Can I just get started Quickly?
Yes you can. Today we are going to go through some basic steps and soon you will be ready to start you first online meeting!
There are several products available. Some charge monthly fees and some are free. Today we are going to go through some steps using a product called Zoom. It has both a free subscription and a paid subscription. Let’s start with the free plan.
And, here is good news: we can use Zoom with Windows, Mac, IOS, and Android.
Create an Account
Like most products online, the first thing to do is create an account.
- Go to the Zoom home page
- At the top right click on “Sign up, it’s free”.
- Follow the wizard and we are all signed up.
Restrictions / No Restrictions
Just for a second, let’s pause and click on “Plan & Pricing”. We will see that some features have NO limitations and then other times there Are Limitations. So now is a good time to understand what we will be able to do with the free plan and what we can’t do with the free plan.
For example, we can have an
- unlimited number of meetings
- unlimited time for one-to-one meetings
So no worries there. But keep reading the plan specifications. Here’s an example of a limit: if we have a meeting with three or more participants, we will have a 40 minute time limit.
So, take a few minutes to check out the different plans to see if the free plan will fit your needs.
Let’s start an Online Meeting
Once we sign up for an account, we can jump right in to our first meeting. Once we log in to our zoom account, we can do one of three things:
- Schedule a Meeting
- Join a Meeting
- Host a Meeting
Let’s move forward and HOST a meeting. Once we hover over “Host a Meeting”, we need to make a choice:
- With Video on
- With Video Off
- Screen Share Only
We are on our way and will be prompted to download and install the Zoom Launcher file. Then we will be prompted to test our speaker and microphone.
First Zoom Online Meeting: A Few Tips
Here’s a few key tips to keep in mind as we navigate through our first zoom meeting.
- Invite. If we schedule a meeting, we can send out invites to the participants ahead of time. But if we are already hosting a meeting and need to remind someone or invite them at the last minute … no problem … we can invite them during the meeting. At the bottom of the meeting screen, click the “Invite” icon.
- We can choose to invite via “Email”, “Gmail”, “Yahoo Mail”
- (or my personal favorite) we can choose “Copy Invitation” and if we use Outlook email on our Desktop, we can open Outlook and paste the invitation link.
- Share Screen. At the bottom of our meeting screen, click the “Share” icon. Now in a split second, we can change from video conferencing to sharing our screen.
- This is great if we want to explain how to use a software or show a specific section of a document.
- Record. If we are training, this may come in handy. Click the “Record” icon and the meeting will be recorded.
- Chat and Mute. This is a tool that can be helpful if we have many people attending. For example:
- We can mute everyone and then unmute a certain participant at will.
- We can even mute participants on entry if we think that will help reduce distractions as everyone begins to join the meeting.
- Also in this Chat area, participants can type in messages for only us or for everyone to see instead of talking over each other.
Good Luck! And don’t forget, if you then need to share documents online, Dropbox may be a tool you may also want to look at. Zoom + Dropbox makes working remotely much easier!