usage Reports, and then click Meeting to find the meeting you want, select the report type and date range, and generate the report.

Requirements: To generate an attendee list, you need to be 1) the host of the meeting, 2) in a role with Usage Reports enabled, or 3) an account administrator or owner. You also need a Pro, API Partner, Business, or Education plan.

If you’re using Zoom to run a digital event like a webinar, you might want to let attendees register via a form on your website or an event management app. Automation is a great way to make sure that everyone who signs up for your webinar is then registered in Zoom.

Have a collaborative annotation session:

Image ref: Zoom Support

Screen sharing allows the host of a call to display whatever’s on their screen to everyone else on the call. Annotation tools let all the meeting participants draw and highlight what’s on screen, which can be immensely helpful when discussing visual materials, such as mockups, graphic designs, and so forth.

To annotate while viewing someone else’s shared screen, select View Option from the top of the Zoom window, and then choose Annotate. A toolbar appears with all your options for annotating, including text, draw, arrow, and so forth. The presenter can use the save button on the toolbar to capture the complete image with annotations as a screenshot. You can also disable attendee annotation altogether.

Here are some essential keyboard shortcuts:

I is for invite. Press Cmd+I (macOS) or Alt+I (Windows) to jump to the Invite window, where you can grab the link to the meeting or send invitations to others via email.

M is for mute. Press Cmd+Ctrl+M (macOS) or Alt+M (Windows) when you are the meeting host and want to mute everyone else on the line.

S is for share. Press Cmd+Shift+S (macOS) or Alt+Shift+S (Windows) to share your screen.

Beautify (or hide) your face:

Image ref: Zoom Support

If you’ve just rolled out of bed and right into a company meeting, check the Touch up my appearance box in Zoom’s video settings menu. It basically functions like a soft-focus lens, adding a slight blur to skin tones and smoothing out wrinkles, blemishes, and other little imperfections.

Here’s a dirty little trick: If you’d prefer not to be seen at all (and you’re not planning to speak in the meeting you’re attending) you can use a screenshot of yourself in a Zoom meeting as your profile picture. That way, you’ll always look perfect—and look like you’re paying attention.

These are other important tips many fail at doing;

It’s a good idea to set Zoom to disable your camera and mic by default when joining meetings and to enable the option to always see a video preview before you join. 

Mute when you’re not the one speaking.

Face the direction of the light, be it you’re the light coming from your window or the one above. You can buy a ring light to improve the look of your environment.

Place your device on a pile of books or a tripod (if it’s a smartphone) and see yourself centralized and at eye level with your camera.

Just as you want to look professional at an in-person meeting, you want to look the same in a virtual meeting.

Do you have any question or comment? Do share with us in the comment section.

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