With the onset of COVID-19, Zoom and the likes of web conferencing have experienced 5X growth. Watch our Zoom Webinar session as we break down Zoom Web & Video Conference Tool, during our Freaky Fun Friday Webinar series.

Web conferencing has always been a valuable tool to companies with dispersed workforces or a dispersed client base, but the COVID-19 pandemic as taken that value to a whole new level. In fact, the use of web conferencing platforms has increased by 500% in recent weeks. Zoom, in particular, has gone from approximately 10 million registered users in late 2019 to 200 million today.

And, as you might expect with that type of dramatic increase in users, getting support from providers can be very difficult and time-consuming. It’s not uncommon to contact a company’s user support team and learn that there are hundreds of other users in the queue ahead of you. Consequently, it’s helpful to learn all you can about your web conferencing platform so you can, as much as possible, troubleshoot your own issues. Plus, the more you know the better the web conferencing experience will be for you and your colleagues or customers.

Zoom Basics

In the simplest terms, Zoom is a tool for sharing audio and video among a group of people. The system is easy to use, even for those who aren’t familiar with web conferencing technology. Zoom also allows you to share your screen so that in addition to seeing you, meeting attendees can see what you’re looking at on your computer. Plus, if you check the box for “Share computer sound,” your audience will hear any sound playing on your computer.

To allow for side conversations that don’t interrupt the person presenting, Zoom has a chat feature for sending messages. And for attendees who simply want to view a presentation without interjecting, the mute function silences their microphone.

Zoom meetings can also be recorded. This feature is a great way to get more “mileage” out of the information provided by the presenter or presenters, as the recording can be viewed by people who couldn’t attend the meeting.

Hosting Online Webinars

Many companies use Zoom to host webinars for their customers or potential customers. These webinars can include a registration page that makes these events more secure, as attendees must register before being admitted. You can then choose to manually approve registrants or have the system do that for you automatically.

Adding Interest or Professional Polish with Virtual Backgrounds

Zoom allows you to manipulate what meeting attendees see behind you. This feature makes it possible to give a professional appearance even if you are connecting with others from a not-so-professional space in your home. Both still images and videos can be used as backgrounds.

Of course, there’s also a fun factor to backgrounds if the meeting you’re holding has a more casual atmosphere! You can chat with attendees “from” anywhere in the world, or from outer space for that matter.

If allowed to by the meeting administrator, attendees can select a virtual background by clicking the arrow next to the video icon at the bottom of the Zoom window and then clicking “Choose Virtual Background.” Clicking the “+” sign allows you to upload photos or videos to use as your background.

Zoom Security Best Practices

As the use of Zoom has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, a term that many people have become familiar with is “Zoom Bombing.” This is when people who aren’t invited to a meeting join it and display images or video intended to shock or offend other attendees.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk that your meeting will have unwanted guests. These best practices include that you should:

● Keep your Zoom application patched and updated
● Avoid sharing Zoom meeting details on public forums
● Use randomly generated meeting IDs
● Password protect your meetings
● Use a meeting registration system
● Use a waiting room that keeps attendees from joining until you admit them
● Restrict the capabilities of meeting attendees, such as preventing them from sharing their screen
● Lock meetings once they are underway

Zoom Tips & Tricks

Zoom comes with a number of features you can use to improve your meetings. For example, the system can integrate with other applications in order to share data. Zoom can also display the names of participants to make it easier for people to interact. There’s even a “Touch up my appearance” option that can soften your features or hide blemishes, giving you more confidence as you participate in a meeting!

Virtual Meeting Etiquette

Whether you use Zoom or another platform, it’s important to be aware of virtual meeting etiquette. Some of these tips include:

● As a meeting host, be sure to introduce yourself and attendees if the size of the meeting allows for that.
● Dress appropriately for your audience.
● Consider your surroundings if you aren’t using a virtual background. Your messy bedroom is not a good backdrop.
● Speak loudly and clearly so people can understand you.
● Mute your microphone if you won’t be speaking.
● Avoid eating during meetings.
● Focus on what’s being presented and don’t use other devices, walk away from your computer, etc., during the session.

Especially with all the people who’ve learned about web conferencing as a result of the pandemic, it’s a communication medium whose use will only expand going forward. Zoom will likely stay at the forefront of this movement, so knowing how to use it effectively will continue to be an important skill!

If you’ve enjoyed our Zoom Web Conference Video & Blog Post and you’d like to join us for our live Freaky Fun Friday webinars, RSVP at Freaky Fun Friday with Technology. You’ll get to interact with us during our Fireside Chat Sessions.