Zoom's ease-of-use has earned it a top spot among the world's most popular online platforms. In this beginners' guide for hosts, we show you to use it.
Zoom is one of the most popular meeting platforms. It's easy to use, and the free version has many useful functions. Paid versions are packed with even more functionality. This ultimate guide for hosts will show you how to set up and run your Zoom event.
1. Opening an account
First, create an account by signing up. Use your e-mail address, or create an account through your existing account on Facebook or Gmail)
Once you have filled out your details, check your e-mail where you will receive a message from the Zoom platform with a button or link to click on to activate your account
The link takes you to the page where you need to enter your details (first name, last name, and password, which should contain lowercase and uppercase letters and numbers)
If you wish, you can invite some more friends to sign up for Zoom, but you don't have to - you can skip this step; You will also have to verify that you are not a robot (you may need to select some pictures to prove it).
You are now ready to create a meeting room.
2. Accessing the Platform
Once you have created an account, you can sign in.
Once you login, you will see a page where you can enter your details, but also from which you can schedule new and regular meetings, start already scheduled meetings, or ad-hoc (instant) meetings as needed.
3. Scheduling meetings
On the main page, you can also schedule one or more meetings, or regular (e.g. weekly) meetings. Scheduling meetings is done under the ‘Schedule a meeting’ option.
In the fields on the page enter the topic name (Topic field), possibly a description (Description field), the date and time of meeting and duration.
On the same page you can mark whether the meeting is regular (check the box Recurring meeting and set the frequency - weekly, monthly, etc., as well as the number of repetitions or end date). You can also select whether or not you would like to secure access to the meeting with a password or not (Meeting password field), whether your meeting allows the host and attendees to use cameras and how to connect your audio (it is recommended to select Computer Audio).
Finally, additional meeting options are set up on the same page, such as:
- The ability for participants to enter the online room before the host (Enable join before host option).
- A muted microphone for participants when they enter the room, so that there is no noise at the beginning (Mute participants upon entry option) - of course, participants can then turn the microphone on when they wish;
- Waiting rooms for participants and guests, in which case the host is notified when someone is in the waiting room and approves the entry of each participant to the room individually (Enable waiting room option);
- Autostart of recording of the meeting on the host’s computer (option Record the meeting automatically on the local computer). That said, the recording can be turned on by the host at any time of the meeting.
After the settings have been saved, a page summarising the settings appears. It contains a unique Meeting ID, a meeting code, and - most importantly, for participants to access the meeting - a link to the room to be forwarded to the participants (Join URL field). This page also includes options for adding scheduled appointments to Google Calendar and other online calendars.
This page already has an option to start a meeting, or to open a room.
4. Starting a meeting
a) Scheduled meetings
On the homepage after logging in, you can access your scheduled meetings by clicking on the ‘Meetings’ option.
The next page shows all your scheduled appointments, a unique Meeting ID for each meeting, as well as the option to start the first upcoming meeting. Details of each meeting can be accessed by clicking on the topic name (Topic).
Once reopened, the details of the meeting including the link to the room, which should be sent to the participants. There is also an easy option to copy the link (Copy the invitation option).
This is where the upcoming meeting can start.
b) Individual new meetings
Any individual meetings that are scheduled to take place immediately (instant meeting) can be initiated from the homepage through ‘the Host a meeting’ option. It is possible to start a meeting without video, with video, or with a shared screen.
When starting a meeting (whether scheduled or instant) for the first time from your computer, an automatic installation of the Zoom application (unless it is already installed) will be launched.
After a one-time installation, the application will launch itself. This will also be the case the next time Zoom application is used.
This will open a page with basic meeting information, and the option to connect audio through a computer, or to test the microphone and sound first; it is recommended to test the microphone and sound first and then connect the audio.
Once the audio has been tested, the room opens.
5. Manage the meeting
The home screen has many options:
- Switch your microphone on and off
- Additional audio tuning options (microphone dial)
- Switch your camera on and off
- Additional video setup options (camera selection), and access (via Video Settings)to other settings, such as general application settings, audio and video settings, and recording settings (including location where the recording will be stored)
- Inviting participants (if they have not already been sent a link) - by e-mail, or by copying the link
- Participant list and options for managing participant settings (new panel opens as illustrated on the image below)
- Screen Sharing, Whiteboard, Part of the Screen, Computer Sound, Extra Camera, Cloud Files, and Other Options
- Additional sharing options: who can share the screen (only host or participants, one or more participants at a time)
- Chat Window - Chat & Settings (New panel opens as illustrated on the image below)
- Record a meeting (opens at the top of the menu with a pause button, and interrupt recording) - the recording settings are in the main menu (item 4)
- Exiting the meeting, with the option to continue the meeting when the host leaves, or to adjourn
- Full screen view of the room
When options 6 (list of participants) and 9 (chat) are selected, the screen gets additional elements:
- List of participants, with options to turn off the microphone or camera for a specific participant, switch the host role to another participant (with full privileges), and other settings. At the bottom are options to mute or unmute everyone at the same time, as well as additional useful options such as allowing users to turn the camera on or off or change their name, and more.
- A text discussion window through which it is possible to send a message or a file (from the Cloud or from a computer) to everyone or someone individually, restrict who the participants can send messages to, and record the past text discussion.
Starting a meeting and managing a meeting is also possible from your mobile device by using the Zoom mobile application. The app has the same options, just a slightly differently organised schedule and a way to get to each of the options.