Zoom Tips And Tricks to Manage Your Video Conferences Better

by Pratik

Zoom is a popular video conferencing app that lets you create and host meetings online. And ever since the government all of the world have placed their citizens on lockdown, netizens are using Zoom for all sought of things, including – work meetings, virtual classrooms, church services, and even blind dates and marriages.

While it’s easier to get started with Zoom, a lot of features are hidden options in advanced menus like auto disabling your mic, recording a zoom meeting, touching up your appearance, virtual video background and much more. So, here are some Zoom video app tips and tricks to make most out of it.

Zoom Tips And Tricks

1. Touch up my appearance

Similar to ‘Beauty Face Mode’ on most smartphone cameras, Zooom offers “Touch up my appearance” filter which smoothens out the skin, removes the marks and blemishes.

To activate it, open the Zoom app and on the homepage, click the gear icon for Settings in the upper right corner.
Select Video. Within the Video Settings look for “Touch Up My Appearance.” Check the box to turn it on.

As of now, this feature is available one Zoom Desktop Client for Mac or Windows and Zoom Mobile App for iOS. Unfortunately, there is no support for Android.

before-and-after-touch-up

2. Virtual Background

Zoom has a fun little option, that lets you change your messy room background to any image or even a video. You can either choose from the default background images provided by Zoom or upload a picture of your own.

To set it up, open the Zoom app, click your profile in the top right corner, and click Settings and then choose Virtual Background. Here, you can either use the default background image or upload a photo from your computer. Now, when you host a video, the solid background behind you will be replaced by the virtual background you have provided. To have the best effect, make sure you use an even green color background.

To activate virtual background from a Zoom Android and iOS app, open the app and start a meeting. Next tap the three dots at the bottom right of the screen to open the More menu and tap on Virtual Background.

Additionally, it’s a dirty trick but people are pasting their attentive looking picture as virtual background during lectures. This ensures that you can still virtually bunk your lectures without anyone knowing about it. Now, if you want to fill in your looping videos like the ones on Twitter, you would need a Zoom Room subscription that costs $50/month.

The Virtual background option is not available for Android.

3. Automatically turn off your mic and video

With Zoom when you join a meeting from the app, it automatically turns on your mic and camera. This might be okay when you are hosting the meeting or joining at the start of it. However, when you are attending the meeting midway, it might disturb other participants and the host. Moreover, Zoom doesn’t give you a video preview until you join the call. So, it’s smart to always turn off your mic and video when you join a meeting. You can enable this within Meetings under the Settings menu.

auto-mute-my-audio-video

 

4. Lock Sharing

When you are hosting a meeting of about 100 people (that’s Zoom video limit), it’s hard to control the chat section. To avoid people unnecessary or mistakenly sharing their screens, URLs, Photos, it’s better you disable sharing altogether. To do that, once the meeting’s started, tap on “More” options on the bottom-right side. Next, tap on Meeting Settings and enable the “Lock Share” toggle.

This will disable everyone (including you) from sharing photos, screens, URLs, and everything. You can turn back the toggle on when you want to share screen or important documents.

lock-share-on-zoom-meetings

5. Put Participants On Hold

Zoom recently turned on waiting rooms, by default, for all meetings. In case you didn’t know, waiting rooms don’t let participants directly join a meeting room. Initially, they’ll be directed to the waiting room and have to wait for the host’s approval.

So, you can use this waiting room to put participants on hold and lock them temporarily when you want to discuss things privately. You can later allow the participant back into the meeting room. To send a participant in the waiting room, head over to the Participants tab and long-press on their name. From the pop-up options, tap on “Put in Waiting Room”. Later you can allow the participants back in the meeting room through the same Participants window.

zoom_waiting_room

6. Change Host

By default, when you create a new meeting and add participants, you are treated as the host of the meeting. Now. when the host leaves the meeting, it is ended. Hence, in case you have to leave early, make sure you transfer the host position to some other participant. To do that tap on the Participants icon at the bottom and on the Participants tab, tap on any participant and select “Make Host”.

make-participant-host - zoom tips and tricks

However, making a participant host provides him all the privileges. He can mute/unmute participants, kick out people from the meeting, start/stop screen sharing, record the meeting, etc.

