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  • Many people are in the exact same position as you so don't feel like you're the only one at the moment!

    I will try and break down your question into some core elements for you to look over and think about.

    Platform absolute basics to understand Zoom

    You can think of the platform (In your case Zoom) as the building where you will go for your meeting or training session. Inside this building (platform) there will be rooms that you can go into with other people for your meetings or training sessions.

    Think of it this way. Normally you would be told your meeting is going to be in say the London office building, in this case that is Zoom. You would be told to go to floor 7 and meeting room 4, in this case this is the Zoom URL (website link), it will take you into that room.

    You can think of the room in Zoom that you join just like a physical room. You will be there with other people, you can communicate with them, they can potentially see you if you put webcams on, someone can screen share (use a projector), use flip charts (whiteboard) and all the normal things you can think of in a meeting or training session, it just happens to be online.


    MOBILE DEVICE - Many people right now are using their phone or tablet device to connect to meetings. If this is you then you likely don't need much equipment at all. You can join the session and use your device.

    Including some headphones or a better microphone could improve the experience but are not essential.

    COMPUTER - If you are connecting from a computer you may well need to consider the hardware on the device. A laptop will often have a built in webcam, microphone and speakers, how good they are can vary. You should give them ago and see if they suit your needs.

    If you are having sound quality issues or are involved in long meetings or training sessions. Some USB headphones with a microphone will often provide a quick boost to quality. You could also buy a USB webcam if you need better visual quality.

    You can often find non expensive versions of these that will be far superior to standard laptop devices. If you are using a desktop computer you might need to invest in these as they might not be included in what you have.

    What happens when you join a Zoom meeting room

    This can vary depending on the platform, device you are using and even the different licence type or setup of the platform.

    You are using Zoom, you should be sent a website link (URL) either directly in a message like email or perhaps a calendar invite. When you click on this link it will take you directly to the room where your meeting or training is going to take place.

    In Zoom and most other platforms your browser will start loading the screen, it might ask if you want to connect via the browser or desktop application. This just means to run the session via the website or to use actual software on your device such as an App. Often your experience will be better using the desktop application and it will likely prompt you to download it.

    Once you have done this when you click the link it will simply load the program and put you into the room. You don't need to worry finding Zoom on your computer and loading it before hand, it should do it all for you when you click on the link for the room.

    Once connected most platforms will ask if you are connecting your audio through the computer. This means you are going to use for example your mobile device microphone and camera, or a laptops speakers and microphone etc. Basically if you are not going to be using a telephone to call into the session like a conference call, then you want to use computer audio.

    If you are dialling in then you can often click no to computer audio or select a 'Dial-in' option, this way you need to call in with a telephone, the details should have been provided with the link to access the room. It just means you will watch through the screen on the device you are using but hear and speak through the telephone line. 

    Interacting in the session

    Once you have got your audio connected you should be able to hear and see what is going on in the room. There might be people already on webcam and you can see them, perhaps hear them if they are talking. You might be able to see slides on the screen or perhaps a welcome message. This will often let you know straight away if you are in the right place!

    In Zoom there are different ways to get involved in the session. On the computer if you move your cursor over the Zoom window screen, some additional buttons will be revealed. At the bottom of the screen you can see where it says 'Participants' and 'Chat'. If you click these some extra windows will appear.

    The participants panel (depending on the setup of the session) will allow you to click to raise your hand, say if you agree or disagree. The chat panel will let you type to people.

    At the bottom left of the Zoom window you can see an icon of a microphone and webcam, this will allow you to unmute to speak of put the webcam on also.

    There are also annotation tools in Zoom, this is where you can type on the screen for example, once you know how to access these and use them they become quite simple to use. I don't know how interactive your meetings or training sessions will be but it is good to be aware this is an option and easy to do.

    Hopefully your host or meeting leader will lay out some ground rules to help manage the session, such as click the raise hand icon if you want to speak or wave on your webcam!

    Mistakes will happen

    Conference calls, online meetings, new technology, new ideas and pressure situations are a perfect storm for mistakes to happen! People might talk over each other, someone will forget to unmute, others will accidently quit the session. This is normal and I am sure if this is new to your organisation then people will be aware there will be some teething issues to start with.

    Practice and play

    I understand right now people are often really busy and this is an additional thing to focus on and be dealing with right now. But if you can spend some time to play around with the options it is a good idea. Get used to muting and unmuting, displaying webcams in different ways and how the chat works.

    It won't take you long at all before it starts to become second nature and you will be jumping into a Zoom meeting whilst eating your lunch, answering emails and tactically muting your microphone between slurps of soup!


    A long read I know but hopefully the message will help! 

    Remember there is ZOOM SUPPORT for your search needs and of course ask as many questions as you need here!

    Good luck!

    Zoom Help Center
    • Thanks Mike, that really helped me!

      It went ok but we only used the real basics for our meetings. We will see what happens if we stick with it going forward and use it for more things.


      • Great that you've done your 1st one Vicky. It gets easier! Mike has already shared some great tips. I would add: if you will be turning your video on check your background. I tend to sit with a plain wall behind me, I don't have a nice bookcase or office. Check the position of your camera, you might need to raise your computer so it's at eye level. Plug into the internet rather than rely on wifi if you can. Use an external mic for better sound. Familiarise yourself with the software. You can always set up some practice sessions. If you host the Zoom sessions, check your settings to make sure your session is secure :-)

        • Thanks Jane! I did not realise I could do my own poractice session. I will have a play around.


  • Hi Vicky, 

    Great questions. Here's an article with some stats, research and recommendations for getting people involved in virtual meetings:

    How to Get People to Actually Participate in Virtual Meetings
    Stop the multitasking already!
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