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.