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๐Ÿ”– Read in 21 mins ยท

Step on up! Before joining your next Zoom Meeting as a Participant, check out the free Tutorials in our extensive Zoom Guide.

  • Are you new to Zoom Meetings and wondering what to do?
  • Have you been around the Zoom block a time or two, but still have some questions on how to navigate the app?
  • Are you pretty Zoom savvy, but always on the lookout for more insider expert tips?

Whatever your experience level, we are here to help YOU get the absolute MOST out of your Zoom Meetings with this guide. Use the menu below to jump straight to the section you want to learn about or peruse it all from top to bottom.

TO FACILITATORS + EVENT ORGANIZERS

Share our Zoom Guide with your participants before an event. This jam-packed resource loves to travel – feel free to share far and wide! ?

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Last Updated on March 1, 2021
Click any of the menu items to jump straight to that section of the page.

NOTE: These instructions are for joining via computer – instructions for joining with a phone are coming soon!

DOWNLOAD YOUR ZOOM CHEATSHEET

In addition to taking you on a narrated Zoom Sightseeing Tour, we also provide you with your very own printable Zoom Cheatsheeta visual summary with captions for all of the buttons on Zoom Meetings. It’s a handy dandy event companion and guide for Zoom participants!

What’s included:

✅ Participant Buttons Overview
✅ Gallery View Settings
✅ How to enable Annotations
✅ Breakout Room Navigation

Download Your PDF here

1. HOW TO JOIN A ZOOM MEETING

~ Links . . . and meeting IDs . . . and passcodes – oh, MY! ~

Choosing the right device ?

So, you’ve been invited to join a meeting or event on Zoom and you’re wondering what you should do first.

For just a social chat with some friends, you can probably join with any device, as you’re not going to be using a lot of the advanced features. But if you’re attending a workshop or more immersive experience, then you want to pick one of the devices from the top of this list.

Which device is most Zoom-friendly?

  • Desktop or laptop with Zoom app
  • Tablet with Zoom app
  • Phone with Zoom app
  • Chromebook or web browser (usually not recommended)

Download the Zoom App here ?

If this is your first time using Zoom, make sure you download the app on your computer from the Zoom website.

This will give you the best experience compared to using the browser, a tablet or a smartphone.

And if you like, you can try joining this test meeting to make sure everything works before your meeting. This is a safe space where you can try out all the Zoom features by yourself.

How do I update my Zoom App? ℹ️

If you haven’t updated your app in a while, you might be missing out on some new features. Watch this tutorial with a step-by-step walkthrough of how to update.

How do I know if I have the most up-to-date version of Zoom?

  1. Open the Zoom app
  2. Click on your profile – located in the upper right corner
  3. Choose “Check for updates” from the drop-down menu

You will either see a message that reads “You are up to date” (Hallelujah!)

OR it will say there is an “Update Available” and will lead you through the steps to install.

Option B: Enter the Meeting ID in the App to join ⏎

If you have already downloaded Zoom, open the Zoom app and click on the big, blue “Join” button.

  1. Enter the meeting ID – which hopefully you received, along with the meeting link, in an email or calendar invite from the meeting host. You can also enter your name here. Then click on the “Join” button, in the lower right.
  2. You will either be prompted to enter the meeting passcode (hopefully also provided in that same email). Once entered, you will be taken right into the meeting.
  3. OR, if no passcode is required, you will arrive in the “Waiting Room.”
  4. Voila! Easy-peasy!

Can I call in by phone? ?

Not every meeting has this enabled, so review your Meeting invitation or ask your event organizer.

If it is enabled, you can click here to get a local phone number to call in and then make sure to have your Meeting ID and Passcode ready to enter on your keypad.

Welcome to the “Waiting Room” ?

~ Where are the old, tattered copies of Reader’s Digest? ~

After successfully joining the Zoom event (congrats!), you might automatically enter the “Waiting Room.”

Not all hosts enable the “Waiting Room,” but when they do, . . .

No worries – the host is probably just setting up and will let you in when they are ready.

If you arrive early, savor a few deep breaths (you FOUND the Zoom link buried in your inbox – wooohooo!) and take a gander at any event info, posted for your viewing edification! (Feel free to pipe in your own schmaltzy waiting room music, to round out the experience.)

Now that you are all set and raring to go, what’s next?

2. HOW TO CONNECT YOUR AUDIO AND VIDEO

It’s time to make sure we can HEAR and SEE you – So you can avoid constantly asking “Can your hear me now?”

Connect your Microphone and Audio ?

