Methods to use Zoom like a professional: 15 video chat ideas and tips to attempt now

How to use Zoom like a pro: 15 video chat tips and tricks to try now

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Zoom video assembly and chat app has change into the wildly in style host to thousands and thousands of individuals working and learning from dwelling through the coronavirus pandemic. Regardless of a variety of privateness and safety points that arose alongside the platform’s fast progress, it now options end-to-end encryption and different methods to shield your account and your chats from Zoombombing and different privateness flaws. The platform additionally lately added a market for digital occasions, and is testing app integrations reminiscent of Slack and Dropbox. 

Whether or not you have been utilizing Zoom for years or have solely simply signed up in 2020, there are a variety of useful and enjoyable ideas, tips and hidden options you could find to improve your video chatting expertise and make your video conferences rather less bizarre.

Listed below are 15 methods to change into a Zoom grasp.

Learn extra: Final webcam ideas: Methods to look and sound nice on-line 

1. Change your background 


Change your Zoom background to area, or a customized picture.

Screenshot by Alison DeNisco Rayome/CNET

Nearly transport your self to the seashore, outer area or wherever else you may think about by customizing your background whereas on Zoom calls — everybody’s doing it as of late. You may learn our step-by-step information to altering your Zoom background on the desktop and cellular app, however mainly you go to Settings > Digital Background and choose or add the picture you need from there. Nevertheless, you do should guarantee that your system meets the entire necessities to take action. 

Learn extra: 10 free Zoom different apps for video chats

2. Mute your audio and switch off your digital camera by default

Diving for the mute audio and digital camera buttons as quickly as you enter a gathering can get outdated. Preserve your coworkers from seeing your bedhead or listening to your cat screeching by turning these off by default. To do it, go to Settings > Audio > Mute microphone when becoming a member of a gathering, after which Settings > Video > Flip off my video when becoming a member of a gathering

3. Mute and unmute with the area bar

When you find yourself referred to as on to talk, cease scrambling to click on the microphone button. You may press and maintain the spacebar to shortly mute and unmute your mic, proper out of your keyboard. 

Learn extra: Zoom, Skype, FaceTime: 11 ideas in your video chat apps

4. Activate the wonder filter

At this level, if you recognize the entire work at home recommendation about getting dressed and prepared prefer it’s a daily work day, however nonetheless do not assume you are trying your finest, Zoom’s Contact Up My Look characteristic could also be for you. The filter goals to easy over your look, making you look dewy and well-rested. Should you’ve ever used magnificence mode in your telephone’s selfie digital camera, you recognize what you are getting.

To show it on, click on the up arrow subsequent to Begin Video. Click on Video Settings, and beneath My Video, test the field for Contact Up My Look

5. Arrange a ready room for added privateness

You have in all probability heard about Zoombombing — when uninvited friends crash your Zoom assembly and disrupt it. A method to assist stop this from taking place is by enabling the Ready Room characteristic, so you may see who’s trying to hitch the assembly earlier than permitting them entry. To take action, go to Account Administration > Account Settings. Click on on Assembly, then click on Ready Room to allow the setting. (We have got extra recommendations on easy methods to stop Zoombombing in your conferences right here.)

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6. Create breakout rooms for smaller group discussion

Split your big Zoom meeting into up to 50 separate smaller sessions with breakout rooms. The meeting host can choose to split meeting participants into separate sessions automatically or manually, or can let participants select and enter any breakout session they like. The host can switch between sessions at any point. 

To start a breakout room as the host, go to Account Management > Account Settings. Under the Meeting tab, go to Breakout Room, and make sure the setting is toggled on. You’ll also see the option to allow meeting hosts to preassign participants to breakout rooms. (If the Breakout Room option is grayed out, that means it’s been locked, and you need to contact your Zoom administrator.)

7. Share your screen

Share your screen for a Zoom meeting (or to watch a movie or play a game) with other participants by clicking the Share screen icon on the toolbar at the bottom of the meeting screen. You’ll have the option to share your entire desktop, or just one of the windows you have open. Click the red Stop Share button at the top of the screen to go back to being a normal participant in the meeting. 

8. React with emoji on screen 

If you’re muted in a meeting, you can still let the hosts know your thoughts with emoji reactions. Send a thumbs up or a clapping emoji to communicate without interrupting the meeting (by default, those reactions have a yellow skin tone, but you can customize that on the Zoom desktop app). 

To react during a meeting, click the Reactions tab at the bottom of the meeting screen (it’s in the same panel as mute audio and video, to the right) and choose the one you want. Emoji will disappear after 5 seconds. 

If the meeting organizer enables the nonverbal feedback feature, participants can place an icon such as a raised hand next to their name to communicate. Every participant will be able to see each other’s feedback. 


Use Zoom on your phone or computer.

Angela Lang/CNET

9. Learn handy keyboard shortcuts

For those who don’t like clicking around their screen, Zoom has a ton of helpful keyboard shortcuts to help you navigate the app on your desktop without using your mouse. Find commands to join a meeting, start or stop recording, enter full screen and share your screen (more on that below). Check out Zoom’s full list of hot keys and keyboard shortcuts

10. Turn on gallery view

Gallery view lets you see everyone in the meeting at once, instead of just the person speaking. To turn that on, click the tab that says “Gallery view” in the top right corner. If the meeting has 49 or fewer attendees, you’ll see all of their screens displayed on one page. If there are more, you’ll have the option to move between multiple pages. Change it back by clicking “Speaker view” in that same top right corner. 

11. Hide nonvideo participants

On a larger call, your screen can get cluttered with participants, which can be distracting, especially if some don’t have their cameras on. Hide the participants who aren’t using video by going to Settings > Video > Meetings, and check Hide nonvideo participants. Now you’ll only be distracted by your co-workers’ pets and children who appear on video. 

12. Record the meeting to your computer

Both free and paid Zoom subscribers can record their meeting to their laptop or computer using the desktop app (you can’t record on mobile at the moment, unless you have a paid account — keep reading for more on that). Those recorded files can then be uploaded to a file storage service such as Google Drive or Dropbox, or a video streaming service such as YouTube or Vimeo. 

To enable local recording, go to Settings > Recording, and toggle it on. When you’re hosting a Zoom meeting, click the Record icon on the bottom toolbar. 


Zoom lets you keep your camera and mic muted automatically when you join a meeting, if you want to.

Angela Lang/CNET

13. Record a meeting to the cloud

If you have one of Zoom’s paid plans (which start at $15 a month), you can take a recording that will save directly to the cloud (or to your computer if you prefer). Tap the record button on the bottom toolbar, and you’ll have the option to make it either local or in the cloud. You can do this on either desktop or mobile. 

14. Host a group meeting longer than 40 minutes

On Zoom’s free basic tier, group meetings can only last up to 40 minutes (though one-on-one meetings are unlimited in time). To get unlimited group time, upgrade to a paid account. 

15. Host more than 100 people 

If you have a group of more than 100 people to host for work or school, you have to upgrade to a paid professional account. If you upgrade to the highest tier (Enterprise Plus), you can host up to 1,000 participants.

For more tips to help get you through social distancing and self-quarantine, check out whether you should use Zoom or Skype for working from home, our guide to everything you need to stay healthy and entertained while practicing social distancing, and all of the practical tips to help avoid coronavirus when you leave the house.

Watch our video on how to make your webcam video look and sound great online and make sure to subscribe to the How To Do It All channel on YouTube for more how to videos. 

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