6 Zoom features for managing virtual meetings

When I started working with the international Entrepreneurs’ Organization in 2017, it was the first time that I used Zoom. Until then, I had used Skype and WhatsApp for international calls and meetings, but Zoom was a breakthrough for me when it came to video quality, sound, sharing screen, and the ease of creating a meeting and connecting with everyone involved.

While most of the people I work with are business owners and companies’ senior officers – it was important for me to create these meetings in a platform that gets the job done. Thus, with time, Zoom became my main tool for creating remote meetings with people across the world, especially for larger groups.

When the coronavirus crisis started, suddenly all the world started using Zoom, Google’s Hangouts, and Microsoft Teams. Even Facebook launched their chat rooms. Quickly, the brains behind Zoom understood that they needed to create significant changes to keep their platform relevant, resulting in their developers working around the clock to add valuable features, including enhanced security.

As with any platform, Zoom has its disadvantages. However, nowadays almost every laptop has a downloaded Zoom application, and each Zoom pricing plan tells exactly what it offers and what it doesn’t. There’s no doubt that this is an accessible and friendly platform for users.

Here are some Zoom features worth knowing about, whether you use it for work meetings, webinars, personal gatherings, or events.

Zoom
Zoom understood that they need to create significant changes to keep their platform relevant | Photo: visuals

1. Adding slides from a presentation as a virtual background

Until recently, there have been few options for sharing your screen in Zoom, but none of them delivered the feeling that the speakers are there as well. You could look at the speaker while the presentation is reduced to a small window (bonus feature for those who don’t know this yet), but it may make the slides harder to read.

Zoom took the slide sharing forward, or more accurately, got the idea from their competitor mmhmm, and now lets you insert your slides as a virtual background. Moreover, this feature enables you to play with your face size, which is an additional way to break a presentation monotony in the virtual world.

Who is it for?
All those who deliver a webinar, prepare a presentation for a work meeting, want to have a virtual personal gathering, and more.

2. Virtual background

Want to hide the mess you have at home? Check. Interested in adding a background with your business logo? Check. Thinking of a way to break the ice in a virtual meeting with a funny photo of your cat? Check.
Well, a virtual background has more advantages aside from presenting slides in a creative way. You can add your dream office or next vacation photos, but also insert videos as a background.

Who is it for?
Everyone who uses Zoom.

Zoom virtual background
Brand your business or break the ice during a meeting. Virtual background | Photo: Zoom

3. Polls

A tool that lets you ask large participants groups questions, and receive an indication or create an interaction. You can deliver multiple polls in one meeting and share the answers anonymously with your audience. Both questions and answers are saved in your account, meaning you can use them as a future data or for comparison needs. Much easier than a poll in a physical, face-to face lecture, right?

Who is it for?
Webinars speakers, meeting moderators, managers of large groups.

 

Organizing virtual meetings? Read my 11 tips

4. Breakout rooms

When most of our social interactions move to virtual platforms, it is hard to create networking opportunities or get to know someone deeper, beyond a chat with dozens and even hundreds of participants. Breakout rooms feature answers to this need, and let you divide the participants into multiple meeting rooms. I hope Zoom will make technical improvements here, but until then, it’s a wonderful way to brainstorm together, create a conversation among participants, or make the communication more personal.

Who is it for?
Teams, workshop, and courses participants.

Zoom breakout rooms
A way to create networking or deeper connections. Breakout Rooms | Photo: Youtube

5. Reactions

In our current culture, a platform where you can’t react with an emoji does not exist. Remember that once we could only press like on Facebook? Even LinkedIn extended their expression choices.

Until recently Zoom had two emojis (reactions in Zoom language) – thumbs up and clapping hands. Now you can react with a heart, tears of joy, open mouth, or party popper. I recommend you use reactions during work meetings when you don’t want to break a conversation sequence, as an assistance tool for moderating and more.

Who is it for?
Speakers, employees and managers, social meetings organizers.

5. Whiteboard

As a serial user of digital tools to manage my life, even I benefit from physical tools to organize my mind or thoughts. Usually it’s a notebook and pen or whiteboard and markers. Zoom has transferred this board to their platform, enabling you to share it with other meeting participants, mark notes in real time, draw on photos, and more. As on a physical whiteboard, you can delete your drawings if you made a mistake, but the bonus here is that you can save your boards and use them in the future.

Who is it for?
Teams who would like to brainstorm, speakers, and moderators of small meetings.

Are you interested in getting to know Zoom deeper, receive tips for organizing virtual meetings, or learn how to effectively deliver such meetings? Let’s talk.

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