How to Zoom

A guide to making your on-line meetings better 


Before the meeting starts:

  • If you're using a PC or laptop, shut down all programs, then shut down and restart the computer.
  • If you're using a phone or tablet, close all apps.
  • Only start the apps you will actually need for the meeting (e.g. your email).
  • Start Zoom

During the meeting:

  • Use a head-set or ear phones if possible. You will hear the conversation much better and it will make you sound clearer to the other participants when you speak.
  • Mute your microphone when you're not speaking to avoid background noises being picked up. Particularly relevant for large meetings with many participants.
  • If your video is stuttering or breaking up or if you have a slow connection, stop your camera and continue in sound only.

A few explanations

Restart

Your PC or laptop will perform much better and will be less likely to crash or freeze if you shut it down and re-start it just before your Zoom meeting starts.

On a phone or tablet, you can shut down any apps that are open.

Apps and programs

Every running app or program will slow down your device a little. To give Zoom a better chance at smooth audio and video, only start up apps or programs that you will be using during your Zoom meeting. This could be your email or Word, for example.

You should have downloaded and installed the Zoom app beforehand and have an icon you can click to get it started.

Audio quality

If your microphone is too far away (e.g. arm's length) you will sound distant and muffled and the other participants will struggle to make you out.

If you are listening on a loudspeaker, some of the sound from it will be picked up by your own microphone and fed back to the meeting. This will make you sound echoey, like you are in a cave (or a toilet). It may also cut off the start of your sentences.

Best solution to avoid all these problems is to use a headset - headphones with a microphone. This will make your voice sound a lot clearer and you will be able to hear the other participants better. It will also cut out background noise and allow you to better concentrate on the meeting.

For a PC or laptop, you should use a lightweight USB headset with a microphone (cost about 15). For a phone or tablet, you can use the ear buds that usually come with a mobile phone.

Background noise

Noise can be a problem if any participants are in a noisy environment. This is particularly noticeable in larger meetings, with more than 4 or 5 participants.

You should mute your microphone if you are not speaking or aren't engaged in a conversation. You can click the microphone icon on the screen. Most headsets will also have a dedicated mute button on their connecting cable.

If a meeting has a presenter or speaker, all other participants should be muted while the presentation is in progress.

Connection speed

If you have a poor connection or slow broadband, you may find that the other participants will see your picture freezing or stuttering. You may also get randomly disconnected and have to re-connect. This is mainly because pictures require much higher speeds than just sound.

Switch off your camera by clicking the camera icon on the screen. The other participants will still see your name icon and you will be able to see them. Continue the meeting in sound only, but with a more reliable connection.

Zoom app

You should have the Zoom app installed before you start using Zoom for the first time.

For PC and laptops, you can download it from the Zoom website (https://zoom.us/download - Zoom Client for Meetings). For phones and tablets, go to either Apple or Android app store and search for Zoom.

If you're using Zoom for the first time, you should create a Zoom account with a username (your email) and password - it's free. You will be able to personalise the Zoom app with your own preferences and settings.