Videoconferencing applications, 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 Zoom and how to use it. At the end of this guide, you will learn how to set up and participate in a Zoom meeting. You’ll also learn about Zoom’s most important features. Let’s start.
Here’s what you’ll learn in this guide:
- What is Zoom?
- Introduction to Zoom
- How to attend a Zoom meeting
- How to set up a zoom meeting
- Zoom main features
1. What is Zoom?
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 on-premises, desktop client and
a mobile app, helping companies or individuals to hold meetings and large events online.
Zoom offers all its features in Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, iPadOS, Android, Blackberry and Zoom Rooms.
2. Introduction to Zoom
Before you start with Zoom, you need to sign up for an account. Zoom offers four different price levels that cover both personal and business needs. Let’s see them.
- Free zoom: Perfect for personal meetings and short group meetings. With Zoom’s free plan, users can have an unlimited number of meetings, but group meetings with multiple participants can only have a maximum of 40 minutes.
- Zoom Pro: Great for small teams. You can create personal meeting IDs for Zoom recurring meetings, record meetings in the cloud or on users’ devices. These layers cost $ 14.99 / month / host with a 24 hour meeting duration limit.
- Zoom Business: Good for small and medium businesses. These layers offer dedicated phone support, personalized URL, company visual identity (for apps, invitations and 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 for Enterprise levels is $ 199 / month.
- Zoom Enterprise: Best suited for companies 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 for Enterprise levels is $ 1,999 / month.
After selecting the Zoom plane you would like to start using, you can sign up and download Zoom on your computer to start using it. For the purposes of this guide, we will use the free plan.
2.1 How to sign up for Zoom
You need a laptop or mobile device with Internet access for this step. Go to the official Zoom website at zoom.us. Click on the big orange “Sign up, it’s free” button in the top right corner of the page. Enter your date of birth on the next page and submit.
The following page will ask for your business email address. Note that your personal email address also works well 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 application.
If you entered an email, you would be forwarded to your email for an activation email. Locate the “Activate” button in the email and click to activate your account. You can 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 name, along with a password. You can choose to invite others to zoom in on the next page or skip the process altogether. Zoom will present a link to your personal meeting.
2.2 Download the Zoom software
You can follow the personal meeting link or click the orange button on the page to access the Zoom desktop application download request. Install the application and follow the instructions provided on the web page.
2.3 Using the Zoom application
After a successful installation, you will see two options – “Join” and “Join a meeting”. You can start your test meeting by clicking “Join”. The following page will ask for your email and password that you just used to sign up for Zoom in your browser.
You can choose to “Sign in with Google” or “Sign in with Facebook” if you used them during registration.
3. How to attend a Zoom meeting
Have you been invited to attend an ongoing Zoom meeting? Do not worry. There are four different ways to do this. These steps below will guide you through the process. It’s simple and easy.
3.1 Using the Zoom application
Launch the Zoom application on your PC. Enter your email and password and click on the “Login” button. Alternatively, you can use other input options, if that’s what you used during registration.
After logging in using any of these methods, click on the “Participate” button. The “Join the meeting” window will appear. Enter the meeting ID as contained in the invitation email. If you know the name of the personal link, you can use it.
There are options to join the meeting with audio and / or video. Check as appropriate. Click “Join” to join the meeting.
3.2 Using the Zoom website
For this option to work, you need the Zoom URL of the company or person you invite. The link format is “company name.zoom.us”. If you have this, follow the steps below to join the meeting.
- Open your browser and enter the invitation link.
- The next page is a landing page with three options – Join, Host, Login.
- Click on “Join” and, on the next page, insert the personal link or the meeting, as provided by the host.
- Confirm the information and click “Participate”.
- This will take you to the meeting.
3.3 Using the email link
Every Zoom meeting invitation email has a link that you can follow to join the meeting directly. It is the link just below 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 to join a Zoom meeting is to use a phone to call the meeting. The meeting number and meeting ID number are usually included in the invitation email. When dialing the number, the caller will be asked to provide the meeting identification number using the dial pad. After this information is provided, the caller can join the meeting.
4. How to set up a zoom meeting
You have a few options for setting up a Zoom meeting. Select the orange camera icon that says “New meeting”. Then click on the “Join computer audio” icon to start your zoom meeting. You will have the option to test your speaker and microphone to make sure everything works correctly.
After completing the test, click on the box that says “Automatically join audio via computer when joining a meeting”. That way, you won’t have to do it again the next time you want to set up a Zoom meeting.
On the next screen, you will 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 by contact or email. Copy the URL of your meeting to the clipboard and send it to people, so they can join the meeting from any device they are using.
If you’re in the mobile app, touch “Participants” at the bottom and then “Invite” on the next screen. From here, you can share the invitation in several different ways: email invitation, text message invitation, invitation to your contacts, or copy the meeting URL from the phone’s clipboard.
5. Main zoom features
What makes Zoom stand out from the crowd is its simplicity. Your users can start working with little or no training or IT support. Let’s take a look at some of its most popular features.
5.1 Turn on / off the microphone and camera
A participant can ensure that other participants in a Zoom meeting cannot see or hear them by turning off the camera and microphone, respectively. Participants should turn off the microphone when they are not using it to ensure decorum.
5.2 Silence a participant
If you are the host or co-host of a Zoom meeting, you can silence one or all participants. This provides simplified audio feedback from a center speaker, without 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 example, to ask a question or raise an objection.
5.4 Record a meeting
This feature is useful for documenting the proceedings of a meeting for future reference. A participant cannot record a meeting without permission from the host. Recorded sessions are stored in the cloud or on computer storage.
5.5 Chat with colleagues
The chat feature allows the exchange of direct messages between the participants of a Zoom meeting. Two participants can exchange private messages or one participant can send a message for 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 permission from 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.
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