Zoom Guide

Zoom Guide

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

September 29, 2020

Do you use Zoom for your video-conferencing? I jest, who doesn’t these days? That said, I do, and I have for 6 years, and I love it. It has a lot of options, even for the basic plan. And, because there are so many options, it can be hard to know what you have at your fingertips and what you should use. So, I thought I would give a rundown of what I use to best utilize this tool. Here’s my Zoom Guide.

How do I use Zoom: My Zoom Guide

I use Zoom for one-on-one calls, business meetings, and classes. The one-on-one call could be for my podcast, a catch-up session, or a tutorial with a tech client. Business meetings would be for strategy, sharing ideas and concepts, or just holding space as an accountability group. Classes could be as a participant or leading the class. There is a lot of overlap with each of these things, so here is what I use.

First, while I have a paid plan, I have for years, only utilized the free option. That meant, when I have calls that include 3 or more people, we are limited to 40-minute meetings. This can be a great boundary to keep efficient meetings.

Second, I set up a few things on the backend and through the website preferences, to help my meetings be clean and clear and user friendly and allow me to honor my boundaries. I set up:

  • automatic video recording and I set it up to record an audio file per attendee
  • a waiting room for attendees
  • mute attendees lines, so they have to turn it on
  • I added the timer so I know how long I’ve had the room open

I set these things up because some of my meetings need to be recorded, and I don’t like to forget to hit record. I want that as a backup in case it’s needed. Sometimes my tech clients want it. I use it for my podcasts. I have multiple audio files recorded, which is really handy for podcast editing.

I set up a waiting room because I want to “admit” people as they arrive. Zoom now requires this or a password, based on security updates since COVID. In the Before Time, I had people randomly sign up for my Zoom, even when I didn’t have a meeting set, so this is one way to prevent people I don’t want to attend my meetings. It also lets the other person know I’m not there yet, but I will be. You can even customize your waiting room message, which I find a kind statement to your guest or client.

I mute the lines because one of the biggest frustrations for being on a group call is the background noise you don’t want. When you are facilitating a large call, it can be hard to mute everyone as they arrive, so in this instance, it’s much better if they have to UNMUTE instead of mute. That way, you have a higher chance of not having unnecessary background noise which is very distracting for attendees. Another change zoom made was it generally doesn’t allow you to randomly unmute people either, now you may have to “ask to unmute”.

Lastly, there is a feature where you can add a timer, so you know how long you have been signed into the Zoom meeting room. This will serve as a guide to how long you have been on, especially if you need to mind the 40-minute mark. I believe the timing for the 40 minute starts when other attendees join, so it serves a guide rather than a steadfast rule.

There are a lot of other features in Zoom. It can be overwhelming. Some other fun ones to explore, though, include touching up your appearance, knowing where the reactions are, and knowing you have the ability to save the chat, independent of the host. The latter is especially helpful as more groups do online networking and relevant information is shared.

If you want to know more about how to Zoom better, let’s set up a time to talk. Remember, I offer free 30-minute tech consults to help you know how to you use your tech.


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