7. Record Meetings

It really comes in handy if you record important Zoom meetings. For instance, suppose you are providing a lecture on an important topic or just knowledge training to your peers. Later on, these recordings are easy to redistribute as hands-on materials or knowledge archives. Now, the free variant of Zoom only allows you to locally record a meeting and by default, Zoom only allows the host to record meetings.

Zoom apps for Android and iOS cannot record meetings locally. Hence, in the free version, you cannot record meetings on the Zoom Android and iOS apps.

In case you want to record a meeting, you need to ask the host to provide you record permission. The host can allow record permission to any participant. The recording file can be accessed under the “Recordings” tab in the Meetings menu or on your local folders. The local Recording folder can be changed via Zoom’s settings. Moreover, you can also set up an auto-record on Zoom meetings to start recording as soon as the meeting starts.

zoom_store_recordings

8. Control the audience

Zoom provides you a personal meeting ID which is evident when you click on the big “New Meeting” button. Now, if you hold a meeting with your “My Personal Meeting ID” then anyone with that link on the Internet can join your meeting. Consider your personal meeting ID as your skype ID. So, anyone with that meeting link can “Zoombomb” (it’s a word!) your meeting. Hence, the basic guideline is to never hold a public or private meeting with this personal meeting ID.

Moreover, password protect your meetings so that the participants have to enter the password while joining in the meeting. An additional tip is to try hosting your meetings from your laptop. The mobile device doesn’t have all the settings like advanced sharing options, recording settings on-the-go.

password-protect-zoom-meetings - zoom tips and tricks

9. Add Phone as Webcam

Now, I have been doing this quite a lot on Skype. You can use your phone as a webcam for your Zoom meetings, in case you have a broken webcam or the existing one is crappy. You would have to use a third-party app called IP Webcam Lite (Windows and Android) or IP Camera Lite (Mac and iOS) to connect your phone as an external webcam. These apps let you use your Android’s Full-HD camera as a webcam for your Zoom meetings.

Download IP Webcam (Android | Windows)

Download IP Camera Lite (Android | iOS | Windows | macOS)

10. Integrate Slack

Zoom already integrates with Google calendar and if you are a GSuite user, there’s no problem. However, we use Slack as our means of communication rather than hangouts and it’s tedious to copy/paste and send the meeting link to everyone. Hence, I use the Zoom extension apps for Slack which lets you access slack within the Slack window. For instance, I just have to ping in the channel “/zoom meeting Article_Discussion” and it instantly creates and shares a meeting link with everyone. It works seamlessly and saves a lot of time.

Connect Zoom with Slack

Connect Slack with Zoom

zoom-slack-integration - zoom tips and tricks

11. Cancel Noise

Krisp is a fabulous AI-based tool that cancels noise from your audio. Krisp has a Windows, macOS, and a Chrome extension. You can use it to filter our noise coming from your microphone and speaker. We have a dedicated article on Krisp’s noise cancellation and it works with a bunch of other video conferencing apps as well.

12. ByPass Zoom’s Attention Tracking

In case the host has enabled the attention tracking feature, you cannot slag off in the meeting. Basically, you cannot put the Zoom app in the background. There is no direct hack to bypass this attention tracking feature. Either you have to use a different device or set up the meeting on your laptop and use your phone to chill. However, there is one neat hack that lets you get away from the attention tracking feature – use the older version of the Zoom app. The attention tracking feature wasn’t available until Zoom 4.0. Hence, use the older 3.6 version.

Download older Zoom (3.6.9011.1018)

Closing Words

These were some of the tips and tricks for Zoom. I have been using it for a couple of weeks now since we started working from home. Compared to Skype, I found it feature-rich but slightly less-intuitive. For more queries or issues regarding Zoom, let me know in the comments below.

Also Read: 10 Microsoft To Do Tips and Tricks to Manage Tasks Better

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