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Key Takeaways

  • Schedule recurring meetings with a single link to save time and allow attendees to plan in advance.
  • Start meetings with participants on mute to eliminate distractions and enable effective communication.
  • Disable automatic software updates to avoid delays during calls and ensure an up-to-date app experience.

As the virtual workplace has increasingly become the norm, more and more people are relying on Zoom for online calls. Zoom calls have become the de facto standard for remote meetings and collaboration.

Since its inception, Zoom has consistently introduced new features that users like us can leverage to make our meetings more efficient. Yet, despite the surge in its popularity, not many of us know how to make the best use of the app.

In this article, let's look at some tips and tricks to make your Zoom calls more effective.

Screenshot of Zoom meeting booking page

If you have any meetings that occur at regular intervals in time (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.), setting up recurring meetings is the ideal way to go. With Zoom's recurring meetings, you can use the same meeting ID and settings for each occurrence.

Scheduling recurring meetings can help you book several meetings in advance, thus reducing the time wasted setting up new ones each time. It also allows the attendees to plan their events well in advance, as they can see all their upcoming meetings when they connect their calendar to Zoom.

You can schedule recurring meetings by clicking Schedule an event on the Zoom client.

2. Kickstart Meetings With Participants on Mute

Screenshot of Zoom settings for muting participants when they join

Distracting talks and background noises can easily hamper your otherwise productive call. As the host of a meeting, you can choose to have everyone who joins the call starting out on mute. This ensures a quiet space where participants can only choose to unmute themselves when they wish to speak.

You can either choose to ask all the participants to unmute themselves when needed or set up a pre-approval process for unmuting individual participants.

You can enable this by going to Settings > View More Settings > Schedule Meeting, then enabling Mute all participants when they join a meeting.

3. Disable Automatic Software Updates

Screenshot of Zoom settings to enable/disable automatic updates

Zoom often upgrades its software to fix bugs and add new capabilities, which is great! But waiting for the updates to run when you have to hop on a call can be extremely annoying. To avoid this hassle, you can simply disable the automatic updates.

Once your meeting is over, you can then check for and install any available updates. This reduces call delays, while also ensuring that you get the most up-to-date app experience.

To disable automatic software updates, go to Settings > General and uncheck the checkbox for Automatically keep Zoom desktop client up to date.

4. Control Your Space With Waiting Rooms

Screenshot of Zoom settings for enabling/disabling waiting rooms

With Zoom's Waiting Room feature, the host can determine when a guest joins the call. You have the option of admitting participants one by one or admitting everyone at once from the Waiting Room.

If you have set up a waiting room for your meeting, the participants will see a default screen when they join the call. Zoom also allows you to customize this screen. You can add your company logo, some text, and an introductory video that participants can watch before joining.

To enable waiting rooms, go to Settings > View More Settings > Security, and enable the toggle button for Waiting Room.

5. Harness the Potential of Breakout Rooms

Screenshot of Zoom meeting for creating breakout rooms

Zoom's breakout rooms feature is highly recommended for meetings that may require the participation and collaboration of multiple smaller groups.

This can be ideal for brainstorming sessions or group projects. A Zoom meeting can be split into as many as 50 breakout rooms. The host can choose to automatically or manually assign the attendees to the breakout rooms.

To enable breakout rooms, go to Settings > View More Settings > In Meeting (Advanced), and enable the toggle button for Breakout Room - Rooms.

6. Banish Background Noise

Screenshot of Zoom settings for enabling/disabling in-app noise cancelation

Online meetings are highly susceptible to disruption from background noise. Noise from traffic outside, kids crying in another room, or alerts from household appliances can easily diminish the effectiveness of your call.

Using the noise-cancelation feature in Zoom can help to improve your Zoom audio quality by reducing the background noise. Zoom's noise-cancelation feature offers various levels of noise cancelation that you can choose based on your usage.

To use Zoom's in-built noise-cancelation, go to Settings > Audio > Background noise suppression, and select the optimal radio button for your setup (Auto, Low, Medium, High).

7. Get Captions at Your Fingertips

Screenshot of Zoom settings for enabling/disabling automatic captions

Meeting transcription is becoming more and more essential in workplaces that strive to be accessible and inclusive. Transcripts are also excellent for creating notes, reports, and other written materials following a meeting.

Transcription tools like Otter or the built-in transcription feature in Krisp, use AI for real-time transcribing, thus making meetings easy to follow for all attendees. Otter's meeting assistant can also generate content based on the meeting data and answer queries in the chat.

To enable breakout rooms, go to Settings > View More Settings > In Meeting (Advanced), and enable the toggle button for Automated Captions.

8. Improve Accessibility With Mouse Highlight

Screenshot of Zoom meeting screen share, showing the Spotlight button in Annotate toolbar

If you're doing a presentation or demo and want to share your screen, make sure the mouse spotlight option is turned on. The audience will be better able to concentrate on the content on the screen and follow your instructions while using the focus mode in Zoom.

When the mouse spotlight feature is on, a colored circle or spotlight will visually highlight the position and movements of your cursor. You can also use the "Vanishing Pen" feature to mark and make notes on the whiteboard or shared screen without worrying about erasing or undoing your scribbles.

While sharing your screen during a meeting, the spotlight feature is only available in the "Annotate" toolbar after you start sharing your screen.

9. Enhance Meeting Experience With Immersive View

Screenshot of Zoom meeting that shows the different views available for viewing other participants

Immersive view can help make your Zoom experience more fun. This feature provides several virtual backgrounds, such as an auditorium, a classroom, and a café, where all the attendees can be shown.

If a participant is using a desktop client, mobile app, or Zoom Room that does not support Immersive View, they will see the other participants in the default Gallery View or Speaker View.

The Immersive View feature is available when you click on View in the top-right corner of the meeting screen.

10. Master Meetings With Keyboard Shortcuts

Screenshot of Zoom settings for viewing all the available shortcuts

You can get much more out of Zoom if you take the time to learn and use the various keyboard shortcuts available. These allow you to rapidly do things like mute or unmute the sound, go into full screen, share your screen, and more.

Here are some handy shortcuts to try out:

  • Alt + V to start/stop your video
  • Alt + A to mute/unmute yourself
  • Alt + F to enter/exit full-screen mode
  • Alt + Shift + I to copy the meeting invite link

To view all the keyboard shortcuts available on Zoom, go to Settings > Keyboard Shortcuts.

Zoom Your Way Through Online Calls

With such amazing features, Zoom is the ideal tool for maintaining connections in a distant working or learning environment. It is a great way to keep in touch with people in this age of remote work and social isolation, whether you're having a meeting with coworkers, talking to relatives, or throwing a virtual birthday party.

Explore the tips and features mentioned above for more effective Zoom calls that will impress your colleagues and friends alike.