Using Zoom for Videoconference Calling - A Summary

1. Hosts

Initial set-up. Download the Zoom Client for Meetings software to your desktop computer (from https://zoom.us/download/) or the Zoom app (from your usual app provider) to your tablet or smartphone. You will be asked to sign up via your email address and set your own password, or sign up via Google or Facebook. You will then be given your own Zoom account with a unique 10-digit number. There are prompts for settings e.g. test computer audio speakers/headphones and microphone, video etc. Make sure you select speakers or headphones according to your preference and make sure audio and video are both turned ON – icons are usually at the bottom left of window.

Arrange a meeting. Zoom offers multiple methods to schedule a meeting. As host, you will need to arrange your meetings in advance, and you have control over the options for your scheduled meetings. Open Zoom, or use the web portal, and click on the Schedule icon. Complete the information as appropriate. This will include the date, the start time and the finish time. You may also be given the option to give the meeting a topic name and a description. A password (or passcode) is also now required.

Notification of meeting. You may find you have the option to send out invitations direct by email via contacts, but if not the easy option is to click or tap on ‘Copy the Invitation’. You can copy and paste the full invitation and send out to participants by email-or notify participants by some other means. Then everyone will have the topic name, the date and time of the meeting, a link to click or tap on to start, the meeting ID (which is the same 10-digit number as your Zoom account number) and the password (or passcode).

Joining and running the meeting. Just open the Zoom software or app just before your meeting and click or tap on the long unique Zoom link for your meeting (i.e. the link you have previously sent to participants), or alternatively key in your meeting ID and password (or pass code) to join meeting–and wait for the others to join you. As host you need to admit them to the meeting from the waiting room.

2. Participants

The main thing to remember is that someone is appointed to be HOST. They do all the work (as shown above)! They book the slot and issue an invitation to all participants. This information will be in an email sent to you in advance of the meeting and 4 key elements:

  • Topic – the name of the meeting.
  • A Link to the Zoom Meeting \'Room\' e.g. https://us04web.zoom.us/...............
  • The Meeting ID of 10 digits (This is the host’s number)
  • The Password (or passcode)

You might think that you first have to install Zoom on your computer. You don't necessarily have to but it is the preferred option for many good reasons. All you need is that link above and this detects whether you have Zoom installed and, if not, prompts you to download and temporarily install it. BUT if you download, install and open Zoom in advance of the meeting, it saves time when joining a meeting. See detail above.

There are prompts for settings on your computer tablet or smartphone e.g. Test computer audio speakers/headphones and microphone, video etc. Make sure you select speakers or headphones according to your preference and make sure audio and video are both turned ON–icons are usually at the bottom left of window. At the bottom of the window usually there’s a 'Participants' button. This opens an extra window showing all meeting participant’s names a long with who is the host, ability to figuratively raise your hand for attention and ‘Mute' and ‘More' options buttons. Different installations of Zoom can show somewhat different layouts on different devices but the main features are common. It would be worthwhile playing around to gain familiarity and confidence ahead of using it for real.

Should the session time out (after 40 minutes for the free edition with 3 or more participants) the meeting screen just disappears with no warning - the session ends whether you like it or not! At present you can re- start the meeting for another 40-minute period, and for further 40-minute periods after that if you wish.

Helpful tutorials here - https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/206618765-Zoom-Video-Tutorials

With acknowledgements to Ian McLauchlin – Exmouth and District U3A RAPv1 Feb 2021