Scared to Video Conference? We’re Here for You!

Knowing how to video conference is one thing; working up the courage to get on one, is another. If you’re like most people, you work somewhere that does not require you to video conference with your colleagues because they are all in the same building as you. Since this COVID-19 pandemic started, many businesses are allowing their employees to work from home, so we’ve all, including us, had to go outside of our comfort zone with learning new technology and figuring out how to keep businesses running, let alone how to keep customers interested. 

And it is not just businesses who are struggling to keep their systems running smoothly. Think of all the teachers who are having to come up with ways to keep their students engaged in their school work, the counselors who are checking in on students who may be struggling or scared, and the administrators who are working to figure out ways to ensure that students are not burdened with a heavy workload because they are unsure of when or if the school year will be resumed this year. Though this is just one example, I’m sure you get the picture that these are not easy times for anyone.

Video conferencing allows for businesses, teachers, counselors, administrators, and more to connect with their customers, students, or coworkers with face-to-face interactions from a distance. The problem is that there is often a lack of such technological training for employees or a lack of resources for people to utilize these tools. 

I know firsthand how difficult it can be to try to explain how to use video conferencing tools like Zoom over the phone or by email. Just the other day, I helped a person over the phone that I love dearly, I might add, to download Zoom. Let’s just say it was a more difficult task than it should have been and we ended up trying to figure out how she could have palm trees as her background without her disappearing into the background while on a call. (Sorry, mom. Love you.)

That’s why I want to break it down for you in a step-by-step guide so you can print this off or have it on your computer or phone as a reference for you to set up Zoom. Please note that there are several video conferencing tools out there, but Zoom is by far the most popular here lately. If there is a video conferencing tool that you would like us to write a blog about, feel free to reach out to us and we’d be happy to write one!

Without further ado, let’s dig into Zoom.

Step 1: Download the Software

Downloading the software differs depending on what type of device you will be Zooming on. It’s first important to remember that if you are just joining a Zoom meeting, you do not need to download the actual software. If you are the host of a meeting, however, you do need to go ahead and download the software because you will need to pick out your price plan. The basic plan does not require any monthly payment, but the meetings will only last 40 minutes, so if you plan on conferencing with people for more than that time limit, go ahead and pick out a different plan. Otherwise, after 40 minutes, the meeting will end and you will have to send all of your participants a new Zoom meeting link.

The easiest way for me to download Zoom is to Google “Zoom Download for Mac,” but if you have a different type of device, obviously type in the brand of your computer. Or simply follow this link: https://zoom.us/download to get Zoom downloaded on your computer. If you’re trying to just download Zoom on your phone, you can go to your App Store on iPhones or Google Play on Androids.

Step 2: Set Up a Zoom Meeting (for Hosts)

Again, this step is for the host only. To set up a meeting, click on “New Meeting” when the Zoom pop-up appears. When the video conferencing window comes up, click on “Participants” then “Invite” to copy the URL or invitation to send out to the needed participants, or you can email your contacts.

If you are trying to schedule a Zoom meeting in advance, you will need to take a different route when the Zoom pop-up appears. Instead of clicking on “New Meeting,” hit “Schedule.” This is where you can connect your meeting link to a calendar to send out to your contacts, find your meeting ID, and set up a password for entry if necessary. There are other settings that you can enable like “Waiting Room” or meeting recording (with the permission of your participants) in “Advanced Options,” but I am not going to dig into that this time since we are just learning the basics today. Feel free to go play around with it though and even schedule Zoom meetings directly from calendars like Google Calendar or your calendar of choice.

Step 2: Accept Zoom Meeting Invitation (for Participants)

If you received a Zoom invitation in your email, you should be able to just click on the link and it will take you to the meeting. If you get there before the host, you will have to wait for the host to get on the meeting to enter. Even though you are not the host, I find that it is easier to have Zoom downloaded like the host does because you can just hit the Zoom app on your computer or phone, then click on the “Join” button to type in the meeting ID and password (if there is one) to enter/wait on the host.

Step 3: Make Sure Your Audio and Video Are Working

This step seems to be where people have the most trouble. Sometimes their audio and video do not connect correctly and it takes a while for the meeting to get started because you and probably multiple other participants have never used Zoom before and are struggling as well. Make sure to practice Zoom beforehand so you can make sure that your audio and video are connected properly. You can do this by starting a new meeting the same way that a host would. 

When you get on the meeting, a screen will pop up asking if you’d like to connect with your computer audio. If you’re on a mobile device, it will prompt you in the same manner. Make sure you click on this button so other participants can hear you. 

The video conferencing screen is also where you can turn your video on or off. Again, test out your video camera beforehand. If you are not presentable, I recommend turning off your video camera, especially if other participants do not have their cameras turned on. The same thing goes for audio, turn yourself on mute if you are not talking. Otherwise, since you are using a shared screen, if you make noise, your video box will be front and center because Zoom will think that you are talking to the group. You don’t want this to happen, especially if you’re trying to eat your breakfast. Pop yourself on mute after greetings and introductions to avoid embarrassing audio on accident like telling your kid to go do their homework since we’re all quarantined and you’re in an important video meeting.

Step 4: Share Your Screen (When Necessary)

Zoom has the ability to share the screen of the host, as well as participants. If you need to share your computer screen to show how to do something or for example, an edit to a document or website, sharing the screen is a useful piece of the tool. Click on the “Share” icon in the video conferencing window, then click on whichever screen you are trying to share. Remember to click the red “Stop Share” once you are done. 

Step 5: Take Security Measures

There has been concern lately that Zoom has had some security issues. Make sure you are creating passwords that are difficult to guess and continue to change the Zoom meeting passwords frequently if you are the host. You can add security measures by requiring guests to sit in the “Waiting Room” if you are the host, but you will have to accept each one to enter. You can edit your password in “Settings” by clicking on the wheel in the top right corner, and edit meeting passwords in “Schedule” as I mentioned earlier.

Quick Watch! Video Tutorial in Under Four Minutes

Take a Deep Breath – You’ll Get It!

If you’re nervous about Zoom because it is out of your comfort zone, take a deep breath. Most people don’t have to use these kinds of tools in their everyday work life, so you won’t be the only one who is unsure about what you are doing. Try to take my advice and play around in Zoom before your meeting to feel more comfortable with it. Odds are, after this chaotic time is over, you won’t have to use these types of tools ever again. Take each day with stride and add this new skill to your LinkedIn profile to brag a little bit on what you have learned in quarantine. 

On a final side note that is completely unrelated to Zoom, when someone says “Link in Bio,” they’re referring to the link on their Instagram profile underneath their name. Sometimes people do this to send their followers to a blog, website, video, etc., but Instagram will not allow users to put a link in the caption of the post, so they have to put in it in their bio. But that’s a topic for another day… (Sorry again, mom.)

About the Author

Ashley Willard

Director of Marketing

Hi, all! I’m Ashley Willard. I have a background in integrated marketing communications and public relations. As Director of Marketing, I love to tell the stories behind brands and bridge connections between clients and their customers that last. When I’m not working, I love to watch my daughter learn and grow, FaceTime my family, take cute pictures of my cats, rewatch The Office, beat my husband at Battleship, and CrossFit it up by flipping giant tires across the gym (ok, the tire part is false).

Oh, and search for the latest Ben & Jerry’s flavor. It’s all about balance. 😉

(Let me know if you see Cherry Garcia – it’s a tough one to find right now!)