Overview of ZOOM Calls

by Jason Puracal, Executive Director

If you have never used ZOOM before, you are in for a treat. This is a widely used and very user-friendly video conferencing tool, free for casual users. It is easiest to use from a laptop or video-enabled desktop, but you can also use it from a smartphone. You can call in to the video conference from any phone but that is harder for everyone. The Zoom account is free and lasts forever…you might discover other uses for it. Go to zoom.us to get started if you want to play!

You will get an invitation from your group leader, or potentially from the ESUC Office Assistant, with the zoom link for your group’s calls. That invitation will have a link to click on if you have not downloaded the small zoom program to your computer or phone.

Please do your downloading and experimenting at least the day before your first call. Please don’t wait until the last minute!

Tips & Requests

  • Please use a headset (microphone and earphones such as came with your phone will work on phones and some computers. Your computer might need a set with a usb plug on one end. Consider buying the kind of headset you need…this video conferencing business is not going away, and is a great boon to our carbon footprint!)
  • Ditto for a camera. Virtually all laptops have a built-in camera but most desktops don’t. Cameras are not very expensive. They clip on the top of your screen, plug in, and you are good to go with both microphone and camera. All smartphones have a camera. If you are planning to use your phone you might want to purchase a stand for your phone…or you can work out how to prop it up in the right place for your call.
  • You will get a lot more out of the calls if you use video, but if you can’t, you can’t. If someone else from your group is also planning to attend virtually, it is possible for two people to share a laptop or computer connection. Otherwise, you can use the dial-in option to join with audio only (like a conference call), however please understand you will not have all the same options as those participating with video.

Here are a few tips that can make a big difference in reducing technical difficulties while using the Zoom Webinar platform for your meetings:

  • Hardwired (ethernet) connections don’t drop as easily as wi-fi connections.
  • Prior to getting on Zoom, close all applications on your computer, restart your computer.

Have documents for your meeting open and in the best viewing mode prior to the meeting. You can minimize them and have them ready.