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How to Use Zoom for Virtual Meetings

We have tested all the available meeting tools, including Skype, Hangouts, GoToMeeting, Zoom. And we have spoken to many boards that already do virtual board meetings.

Based on that research we recommend using Zoom. It works well on all devices and is the easiest for everyone to get connected. All you need is a smartphone or a laptop.

Invitations

Invitations to the meeting are sent by a "meeting organiser". This is often the chair, but the chair may delegate it to someone else (e.g. manager, secretary, staff member).

Only the meeting organiser (the person sending out invitations) has to pay for Zoom. Zoom is free for everyone else attending the meeting.

The invitations can be sent a long time before the meeting, days or even months.

The invitation contains a link to join the Zoom meeting. To prepare for the meeting, you can click on that link as soon as you receive the invitation to install Zoom.

If you are the meeting organiser, we have a separate section at the bottom of this page to help you send out invitations.

Connect

To connect to a virtual meeting, click on the link the meeting organiser sent with the invitation.

That link shows how to install Zoom, if you haven't already done so.

Note, only the meeting organiser has to pay a subscription to Zoom. As an attendee you can use Zoom for free. You do not need to register or sign in or pay.

We recommend you use a device that has a built-in video camera and microphone, e.g. a smartphone or laptop.

Zoom is pretty good even at slow network speeds. So if you can watch YouTube videos you should be OK to go.

Raise Hand

It can feel awkward to interrupt a speaker during a virtual meeting. In a face-to-face meeting you can catch the attention of the speaker in a number of different ways. Like raising your hand or saying “excuse me”.

During a virtual meeting the speaker is probably not watching your video stream. So they won’t see you waving your hand.

Zoom has a handy feature called “Raise Hand” that lets the speaker and the chair know that you want to say a few words.

Learn more: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/205566129-Raise-Hand-In-Webinar

Meeting Organiser

This section is only for the person sending out invitations to the virtual meeting (the "meeting organiser"). You can skip this section if someone else sends the meeting invitations.

To invite people you need to install Zoom and create an account. Then you can schedule the meeting and send out invitations before the meeting.

You need to pay a subscription to schedule a board meeting (€14 per month in March 2020). Only the meeting organiser (the person sending out the invitations) needs to pay. The meeting is free for the others.

Zoom sends invitations by email, and it may suggest text messages if you schedule on a phone. You can use either. But if you normally communicate through email it is best to use the same for invitations. Alternatively, you can copy and paste the invitation text and put it in your own email or the board pack.

We recommend you use the following settings when you schedule the meeting:

  • Turn on password - Zoom uses short passwords, similar to a PIN, but they stop unauthorised people from disturbing your meeting.
  • Turn on video - both for host and for participants, to make the meeting more personal.
  • Set “Audio Option” to “Device audio only” - the sound quality is very poor when people call in via telephone. And most people have a laptop or mobile with built-in camera and microphone.
  • Turn off “Enable waiting room” - otherwise you have to admit each person into the meeting. It still works, but can cause delay and confusion when people connect.

Learn more: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362413-Scheduling-meetings

More Information

This guide is part of our Guide to Virtual Board and Committee Meetings