Working from home has forced most of us to embrace online collaboration tools.
Chief among them is video conferencing app Zoom. But did you know you can do more with Zoom than host a video call? You can show others what’s on your screen. Share notes and make annotations in real-time. Or record a meeting and send the video to anyone who couldn’t attend it in person — and that’s just for starters.
There are lots of hidden features on Zoom, many of which you may not know. But once you find them, they’ll help you make the most the video conferencing service.
Let’s learn how to work better in the virtual world… starting with seven tips and tricks for Zoom.
1. Create Recurring Meetings With The Same Join URL
Most businesses rely on weekly check-ins and monthly updates. But you don’t have to create a new meeting each time a regularly scheduled call comes around.
Instead, you can create a recurring meeting using the Zoom app. And lock in the same call settings for every session. Better still, you can keep the same join URL for every conference, meaning no more fresh invites; employees can simply save a link and use it every time.
But what if your meetings don’t run to a set schedule? No problem.
There’s an option called ‘No Fixed Time,’ which works in the same way as a regular recurring meeting — but gives you the flexibility to change the timing.
2. Collect Information From Attendees
Sometimes, you might want to learn about the people on a call before it starts. Say, you’re hosting a product demonstration. And you want to know the company where each attendee works.
Go to the ‘My Meetings’ tab in the Zoom web app and select ‘Require Registration.’
From here, you can create a form that collects the information you need when someone signs up for the meeting. Zoom offers standard fields (like name and company) that you include by ticking a checkbox — or add your own fields in the ‘Custom Questions’ tab.
3. Offer ‘Waiting Rooms’ Before The Start
If people arrive early for a meeting, don’t leave them out in the cold. Use a Zoom waiting room to let attendees into the call, even if the host hasn’t arrived.
You can create a virtual waiting room that simply puts attendees on-hold until the host grants access. Or you can let attendees chat with one another before the meeting officially starts, assuming you’re happy for them to do so. The type of waiting room you can create will depend on your subscription level.
However, you should be able to customize the background of the virtual space so that the setting always reflects your brand.
4. Record A Video Of Your Video Call
Before we look at the how, let’s first remember: it’s common courtesy (and sometimes a legal requirement) to ask people if we can record them.
Assuming all attendees say ‘yes,’ you can use Zoom to record any web conference. The feature is handy if you want to share a video of a meeting with people who can’t attend — or if you’d like to review what was said after a session. You can store videos in your preferred destination.
Or, if you’re a paying customer, store them in the Zoom cloud: a benefit of choosing Zoom storage is that anyone can stream your video straight in their web browser as soon as you make it available.
Before you hit record, be sure to tweak this setting:
- For a broadcast video (i.e., it’s only the host on-screen): only record the audio and video of the host;
- For a collaborative meeting (i.e., where anyone can be on-screen): allow everyone to be part of the recording.
To make a video recording, you need to download Zoom on macOS, Windows, or Linux. If you don’t see the record option, check it’s enabled under ‘My Meeting Settings’ in the web app.
5. Set Up A Collaborative Annotation Session
Screen-sharing is suitable for more than just sharing your screen. Use Zoom’s annotation tools to let attendees draw, comment, and highlight to their heart’s content, bringing creative interaction to any virtual meeting space. Annotations are perfect for reviewing mock-ups, designs, and workflows.
Simply select ‘View’ from the top of the meeting window, then ‘Annotate.’
A toolbar will show you everything you can do, with options ranging from text to draw to arrows, and beyond. The host can then save the final screen at the end of the meeting, capturing every idea.
6. Check Who Attended Your Meeting
We’re not talking about roll-calling every meeting.
Still, some events are more mandatory than others (like a safety training session). Or perhaps, you want to know if someone missed a meeting so that you can share a video recording later in the week — whatever your motivation, Zoom can create an attendee report after any meeting.
Just go to ‘Account Management’ and click ‘Reports.’ Look for ‘Usage Reports’ and click on the meeting name.
Here, you can browse a list of options and generate the report type you want to see. But beware: only meeting hosts (or those with the necessary authorizations) can get an attendee list — and you need to be on the right paid plan.
7. Use Three Essential Zoom Keyboard Shortcuts
If Zoom becomes part of your daily routine, you’ll want to know how to get around quickly. These three keyboard shortcuts could save you hours every week.
- Meeting Invites: Cmd+i (macOS) or Alt+i (Windows) — jump to the invite window to find a ‘Join URL’ or send an email invite.
- Mute: Cmd+Ctrl+M (macOS) or Alt+M (Windows) — mute everyone on a call in one fell swoop (assuming you’re the host!).
- Screenshare: Cmd+Shift+S (macOS) or Alt+Shift+S — share your screen with others on the call.
Video conferences are the future of work, whether you work from home or in an office. It will help to learn the tips and tricks of the trade — if only to get the most from your time on the video conference front-line.
Find more tips and tricks on how to work from home in our recent article — or give Mid-coast Tech a call on 207-223-7594 for free expert advice.