As the entire world shuts down due to coronavirus outbreak, millions of people across the world are working from home. This has led to an increase in the use of video calling and conferencing services like Zoom, Skype, and Teams. Zoom, however, has emerged as the most popular choice and has seen a massive surge in users. If you are using Zoom for video meetings, check out some handy tips and tricks to make your life a bit easier during this pandemic.
Compared to Microsoft Teams, Skype, and other video calling services, Zoom is being preferred by many because it is very straightforward to use and offers a number of useful features. If you are holding important video meetings with a lot of people, the additional features that Zoom offers almost make it a no-brainer. However, most people are likely using Zoom for the first time and are not aware of its entire features and how to get the most out of the video calling service. To get you up to speed on how to use Zoom to its maximum potential, check out the best tips and tricks for it below.
Tips and Tricks to Have the Best Zoom Video Calls
Working from home means you can be sitting in your living room in your shorts or in a messy room with stuff lying all around. You will obviously not want such a background to show up while on a video call. Zoom has a handy Virtual Background feature that as the name suggests will let you apply a virtual background to your video calls. This way, you won’t have to clean your messy room before jumping into a video meeting. Admittedly, none of the virtual backgrounds are ideal for use in a professional setting, though you do have the option of using a custom image as your background.
You can find the steps on how to use the virtual background feature in Zoom here. And if you want to skip a boring meeting, you can do the following:
Attending Zoom meetings.
— Dani Beck (@_DaniBeck) March 19, 2020
For bandwidth reasons and the fact that all laptops ship with a poor webcam, Zoom does not stream your video in HD quality by default. However, if you have a relatively fast internet connection with decent upload speeds, you can switch to HD video for a better video calling experience. Do this by going to Zoom’s settings -> Video and enabling the Enable HD option.
If you frequently take selfies from your smartphone, you will notice how they always apply a beauty filter on your face to hide all blemishes and marks. That same beautify filter is also available in Zoom in case you want to look a bit more beautiful or sharp in a video meeting. Under Zoom’s settings -> Video, enable the Touch up my appearance option. You will be able to instantly see the difference due to the filter in the video preview above.
Quickly Unmute Yourself
It is always recommended that you put yourself on mute while on a video call/meeting so that any unwanted noise does not filter into the call and ends up distracting everyone. However, it can get a bit tedious if one has to repeatedly press the Unmute button before speaking as it breaks the natural flow that is present in physical meetings. Zoom has a very handy option for this. Simply press and hold the space bar on your machine to temporarily unmute yourself every time you want to say something on a video call.
Adjust Microphone Volume
Most laptops come with very poor quality microphones which means your audio is likely going to sound extremely poor in video meetings. If you have no idea how good/bad the microphone on your laptop is, it is highly recommended that you test the microphone first before you get started with video meetings in Zoom. Jump into Zoom’s settings, go to the Audio tab, and test the microphone from there. You can manually adjust and set a input level of the microphone or let Zoom regulate it automatically.
Use Dual Monitors
If you have a dual monitor setup at home, you can set Zoom to take full advantage of it. Once you enable the dual monitors’ option in the app from Settings -> General, Zoom will display the video participants in one display and the shared screen in another. This way, you will not have to juggle through multiple windows and focus more on the task at hand.
If you are going to rely heavily on Zoom for video meetings in the coming days and weeks, I will strongly recommend you to learn some of its keyboard shortcuts for functions and features that you would be using regularly: cloud/local recording, screen sharing, push to talk, and more. You can find all the keyboard shortcuts in Zoom in the settings menu. Definitely go through them if you want to become the master in attending virtual meetings.
It is entirely possible that you are using Zoom to conduct some really important meetings. If you think you will need to refer back to some of the discussions that will happen during the meeting at a later date, you can record it for reference purposes. Simply press the Record button while on a video meeting to start the recording. You can change the recording folder and customize other aspects related to it from Settings -> Recording.
Unread Message Counter for Channels
Like Slack and Teams, Zoom also has ‘channels’ feature where one can drop important announcements for all other employees of your organization to follow. By default though, Zoom does not show unread message counts for channels. This could be an issue if you are on an important channel where major announcements are made. So, make sure to enable the unread message counter for channels in Zoom from Settings -> Chat.
Mute Audio or Hide Video When Joining a Meeting
It is recommended that whenever you join a virtual meeting, you have your audio on mute and hide your video. By default though, Zoom will show your video and your audio is not on mute. You can, however, change this in setting from the Video and Audio section of the app.
By default, Zoom will show the usernames of all participants in a video call. This can get confusing if people end up not using their real names as usernames. To avoid any confusion, you can set Zoom to display real names of all participants. Enable the option from Zoom settings -> Video.
What are some of your favorite tips and tricks for using Zoom? How are you liking the entire experience of attending virtual meetings from your home and how satisfied are you with Zoom? Drop a comment and let us know!