The video conferencing service Zoom has seen a huge surge in popularity and usage since he pandemic began in early 2020. Now it seems like everyone uses it for not only working from home and attending school from home, but also for book clubs, baby showers, birthdays, and hangouts.
Part of what makes Zoom one of the best video conferencing services is its resiliency at keeping calls going, despite wavering Wi-Fi and faltering 4G. Zoom elegantly figures out what to adjust on the backend to keep your call as smooth as possible, despite the occasional freeze.
Aside from its technical prowess, Zoom also has great features for making video calls better and more fun. You can smooth out your skin, drop in a virtual background, and automatically suppress loud noises. And yes, you can turn yourself into a cat, but—more importantly—do you know how to check that those settings are off before your next call?
These 10 tips highlight some of Zoom’s best features and will help you get the most out of your video calls, whether you’re working from home or just catching up with friends and family.
1. Mute/Unmute, Wear Headphones, Make Sure You’re Not a Cat
If you don’t typically join a lot of video calls, there are three basic skills you should master:
Mute your mic. When you’re not talking and not expected to jump in quickly, mute your mic. With groups of more than three people, it’s essential etiquette. Click or tap the microphone icon to mute and unmute, or use these shortcuts:
- Shift+Command+A (macOS)
- Alt+A (Windows)
Use headphones. Headphones and a microphone make calls sound so much better for everyone. Even an inexpensive pair helps. If you don’t have a microphone, the headphones alone still improve the quality for everyone else. Really.
Run an equipment check (and make sure you’re not a cat). A few minutes before any important call, launch Zoom to check your mic and video camera. In the desktop app, click your profile image > Settings > Audio. Choose the right input and output for your audio and mic. Test them. Then navigate to Video and do the same for your camera. Here, you’ll be able to see if there are any rogue video filters or effects on, so you can disable them before you get on a serious call. This is how you avoid the I-broadcast-myself-as-a-cat problem. It’s doubtless much funnier when it happens to someone else!
2. Touch Up Your Appearance
Zoom has an option called Touch Up My Appearance that adds a soft focus to your video. In other words, it smooths your skin. There’s a slider bar that lets you adjust how much of an effect it has. In the image, you can see it disabled (left) and enabled (right).
Before a meeting, go to profile image > Settings > Video > Touch up my appearance.
During a meeting, click the up arrow next to the Stop Video button and select Video Settings > Touch up my appearance…Read more>>