Kelsey Starks Media, LLC
Step 1: Create a Zoom account – it’s free to sign up! There’s a Pro version available, but if you just need a quick solution to meet on video, the free version provides all the capabilities and features you need. Either way, it takes about 30 seconds to sign up for a Zoom account. Here are the main differences in a nutshell:
Step 2: Download the Zoom Meetings software on your desktop and mobile. You can find the download center here. From there, just sign in, and you’re ready to go!
I don't want to recommend you get any fancy equipment, but if you do want to make the investment to improve your video quality, sound and lighting, I do have some suggestions.
First of all, test your built-in webcam on your laptop or desktop. I have a mac and it offers 1080-HD quality video, but I think my iphone video works even better. Zoom offers an app you can download and use your phone for video. If you do choose to use a phone, make sure you prop it up on a secure surface to avoid shakiness or any movement, which can be very disconcerting to your viewers.
If you do like to have the video from your laptop or need your phone available for other tasks while you are video conferencing, consider a Logitech Brio webcam. My desktop and iphone video are comparable to this quality, if not better, so I wouldn't spend the money on it unless you have an older computer or phone that are unusable.
A set of airpods can also help improve your sound quality. If you are making a video for your website or business, I suggest ditching the headphones, but they work great for a conference call to limit outside noise, boost your sound and mitigate distractions.
You can find more tips on lighting in my course, but a window can light your face wonderfully. Use natural light whenever possible. If you need additional lighting, I have a small ring light that I like to use. I like this one because it is small and has a great, adjustable stand for my phone, which is what I use for most of my videos.
Zoom also offers adjustments for your bandwidth and internet. If your internet connection is spotty, zoom will automatically prioritize audio which is another great feature I love.
When you’re all set up with the software, the setup, and your internet, go to www.zoom.us/test to test your audio and video. You’ll join a quick test meeting to help get your communication settings all squared away.
Everyone loves experimenting with zoom's virtual backgrounds because they can be funny or interesting, but my rule of thumb is to avoid them in professional situations. They are more distracting than helpful, in my opinion. Just tidy up your background and find a space without distraction.
This is a tip from the zoom website. You can stay on mute in large meetings, which is advisable so your doorbell or dog barking isn't picked up. You can hold the spacebar to unmute for a quick pop-in which is easier to manage than changing your settings.
Zoom supports real-time collaboration through the whiteboard feature. While whiteboarding can be difficult from most devices without a touch screen, consider joining the meeting with an iPad and then share/whiteboard on the iPad.
I use Gmail, so I’m going to go through that specific workflow, but you can find more on calendar integration here if you use Office 365 or Exchange.
Here’s a <1-minute video on how to integrate your calendar (Gmail demo):
Making design or doc edits is so much easier when you can jointly annotate and make edits. Make sure you leverage the co-annotation capabilities to simplify collaboration.
I use in-meeting chat as a way to share links or resources that may be discussed in the meeting. For example, team members will share Google docs, URLs, or just quick comments (as to not disrupt ongoing conversations).
This capability can be enabled via your Zoom settings. It helps reduce under-eye baggage and mild skin blemishes, giving you a more polished look.
Your office setup might be dialed on your security preferences, but your remote working setup might need some help. Zoom has a ton of great features to protect your meetings and provide privacy. With Zoom, you can:
Trips to the coffee maker, the water cooler, or in-person meetings typically break up your day at the office, and it’s important to keep up similar routines at home. Our main recommendation is to keep up your routine just as you would if going into an office. Doing all the things you do in the morning — brushing your teeth, showering, eating breakfast, etc. — will help you embrace the change and stay focused.
Here are a few other work-from-home tips from some of our Zoomies:
There are lots of great resources out there on best practices for working from home and hosting digital experiences. Here are a few:
Just remember — everyone on your team is most likely in the same boat. A dog barking or doorbell ringing while in a meeting isn’t the end of the world. Do your best to prepare your workspace, adjust to your new routines and work setting, and shrug off the little things. You’re doing great!!