Zoom Master Tricks: for Better Communication in Zoom
When it comes to apps and services, 2020 will be remembered as the year of Zoom. Due to quarantine and social distancing, this app for group video and voice conferences became a major platform for work, education and entertainment. But if you think it’s just an advanced replacement for Skype, here is something to discover. There is much more to Zoom than just video calls. Optimized for mobile devices and crowded conferences as well as private calls, this app has a lot of secrets that make your communication better.
All of these Zoom tips apply to the free version of the service. There will be much more to it if you (or someone from your usual party) get a paid subscription. Best of all, it allows for meetings up to 24 hours long with up to 300 participants, and that’s the cheapest. Zoom downloads are available on the official site, all the client apps being free.
Maybe the most attractive feature now that most of us are locked in our houses and apartments is a virtual background. You can substitute your real environment with a virtual landscape provided by Zoom. It still looks artificial, but if you hold a conference on some particular topic and the background suits it, it makes the conference way more expressive. You can prepare for a particular meeting and try the background you find appropriate; as you start another meeting, the recent backgrounds will be displayed on the screen.
Private and Group Chats Joined
There is nothing new in this feature. If you remember chats of the 1990s, you’ll understand. But now, in after-WhatsApp time, a possibility to exchange private and group messages in the same chat is worth a lot. Zoom also supports threads, so each message can start a new thread within it.
Enter Chats with Your Camera and Mic Off
It’s probably one of the most important Zoom how-to instructions. If you’re not sure about your appearance, or you have another conversation going on, or something else – whatever. If you enter the chat with an inactive camera and mic, you confirm your presence there, but you have these seconds to stop another talk or whatever, get dressed if necessary, and then join the room. It’s done in Settings section of your Zoom app.
When at Your Computer, Use Hotkeys
The most necessary hotkey in Zoom is probably Mute. If you need to distract a little, you can press the space bar and turn your mic back on the same way. But there are more hotkeys in desktop versions of the Zoom app. There are other hotkeys, so you can quickly open text chats, switch video conference modes, start or stop recording your meetings, share your screen, stop sharing, and so on. Power users will benefit a lot from memorizing the hotkey list.
Use On-screen Emoji
Even when you’re muted, that’s the way to show the others you’re not completely off. You can send emoji from the app, and they will be visible to everyone as your reaction, showing for five seconds. So they will see you are still in touch, hearing what they talk about. This feature is active in both desktop and mobile versions of Zoom. The emoji panel is next to icons you click to mute audio or turn off your camera.
This feature is also useful if you decide you want to speak while someone is speaking already. Your raised hand serves as a sign you want to be the next speaker. This feature, though, needs to be activated by the host of the conference.
See All the Participants at Once, Except for Those with No Video
If there are less than 50 active speakers with video on in the current conference, you can view them all simultaneously. On desktops, you need to click “Gallery View”. On mobile devices, swipe left.
If there are 50 or more participants, though, this mode is also active. But you will have to flip pages of this tab to see them in sections. But if some of them are there only in voice mode, you can hide them from the view at all. You’ll keep hearing them as they speak, but nothing more. To do so, go to Settings-Video-Meetings and activate the “Hide Nonvideo Participants” option.
Filters Are the Speaker’s Best Friends
Well, if you are conducting the conference from home, and your current dress code is far from official, and you haven’t been about your appearance about a couple of days, let the filter do the work. Touch Up My Appearance is the feature that both women and men can find useful.
It’s available in the Video mode, by the arrow next to Start Video. It takes you to Video Settings, where you need to go to My Video and tick the box. The filter will smoothen your been-home-too-long appearance with its touch, and it’s quite accurate and gentle.
Hardly is there a video chat app that doesn’t support screen sharing. With it, you can watch videos together, analyze graphs and infographics, play games, and so on. This extremely useful feature is usually one click away. The icon for that is on the toolbar, and on one click you can share either your desktop or the active window. To stop the broadcast, just click the red button that appears on the top of your display.
Record Your Meetings Locally or to the Cloud
While other apps require special tricks or third-party solutions for recording, Zoom meetings are easy to record with built-in tools. Recording on your desktop requires neither subscription no extra payments. Alas, it doesn’t apply to mobile devices: they can record meetings only for the subscribers. After recording videos, you can just keep them for later analysis, or upload to Vimeo, YouTube, any cloud drive to share.
Paid account provides one more option: you can record your conference directly to the cloud. It’s available on both desktop and mobile clients, so you can choose any. All you have to do is activate the recording option in settings.
There are always more tips to learn and apply while using Zoom. As a conference tool, it’s beyond any doubt one of the best in 2020. If you know any extra tricks we missed, you can describe them in your comments. We will be grateful to you, as well as other users reading this.