With millions of workers across the globe making the transition to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic, video conferencing platforms have surged in popularity over the past couple of months.
When used correctly, as discussed in our blog titled ‘4 Reasons Why Video Collaboration is Essential in Today’s Business Environment’, digital conferencing software is critical for the success of companies in the 21st Century - and that’s not even taking into consideration the impact of COVID-19.Video conferencing platforms help organizations foster an environment of superior collaboration, keep remote teams connected, save them time and money, as well as encourage creative solutions from employees.
The most popular video conferencing solution for businesses, students and even social groups over the past few months is Zoom.
Zoom provides users with industry-leading meeting, phone, chat and webinar solutions that will bring your organization a range of benefits. In fact, the popularity of Zoom has soared in recent months. CNBC reports that daily downloads of the Zoom app have increased 30x year-over-year, with the software becoming the top free app for iPhones in the United States since March 18.
Meanwhile, official data from Zoom claims that daily users spiked to 200 million in March 2020 - up from 10 million in December last year.
Whether your business has been using Zoom for the past couple of years or you have only just signed up, there are a vast number of valuable features and advanced tools that will help you leverage this highly-beneficial video conferencing software. Here are seven tips that will ensure your company uses the app to communicate, collaborate, learn and connect better with your virtual team:
1 - Turn on gallery view to see everyone in the meeting
In a world where remote work runs rampant, video conferences are crucial. They ensure that all of the remote employees in your organization are constantly connected, communicating and working together to achieve the same results. While it’s not quite the same as working with each other face-to-face, it’s pretty close.
When using Zoom to connect your employees, it’s important that each team member can see every participant in the meeting. By turning on gallery view, you will be able to see everyone in the meeting all at once - rather than just the person who is speaking at any given time. As long as the meeting has 49 or fewer attendees, you will see each team member displayed on one page. If there are more, you can scroll through multiple pages. To do this, simply click the tab in the top right hand corner that reads “gallery view”.
Meanwhile, to make sure you are able to see everyone using video, and to avoid the clutter of seeing those without a video, you are also able to hide non video attendees. Simply go into settings > video > meetings and check hide non video participants.
2 - Automatically schedule meetings for your team
If you run frequent meetings with your team or with a client, it’s likely you will want to set up a regular day and time for this to be scheduled. Even better, you will want to connect this meeting directly to your personal calendar. Zoom’s scheduling function is connected to Outlook, iCal and Google Calendar meaning you can send updates to both yourself, and your team or client, entering the Zoom meeting to both parties’ calendars.
By automating these meetings and having them set up in advance with notifications that alert you when they are coming, you will ensure that clients, team members and even yourself do not let planned meetings pass by unattended.
3 - Mute yourself (and attendees) when you’re not talking
One of the most difficult aspects of video conferences is knowing when to speak. It can be difficult to input your opinion when the host is speaking as you do not want to speak over them, and the host can easily be distracted by noises such as coughs, sneezes or background voices when they think someone might have something to say.
It’s generally accepted that the common courtesy during Zoom meetings is for all members that aren’t speaking to mute their microphones. However, in large meetings there’s always the risk of that one person not muting their microphone and the entire meeting being disrupted by a dog barking, a fit of sneezes or a crying baby.
Thankfully, hosts can avoid this issue by making use of the mute participants feature. You can do this by going into the schedule meeting section of Zoom’s account settings and ensuring participants are muted upon entry. You can also mute participants during the call, by simply pressing manage participants and clicking the mic icon to silence them.
If you are a meeting participant and your host doesn’t mute you - then mute yourself when it’s not your time to talk. The noise of you coughing, slurping your coffee or shouting at your family members to be quiet is not only distracting for other participants, it can be unintentionally embarrassing for you.
4 - React to the meeting through emojis
Attending a meeting in which you agree with the host but don’t want to unmute yourself and potentially distract the participants? No problem, there’s a simple solution to this that allows you to still show your appreciation.
By scrolling to the reactions tab at the bottom of the meeting screen, you will be able to choose from a selection of emojis that allow you to share your thoughts with the host. Some emojis such as the raised hand are used when a participant has something to say but doesn’t want to distract the host by speaking over the top of them.
5 - Keep unwanted guests out of meetings
The popularity of Zoom has given arise to a new unfortunate trend - “Zoombombing”. This new sensation involves someone guessing your meeting URL, joining your chat uninvited and putting their video camera on in front of your entire team.
Thankfully, Zoom has a number of advanced features that will ensure your company’s video conferences are able to avoid being “Zoombombed”. In a helpful Twitter thread, Zoom gives some advice to keep the party crashers away. Here are just a few of the methods it suggests:
- Do not share your meeting ID publicly: When you share your meeting ID or meeting link on social media or other public forums, that makes your event…extremely public. Anyone with the link can join your meeting.
- Try the Waiting Room feature: It allows you (the host) to control when a participant joins the meeting.
- Manage screen sharing: To prevent participants from screen sharing before a call, you can select “Host Only” under “Who Can Share” in your web settings. During a call, using the host controls at the bottom, click the arrow next to Share Screen and then Advanced Sharing Options.
- Lock the Meeting: When you lock a meeting that’s already started, no new participants can join, even if they have the meeting ID and password (if required). To lock your meeting, click Manage Participants on the control panel > More > Lock Meeting.
6 - Share your screen
During a face-to-face meeting in the office it’s likely the host will either draw diagrams on a whiteboard or use a visual presentation to help explain their case. You can also do this through Zoom.
By clicking the share screen icon at the bottom of the meeting screen, you will be able to share the window you have open on your computer. You can use this to share a presentation, show what you’re working on or even play a game if your video chat is designated for team building.
Don’t forget to prevent any potential interruptions by silencing desktop notifications when sharing your screen. Windows 10 users can use the built-in feature Focus Assist to do this in their settings, while Mac users will need to install a third-party app such as Muzzle.
7 - Record the meeting as a video
Are you expecting a member of your team to miss a video call? Do you need to participate in an interview that you want to transcribe after? Or perhaps you simply want to review a meeting to ensure nothing important was missed? Thankfully, Zoom’s desktop app offers a handy function that allows you to record your meeting as a video.
If you are using the free version of Zoom then you are able to record a video file that will save directly to your local storage device. Meanwhile, paying members of Zoom will be able to store their recorded video on Zoom’s cloud storage service.
Ready to learn more about becoming a Zoom pro and how some of these powerful advanced tools can greatly improve the results of your organization’s video conferences? Contact Genesis Integration today. As a Zoom partner, our team of experts will be able to advise exactly how you can make the most of this innovative app to suit your company’s specific needs.