You might need to take your business online because of COVID-19.
Zoom is the most reliable and feature-packed video-conferencing tool you can use.
I’ve taken hundreds of calls on Zoom over the last few years, from everywhere between Bali to Scotland with perfect performance.
Here are some starter tips to help you get the most out of Zoom.
Table of Contents
- Sign up for a Zoom Pro plan and install the application
- Set up a Personal Meeting Room to save time
- Customize your Personal Meeting Room settings
- How to prepare for a meeting
- Practical tips for before, during and after your meeting
- Send your attendees some tips before your meeting
- Bonus tips for group meetings
- Use a password to provide exclusive access
- Attract more viewers by streaming on social media
- How to share your computer audio
- Use Zoom to record on-demand content
Sign up for a Zoom Pro plan and install the application
Zoom’s free plan is great, but to use the features below, you’ll need the lowest tier of the paid plan. At the time of writing, it’s $14.99 per month.
Set up a Personal Meeting Room to save time
Now you’ve got Zoom, it’s time to set up your Personal Meeting Room.
Sharing new meeting codes for every meeting can become confusing, so I recommend you enable your Personal Meeting Room and set your own custom meeting ID. It’s 10 digits, so you can use your phone number. This makes it super-easy to remember and share.
You can also set your meeting room to automatically start when you launch a new meeting, which means you don’t have to look around for codes or make sure you’ve joined the right meeting.
To update this setting, login to the Zoom website, then select Profile.
The screenshot below will help you configure your settings.
Customize your Personal Meeting Room settings
Here are the settings I use for my Personal Meeting Room and why:
Host – video off. I do this just in case I’m traveling and/or on my cell phone.
Participant – video on. I’ve found it’s best to have as many people showing their face as possible.
I enable telephone and computer audio.
Meeting room options: Disable ‘join before host’. It’s awkward to arrive in your own meeting and need to cut off cross-talk and other conversations.
Enable ‘mute participants upon entry’. This is especially useful for people who haven’t used Zoom before because they will take a while to figure out where the microphone button is.
Enable ‘waiting room’. Some people will arrive fifteen minutes early for a meeting, so let them kick back in your waiting room. You can also customize the background in the next product tier.
Disable ‘only authenticated users can join’. This is my personal preference.
Enable record the meeting in the cloud. I like recording to the cloud because sometimes my hard drive gets full and I don’t want Zoom meetings clogging up my storage. Zoom is very generous with how many GB they allow you to store and have a full-featured video playing experience, too.
How to prepare for a meeting
Here are some tips to prepare for a group meeting:
- Create a brief checklist of what you will cover in the meeting. Here’s an agenda you can use for both one-on-one and group meetings:
– Welcome [x minutes]
– Small talk [x minutes] (optional in a group setting)
– Present agenda [x minutes]
– Answer questions [x minutes]
– Track agenda [x minutes]
– Summarize action steps [x minutes]
– Set follow-up meeting if required [x minutes]
– Closing [x minutes]
- Do a practice run before the official meeting to iron out any kinks. This gives you a chance to confirm your microphone and speakers are working as expected.
- If you have a friend or colleague available, ask for their help in moderating the meeting. Their tasks can include:
– Opening and closing the meeting
– Replying to live chats as they come in
– Muting people who take themselves off mute by accident
A moderator allows you to focus on presenting your content, rather than being distracted by notifications.
Now we’ll move onto some tips that will help you ensure your customers enjoy their time on the video call.
Practical tips for before, during and after your meeting
Here are some tips for you to make sure you’re set up for success:
- Configure your lighting so you’re bright
- Clean your webcam to make sure you’re clear
- Make sure you’re in a quiet room (don’t take calls in public places)
- Use a headset or microphone to improve your audio quality
- Keep your phone charged and handy. Make sure Zoom is installed on your phone and logged in, so you can quickly jump back online in case your WiFi goes down
Send your attendees some tips before your meeting
If your meeting is two-way (your participants will be chatting with you), send your attendee an explanatory email about how they can set themselves up for success. Not everyone will read it, but it will help.
Here’s an excerpt from an email I got from podcasting veteran Jason Resnick:
A few things that I need you to do prior to our call:
1. Make sure that you have a good mic. It doesn’t need to be high end, the earbuds and mic that came along with your cell phone would do just fine, but please try and make sure that the mic doesn’t rub against your shirt as that will cause a scratching noise. If you have a headset or external mic, even better.
2. Audio and video can be hindered by bandwidth so please try and have the best internet connection that you can. Sitting in a coffee shop probably won’t suffice.
3. Remember to turn off any sort of backup or syncing services that you may be running as well (i.e. Dropbox, etc).
Feel free to copy the content above for your own purposes.
You can also send a reminder email one hour and twelve hours before the call to help maximize attendance. If you use meeting scheduling software like Calendly, these features are built into the app.
Bonus tips for group meetings
Here are some tricks that can help you use Zoom for marketing and taking your business online.
Use a password to provide exclusive access
The password for your Personal Meeting Room is editable, so you could change it each day, week or month if you’re charging people for your time. This also helps avoid the ‘Netflix-effect’ of people sharing passwords.
You can stream your meeting via Facebook, Facebook Workplace or Youtube by clicking the More button at the bottom right-hand corner of Zoom.
Click the Share button in the middle of the black taskbar, then click Advanced at the top of the window. You’ll notice an option to share your computer audio, which is really helpful for dance teachers.
If you need to share your computer audio, your computer speaker sometimes defaults to a lower level when you start sharing it. Zoom creates a ‘virtual speaker’ which you can manually adjust.
If you’re on a Mac and it doesn’t appear on your menu bar, click the apple icon, click System Preferences, then click Sound, and then Output.
Use Zoom to record on-demand content
Want to record content for people to watch later? That’s easy.
Create a zoom meeting and hit the record button. Zoom takes care of the processing and hosting, so you don’t have to worry about uploading and downloading files.
I hope this helps. If you have any questions, please reply in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.
If you want to go deeper on how to use Zoom, head over to Support during the COVID-19 pandemic for a lot more information.