The Covid pandemic was a turning point in many people’s careers. Some quit their jobs, others moved house. The vast majority discovered Zoom. 

Not surprisingly, in the first months of the pandemic, the number of people using Zoom increased nearly 3,000%.  

For many, it was a brilliant answer to what had been a previously unnecessary question: how do we meet when we’re not all in the same room?

For some of those new users, switching to Zoom was a crash course in understanding how to unmute, what NOT to have showing in your background, and how to keep your cat from upstaging you in front of your boss. 

Of course, by now, virtual meetings have become the new normal. Most of us have figured out the basics. 

But maybe you don't know that Zoom has a lot of amazing features that can boost your productivity and let you create zoom meetings more easily and efficiently than ever. 

Here are some of our favorite tips for virtual meetings on Zoom that will take your expertise way past cat filters. 

1. Push-to-talk setting

If you’re in a meeting with lots of people, you may have a company rule that everyone is on mute if they’re not speaking. The problem with that is remembering to unmute when you want to speak. 

“Um.. hang on a moment. Let me find the button.. “

The Push-to-talk setting removes all the fumbling. All you need to do is press your space bar when you want to talk. Hold it down while you’re talking and release it when you’re done. 

Easy peasy!

To get this in place, head to the desktop client. Click on your photo and select settings. Then choose the Audio tab. Finally, check the box next to “Press and hold SPACE key to temporarily unmute”.

Zoom push to talk setting2. Focus mode

It’s great to be able to see everyone in your meeting. But how do you know if they’re paying attention? Are they listening to you, or are they watching the antics of your colleague’s cat? 

When in doubt, use Focus mode. This setting means that participants can only see the hosts’ screens in addition to their own. So there’s a much better chance that they’ll be paying attention to what you are saying or presenting. 

As the host, you will be able to see everyone's video, but individuals can’t be distracted by the goings-on on anyone else’s screen.

3. Remote control 

Have you ever had a Zoom meeting with someone who needs help doing something on their computer? It could be a colleague, a customer, or even a technically challenged in-law! 

“OK, if you look at the top right of your screen, you’ll see a button ... 

No, not that one. It should look like a green arrow ...

Yes, that's it. Now right click on that … “

Sometimes it works. But it always takes longer than it needs to. What if you could do it for them?

With Zoom’s remote control you can. It’s easy to request access and easy for them to allow it. When you have remote control access, you can click, type and scroll their screen just as if it was yours. This goes to show that two mice can be better than one! 

4. Whiteboard 

One of the complaints we hear about remote working is that when everyone isn’t in the same physical space, it’s difficult to collaborate. Zoom’s Whiteboard is the answer.

When you enable Whiteboard on your account, you will be able to share a virtual whiteboard as part of screen sharing options. When you start creating on it, your colleagues will see that in real-time. In fact, you can type, write, draw, insert stamps, change the line color and the thickness.

Zoom whiteboard
At the same time, your team members can annotate it as well. Everyone can join in the fun! And you can have each person’s work marked with their name so you know how each person is contributing. 

 

So whether you’re creating a mind map, getting feedback or having a good old brainstorming session, the Whiteboard function is your friend!  

5. Integrations 

Productivity really soars when you integrate Zoom with other tools you use. Check out the Zoom apps marketplace to see the hundreds of integrations that allow you to automatically 

And so much more!

YouCanBook.me has a direct integration with Zoom which means that every new booking is automatically assigned its own unique Zoom link. This is especially helpful if you have a lot of back-to-back meetings. 

Once integrated, you don’t have to log in to either account to create Zoom meetings or send the link. Just use the {ZOOM} tag in your YouCanBook.me settings to automatically include the unique link everywhere you need it.
Zoom tag in YouCanBook.me email notificationYour team members can automatically create Zoom meetings too. 

When you use the Team Management feature, each team member can integrate their own Zoom account with their YouCanBook.me account. So even a booking page with multiple people listed on it can create unique Zoom links for every team member

Recruitment agency WittKieffer prizes YCBM’s Zoom integration to connect with candidates.

Find out why! 

6. Extensions and plug-ins

Extensions and plug-ins allow you to embed Zoom capabilities directly into systems that you’re already using. This can save you huge amounts of time and clicks because you no longer need to open up your Zoom account. You can literally create Zoom meetings on the fly.

Zoom Chrome extension

A great example is the Chrome extension. This adds a Zoom icon into your browser bar. Just click on the icon to start, join or schedule a meeting. If you schedule a meeting in advance, it will automatically be added to your Google calendar.  

There are similar extensions for Outlook and Firefox.

Zoom has come a long way in terms of improving the quality of your calls. Today, you’ve got no excuse for having a messy room behind you, noisy roommates, or poor lighting. Zoom’s settings can fix all this for you.


7. Improve the look and sound of your Zoom meetings 

At the beginning of the global lockdown, it was pretty common to see unmade beds, dirty dishes, and toddlers playing in people’s backgrounds.

But those can be a big distraction if Focus mode isn’t on when you’re trying to make an important point in a meeting or impress a potential employer!

Take some time to check out Zoom’s background options, or select a photo of your own. You won’t have to worry about revealing more of your personal habits than you might want! 

Position yourself anywhere in the world. From fake office spaces, luxury penthouse living rooms, tropical beaches - even your favorite TV coffee shop or living room! 
Zoom backgrounds

If your meetings don’t have space for that kind of humor, consider blurring your background instead.

Zoom introduced this option in early 2021 and it can be a lifesaver when your office space may not be quite as neat as the presentation you’re giving! 

While your background may be a remote tropical island, you may actually still live in a dark, kind of noisy apartment! 

In that case, you can adjust your video quality to adjust for low light and touch up your appearance (and remove the infamous cat filter!)  

I’m guessing on that tropical island, you wouldn’t have to worry about kids, roommates, or noisy neighbors. But back here, in reality, you can suppress all those background noises. Laptop fans, pens tapping, papers crunching and keyboard typing won’t be audible in the meeting. 

You can find all the options on the Audio and Video tabs of your settings. 

Conclusion

So there you have our seven top tips to improve your Zoom meetings. Zoom may no longer be the ‘cool new thing’. Beyond work meetings, people have used it to catch up with friends, meet new grandchildren, play in a band - even get married!   

But that doesn’t take away from Zoom’s ability to enable teams to work together and be more productive. These tips help you take that up a notch by creating better meetings more easily.

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Kate Reynier

Written by

Kate Reynier

Kate was an early YouCanBook.me employee and loved supporting our Customers for almost a decade. She's now focused on spreading the word about online scheduling, how to improve productivity, and the Oxford comma.

Kate Reynier

Written by

Kate Reynier

Kate was an early YouCanBook.me employee and loved supporting our Customers for almost a decade. She's now focused on spreading the word about online scheduling, how to improve productivity, and the Oxford comma.

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