By Janice Martin, Director of Programs and Services
These days it’s hard to watch the news or scroll through Facebook without hearing someone mention Zoom. While it’s only one of many video conferencing tools available, it seems to have become the most talked about. As we continue to keep our distance amid the COVID-19 pandemic, video conferencing is bridging the physical gap and allowing us to safely socialize in all areas of our daily lives using what had been a corporate tool. Even the Sertoma staff is using Zoom for staff meetings!
So why talk about Zoom here on the Sertoma website? Because Sertoma has a business account with Zoom that is used by the board, the specialists, and the national staff. But, that’s not the end of list. It’s also available for club use! A business account allows video conferences to last longer than 40 minutes so there is no need to rush through all your important conversations.
First, let’s talk about the W’s: who, what, when, where, and why.
- WHO: Sertoma clubs!
- WHAT: You’ll need a laptop, desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone with a camera or webcam, and an internet connection. If there is no microphone on the device (most do these days), you can use one of these devices for the video part and simply call in to hear the audio and speak to others.
- WHEN: You tell us!
- WHERE: From the comfort of your own homes
- WHY: To hold regular club meetings, club board and committee meetings, and because Sertomans love to get together for all sorts of things: socializing, planning, brainstorming, and doing so much good work within their communities.
It may not start with the letter W, but we can’t for HOW! It’s just as important as the W’s and probably the most frequent cause of the need to pause when it’s a new and unfamiliar process. While it simple isn’t possible to include an exact list of click-here-then-click-there steps for each and every type of device and platform that Zoom can be used on, it is possible to provide a broad list that applies to them all.
1. The first step is to decide the details of your Zoom video conference
- Time (remember time zone)
- Who to invite
2. Next, set up your own personal (free) Zoom account on the device you will be using to host the video conference (laptop, desktop computer, table, smartphone)
3. Complete a reservation request to hold your slot through Sertoma’s business Zoom account HERE
4. Once your video conference is set up, you will receive an email with all the details you’ll need to send out your invitation emails. By emailing the invites, your attendees will be able to connect to the video conference through one simple click.
- If the attendee already has a Zoom account set up on their device, it will open up and they will be connected
- If they do not have an account on the device they are using, they will be prompted and walked through the process of setting up their account, then be connected to the meeting
5. As the organizer of the video conference, be sure to be early to the meeting to avoid any technical difficulties on your end
That’s it! Really! After the first time participating in a Zoom video conference, you’ll be a pro.
Okay. I get it. You want to be a Zoom rock star. Here are a few tips to help you shine and wow the crowd!
- Make sure your face isn’t in the shadows
- Try to sit so you aren’t backlit
- The mute function is your friend (and everyone else’s) so don’t be afraid to mute yourself. It will make everyone’s experience better.
- Loud noises outside (mowers, neighbors dog barking at the squirrels right outside your window, the kids are just having one of those days)
- Someone else is banging pots and pans or has the TV up loud
- You have a cough that just won’t stop
- Just had a great dinner of pesto and pasta? You might want to check for those little green flecks in your teeth.
- Hair and/or makeup to your liking?
- While the dress code is usually much more relaxed during a video conference (especially during non-corporate ones) you are visible and standing up on camera can and does occur. Remember to be dressed as it appropriate for those in attendance.
- It’s always a good rule of thumb to NEVER take your table, smartphone or laptop in the restroom.
Now that the basics are covered and some tips have been shared, let’s all get Zooming!