Video-conferencing apps like Zoom can do much more than just a face-to-face meeting. In fact, many companies are now using Zoom for business meetings, interviews, and other purposes.
This step-by-step guide will introduce you to Zoom and how to use it. At the end of this guide, you’ll learn how to set up and join a Zoom meeting. You’ll also know about Zoom’s most important features. Let’s get started.
Here’s what you’ll learn about in this guide:
What is Zoom?
Zoom is a product of the Zoom Video Communications Company. It’s a cloud-based video conferencing platform that facilitates online meetings, audio conferencing, webinars, meeting recordings, and live chat.
This web-based video conferencing tool is available in local, desktop client and
a mobile app, helping businesses or individuals hold meetings and large online events.
Zoom offers all its features across Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, iPadOS, Android, Blackberry, and Zoom Rooms.
Zoom Pricing Plans
Before you can start with Zoom, you need to sign up for an account. Zoom offers four different pricing tiers that cover both personal and business needs. Let’s check them out.
- Zoom Free: Perfect for personal meetings and short group meetings. With the free plan of Zoom, users can hold an unlimited number of meetings, but group meetings with multiple participants can only be 40 minutes long at most.
- Zoom Pro: Great for small teams. You can create personal meeting IDs for recurring Zoom meetings, record meetings in the cloud or on users’ devices. This tier costs $14.99/month/host with a meeting duration limit of 24 hours.
- Zoom Business: Good for small to medium-sized businesses. This tier offers dedicated phone support, customized URL, company branding (for apps, invitations, and in meetings), and transcripts of Zoom meetings recorded in the cloud. This plan costs $19.99/month/host with a minimum of 10 hosts. The starting price of the Enterprise tiers is $199/month.
- Zoom Enterprise: Best-suited for businesses with 1,000 employees or more. This plan offers unlimited cloud storage for recordings, a dedicated customer success manager, and discounts on webinars and Zoom Rooms. It costs $19.99/month/host with a minimum of 100 hosts. The starting price of the Enterprise tiers is $1,999/month.
Once you’ve selected the Zoom plan you’d like to start using, you can sign up and download Zoom onto your computer to start using it. For the sake of this guide, we’ll use the free plan.
How to create a Zoom account
You need an internet-enabled laptop or mobile device for this step. Head to Zoom’s official website at zoom.us. Click on the large orange Sign up, it’s free button at the top right corner of the page. Type in your date of birth on the next page and submit.
The following page will ask for your work email address. Note that your personal email address also works fine here. Alternatively, you can create an account via Google and Facebook. If you choose these options, you will be asked to download the Zoom desktop app.
If you entered an email, you would be referred to your email for an activation email. Locate the Activate button in the email and click to activate your account. You could also copy and paste the link at the bottom of the email into your browser.
The next screen will ask you to enter your first and last names, alongside a password. You can choose to invite others to Zoom on the next page or skip the process altogether. Zoom will present you with a link to your personal meeting.
Download Zoom App
You can either follow the Personal Meeting Link or click the orange button on the page to head to get the prompt to download the Zoom desktop app. Install the app and follow the prompts provided by the web page.
Using the Zoom App
After a successful installation, you should see two options – Sign in and Join a Meeting. You can start your test meeting by clicking Sign in. The following page will request for your email and password you just used to sign up for Zoom in your browser.
You could choose to Sign in with Google or Sign in with Facebook if you used them during registration.
Top Zoom’s Features to Know
What makes Zoom stand out from the crowd is its simplicity. Its users can get up and running with little to no training or IT support. Let’s take a look at some of its most popular features.
Turn your mic and camera on/off
A participant can ensure that other participants in a Zoom meeting cannot see or hear them by turning off their camera and mic, respectively. Participants should turn off their mic when they are not taking to ensure decorum.
Mute a participant
If you are a host or cohost of a Zoom meeting, you can mute one or all participants. This provides streamlined audio feedback from a center stage speaker with no distractions.
Raise/lower your hand
This feature helps to show that a specific participant needs something from other participants or the host, for instance, to ask a question or raise an objection.
Record a meeting
This feature comes in handy in documenting the proceedings of a meeting for future reference. A participant cannot record a meeting without the permission of the host. Recorded sessions are either stored in the cloud or on computer storage.
Chat with colleagues
The chat feature allows the exchange of direct messages among participants of a Zoom meeting. Two participants may exchange private messages, or a participant may send a message to the entire session.
Share your screen
The screen sharing feature allows a participant to share their desktop, tablet, or mobile device screen with other participants. It does not require the permission of the host.
This was our quick guide to using Zoom.
We want to hear from you, let us know if you have any comments or questions.
If you found this guide helpful, then please share it so your friends can enjoy it too.