Zoom is a great tool for connecting with family and friends in these socially-distanced times. Allowing you to have face-to-face conversations with people all over the world, Zoom will be a popular video chat option this holiday season. While the technology can be intimidating at first, Zoom is quite easy to use—even for newbies and grandparents.
If another individual is hosting the Zoom meeting, they will send you an invitation to join the chat through email. To join the meeting you will click on the blue link to launch the Zoom application. You will then be prompted to download the latest version of Zoom. You can download Zoom to your tablet, phone, or your computer. Each version of the application works a bit differently, but we will first discuss the computer version as it is the easiest to use.
After the Zoom application has downloaded, you may need to install it. Follow your computer’s prompts, and the process should be simple. Once installed, launch the Zoom app. The app will then prompt you to either “Sign In” or “Join a Meeting.” If you received an invitation to join a meeting another individual is hosting, click “Join a Meeting.”
If you attempt to join a meeting before the host has started the meeting, it will give you a message that says something like, “waiting for host to start this meeting.” If you receive this message prior to the meeting start time, don’t worry; everything is working smoothly. If the app did not automatically prompt you to join the meeting after clicking the link in the invitation email, you may need to enter the 11-digit meeting ID number that is included in the email.
While preparing for a Zoom meeting, you may want to adjust or confirm some settings to ensure you have a good chat experience. If you are at the waiting screen, you will see an option to “Test Computer Audio.” If you click on this you can confirm that your device’s microphone is working and connecting properly to Zoom. If you are using another input source for your audio (like headphones), you can ensure they are the source being used by exploring the settings here.
In the settings menu you can also view your video settings and test to make sure your device’s camera (or an external camera like a webcam) is working correctly and connected.
You can also select settings that adjust your video background by going to “Virtual Background.”
If you would like to be the host for a meeting, you will need to create a Zoom account. Launch the Zoom application and sign in. Once signed in click “Meetings” and then select “Schedule a Meeting.” From here you will be prompted to select when you’d like to schedule the meeting and who you would like to invite to participate. When it is time to host the meeting you scheduled, go to the meetings tab and you will see your scheduled meetings listed. Click “Join” next to the meeting you would like to start and the meeting will be launched.
You can always mute yourself if you need to leave the room or have a private conversation. If you are having issues with the video quality, it could be a Wi-Fi connection issue. If you are having these issues on a portable device like a tablet or laptop, try moving closer to the Wi-Fi source. Different devices have different audio sensitivity which means that with some devices you may need to be within a few feet of the device for it to correctly pick up your audio, and others may be sensitive enough to pick up any outside noise like a television or street sounds.
Zoom is one of the easiest video chat services out there. Don’t be intimidated by it. Use Zoom this holiday season to stay connected to family, friends and loved ones. If you need more tips, check out Zoom’s New User Guide.