This is the first part of a series of three blogs outlining how to set up and run Zoom social meetings. The first part is how to download and set up the Zoom App, the second part is topics for discussion and the third part is how to set up a zoom discussion/support group.
COVID 19 has brought many challenges to everyone, including loss of social contacts and social support. I have found Zoom (and Facetime) to be vital in keeping me connected to people around the world. I had a wide variety of Zoom experiences including teaching students in China online, a Zoom social group (ZSG), playing games with family, and several large business and social meetings. I have found some people are interested in setting up a Zoom meeting with friends and family, but they express anxiety at the prospect of doing so. I am writing this blog to take some of the mystery out of Zoom. The members of the ZSG have expressed a lot of positive comments to me about the value of the Zoom group over COVID19 and I hope that other people will share the Zoom group experience in their own way.
This blog is as of Jan 2021 but things change almost weekly so be patient and ask someone for help. My instructions are for a PC and not a MAC or IPAD or IPhone. You can Zoom on mobile devices, but the functions and settings are fewer.
For MAC users, there is a website with details about Zoom.
Zoom is free for 2 people and free for 40 min blocks for more than 2 people. Currently the paid subscription is $ 20 CDN mo.
Setting up the Zoom app.
If you are the group leader
- Decide on who you want to join the meeting and create a group in your email contact program. You will use this again and again. Send out an email to find out if people are interested. Some people will not be interested. Give people a couple of options for time. If you have multiple time zones, specify which time zone you are using.
Get familiar with the Zoom program. Download to your PC or Mac and open the program. Set up an account for yourself.
Schedule a meeting. Click on the Schedule a meeting Icon and open the screen and fill in the relevant information.
Send invitation to members. On the Zoom Home screen click on the 3 small dots and then click on Copy invitation.
Then open your email application and post the invitation.
Add the members from your contact list in the TO: line. Add any information about the meeting, topics or personal messages and send.
Have a practice meeting is you are a beginner.
Leader – open Zoom and click on Start for the meeting you have scheduled.
Members- click on the invitation in your email, follow the instructions on the screen, wait to be let into the meeting.
Once you are in the meeting, go through introductions and topics for the meeting. You might have some ideas about the order of speaking, time for speaking, how to interject etc. You might discuss with members. Usually the first meeting is just getting used to Zoom.
Once of the most frequently used functions is showing pictures. For PC users there is an icon if you move the mouse over the bottom of the Zoom screen called Share Screen. Before you use the Share Screen you should save your pictures to a short cut on your desktop or task bar before the meeting so they are easy to find.
Click on the photo you want to share or use Control/click to choose more than one.
To exit, Click on the Stop Share command at the top of the page.
If you do not have a strong WIFI speed, it is strongly recommended you use an Ethernet cable to your computer instead of the wireless network. A short one will cost about $ 25 US but usually one comes with your computer. Connect it from the port on your computer to your wifi Modem. A WIFI speed test is free online. A WIFI speed of 15 is adequate. A wifi speed of 5 or less may interfere with ZOOM transmission.
What not to do
- If there is more than one household member on the call, it is better for each to have their own screen/device and mute if the other is speaking.
- I don’t think social meetings of over 10 people work well.
- Differentiate between a party with family and a discussion/support group. Some meetings are more fun or work better than others. Some can be chaotic, others didactic. Choose your meetings wisely.