How to Use Zoom Like a Boss
On any typical week of days gone by, I could expect a smattering of meetings throughout my 9 to 5s. There was the weekly Monday morning recap as a team, bagels and fruit included (insert nostalgic sigh here), then a regular Tuesday and Thursday internal meeting in the conference room with all hands on deck. These weekly pow-wows would be joined by a handful of client meetings sprinkled here and there both in and out of the office.
Not so much anymore, eh?
Social distancing requirements have thrown us all a curveball when it comes to client meetings (among other things). Without so much as a warning, we’ve fallen headfirst into the land of video conferences. The most popular one out there, Zoom, recently reported user growth expanding from 200 million to 300 million in mere days. DAYS! It’s the clear choice for people working, studying or catching up with friends and family while in social isolation and quarantine lockdown.
If you haven’t jumped on the Zoom bandwagon, what are you waiting for?
Here are 9 tips and tricks to elevate your Zoom game from mediocre to mastermind.
Make an entrance
Before you join a meeting, take a peek at the video Zoom initially displays before you select to connect audio and video. Are you a floating head? Will people be looking up your nose? Is it a really nice shot of your shoulder? Use this moment to position your camera appropriately. Alternatively, you can choose to mute your audio and video every time you enter a meeting by default in the audio and video settings.
Set the mood
Don’t be embarrassed by the pile of unfolded laundry behind you. Instead, transport yourself to a beach or outer space! Choose Virtual Background from your settings and select or upload an image. Note: having a green screen helps, but a blank wall can do the trick.
Barking dog? Quarreling siblings? Chatty spouse? When you aren’t the one talking, hit the Mute Button in the lower left-hand corner of the screen (microphone symbol) or your spacebar because we all know that kids say the darndest things at the most inopportune times.
Choose your view
See only the person speaking or go full-on Brady Bunch in Gallery View. This view lets you see everyone in the meeting whether they are talking or not. Turn it on by clicking Gallery View in the top right corner of your screen. Depending on the number of attendees, you’ll be able to see all of them on one screen or you’ll need to scroll between multiple pages.
Fix your name
If you’re on a work computer like I am, your name may appear however the computer was named (Hi, I’m Warp + Weft 7), or your name may appear as the person who registered the Zoom account even if you set the meeting up. (Why are there three Aimee Goodwins on this call?) Hover over the name that appears on your video and select Rename to change it.
Want to ask a question but don’t want to interrupt the flow? Have something to tell one person in the meeting but not the others? At the bottom of the screen there is a toolbar that pops up. Select Chat (with the dialogue bubble) to open up a chat box. Where it says “To:” be sure to select the recipient you want to have a private conversation with or “everyone” to send it out to all.
Best face forward
Not so bright eyed and bushy tailed? Add a little oomph to your overall by turning on the beauty filter. In the bottom toolbar, hit the carrot next to the Stop Video icon with the camera. Select video settings and put a checkmark on Touch up my Appearance. You won’t be as over the top as a SnapChat filter but it’ll take the edge off.
If the host has muted you or if you don’t want to verbally interject your approval, use emojis to get the job done. In the lower toolbar and the bottom of your screen you’ll see a happy face with a plus sign that says Reactions. Click on that button and select either clapping hands or a thumbs up. Everyone in the meeting will be able to see the emoji and it disappears after about five seconds.
Sharing is Caring
Get everyone on the same page by sharing your screen. This feature lets everyone on the call see a particular person’s desktop or screen (you can select from the multiple things you have open). Go to that lower toolbar and click the up arrow in the green box that says Share Screen and choose what you want to share with the group.
Virtual happy hours or in-depth internal meetings, knowing the ins and outs of Zoom video conferencing will help you excel as you navigate the new (virtual) world order. Happy #WFH social distancing.