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.
Zoom is a product of the Zoom Video Communications Company. It is 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.
2. Getting started using Zoom
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.
2.1 How to sign up for Zoom
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.
2.2 Download Zoom software
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.
2.3 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.
3. How to join a Zoom Meeting
Have you have been invited to be part of an ongoing Zoom Meeting? Don’t worry. There are four different ways to do this. The steps below will guide you through the process. It’s simple and easy.
3.1 Using the Zoom Application
Launch the Zoom app on your PC. Input your email and password and click the “Sign in” button. Alternatively, you can use other sign-in options, if that is what you used during registration.
Once you are logged in using any of these methods, click the “Join” button. The “Join Meeting” window will pop up. Input the Meeting ID, as contained in the invitation email. If you know the personal link name, you can use it instead.
There are options to join the meeting with audio and/or video. Mark as appropriate. Click on “Join” to be in the meeting.
3.2 Using the Zoom Website
For this option to work, you need the Zoom’s URL of the inviting company or individual. The format of the link is “companyname.zoom.us”. If you have this, follow the steps below to join the meeting.
Open your browser and type in the inviting link.
The next page is a landing page with three options – Join, Host, Sign in.
Click “Join”, and on the next page, input the personal link or meeting as provided by the host.
Confirm the information, and click “Join”.
This will take you to the meeting.
3.3 Using the Email Link
Every Zoom meeting invitation email has a link you can follow to join the meeting directly. It is the link right under the “Join Zoom Meeting” tag. Follow the link or copy it into a browser of your choice to join the meeting.
3.4 Calling the meeting
The last method of joining a Zoom meeting is using a phone to call the meeting. The teleconferencing number and the meeting ID number are usually included in the invitation email.
On dialing the number, the caller will be prompted to provide the meeting ID number using the dial pad. Once this info is provided, the caller can join the meeting.
4. How to Set Up a Zoom Meeting
You’ll have a couple of options to set up a Zoom meeting. Select the orange camera icon that says “New Meeting”. Next, click the “Join With Computer Audio” icon to start your Zoom meeting. You’ll have the option to test your speaker and microphone to make sure everything works properly.
Once you completed the test, click the box that says “automatically join audio by computer when joining a meeting”. That way you don’t have to do that over again next time when want to set up a Zoom meeting.
On the next screen, you’ll have a few options. Click the “Invite” button at the bottom of the meeting window. When you do, a new window will open where you can invite people to your Zoom meeting via contact or email. Copy your meeting URL to your clipboard and send it to people so they can join your meeting from any device they’re using.
If you’re on the mobile app, tap “Participants” at the bottom, then the “Invite” on the next screen. From here, you can share the invitation in a few different ways: email invite, text message invite, invite your contacts or copy the meeting URL to your phone’s clipboard.
5. Top Zoom’s Features
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.
5.1 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.
5.2 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.
5.3 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.
5.4 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 the computer storage.
5.5 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.
5.6 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.
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