~ The sound of your voice is like music to our ears! ~

  1. Once admitted by the host, you will see the “Join Audio” button on the bottom left.
  2. Click and it will ask if you want to join via  “Computer Audio” or “Phone Call.” For the best quality, click “Join with Computer Audio.” If your connection is bad that day, choose to join via phone and follow the instructions on the screen.
  3. Before you speak, click the “Unmute” button to make sure you aren’t on Mute – sadly, our lip-reading skills aren’t what they used to be. Do this by toggling the button in the lower left of your screen.
  4. If you can’t unmute yourself (because the host disabled that feature), click the “Raise Hand” button or share your question or comment via “Chat.”

What if my computer audio isn’t working?

If you are using headphones, earbuds, or external speakers, try unplugging and plugging them back in. It’s the gadget equivalent of the computer reboot!

If you are still without audio, you can always join by calling in with your phone. (Any phone will do!) Certainly not preferred, but a nifty back-up plan to have up yer sleeve. Simply choose your country and dial-in phone number, then enter the meeting ID and passcode.

Connect your Webcam and Video ?

~ Dahlink! You. Look. Mmmmmmmmahvelous! ~

The “Start Video” button is located next to the Audio “Unmute” button in the lower left of your screen and the On/Off toggle operates the same.

If your computer has more than one video camera (fancy pants!), click the little arrow next to the “Start Video” button and select which camera you want to use.

Um, I’m still invisible / Can’t hear anything …

Try restarting and rejoining Zoom.

Or, better yet, just . . . (we ALL know what’s coming next) . . . REBOOT your whole darn computer and then rejoin Zoom. According to virtual facilitation gurus everywhere, 9 out of 10 times, this fixes the issue. Just hope you aren’t that poor 10th person.

If you can, let your meeting host know in “Chat” that you will be right back, so they can let you back into the meeting.

DOWNLOAD YOUR ZOOM CHEATSHEET

In addition to taking you on a narrated Zoom Sightseeing Tour, we also provide you with your very own printable Zoom Cheatsheeta visual summary with captions for all of the buttons on Zoom Meetings. It’s a handy dandy event companion and guide for Zoom participants!

Download Your PDF here

OK, you are IN the meeting, with Video & Audio working – GREAT job!!

Next up . . .

4. HOW TO MOVE BETWEEN BREAKOUT ROOMS

You’re about to attend an event – maybe it’s an unconference, networking, or social event – where YOU get to choose your OWN Breakout Room!

It can be a bit tricky – thank heaven we are here to teach you how to take over the controls with confidence!

What is a Breakout Room? ?

Great question! Breakout rooms are sessions that are split off from the main Zoom meeting, which allow participants to meet in smaller groups, and are completely isolated in terms of audio and video from the main session. “Huh?!” Ok, time to bring out the Zoom decoder ring!

Think of it like a house party.

Everyone is hanging out in the living room at first, but then peeps start wandering into the kitchen or out onto the patio, to chill and talk in smaller groups. But everyone meets back in the living room to say goodbye. Breakout rooms are kinda like that!

How do I join a Breakout Room? ➡️

Most of the time the host will automatically assign you to a Breakout Room, so you don’t have to do anything but enjoy the ride.

Once the host clicks the magic button you will immediately be teleported to the room that has been assigned to you. (NOTE: Sometimes a pop-up message appears, asking you to click first, in order to join.)

But when the host allows you to move freely between the rooms (for an Unconference or Open Space Technology, for example), follow the instructions below:

How to choose my own Breakout Room? ?

You’re in the DRIVER’S seat now!

  1. As soon as the host opens these “special” breakout rooms, a new “Breakout Rooms” button appears at the bottom right of your screen, in between the “Chat” and “Reactions” buttons.
  2. Clicking this button reveals a list of all of the rooms available, as well as WHO is in them. The number on the right-hand side tells you how many people are in each room.
  3. Click the “Join” button…. WAIT! WHAT BUTTON?!

Where the heck is the JOIN option?

Zoom has cleverly (inexplicably?!) hidden this from easy view (and is hopefully going to change this in the next update!).

To “crack the code” you need to hover over the number to the right of the room and then an option to “Join” magically appears. Click and a pop-up menu asks you if you want to join – choose Yes!

Then you are wondrously whisked away to the Breakout Room of your choosing.

How do I SWITCH Breakout Rooms? ?

If you want to switch to another room, simply click on the “Breakout Rooms” button again and two options appear:

  • “Ask for Help” sends a notification to the host. Click this if you have a question or need some technical help – and the host will come a-runnin’!
  • “Choose Breakout Room” – click to see the same menu as before. The word “Joined” indicates which room you are currently in. To pick a new room, hover over the number next to that room and click “Join.”

How do I LEAVE the Breakout Room? ?

The “Leave Room” button is located in the bottom right corner of your screen and sends you back to the main room.

NOTE: Just make sure NOT to accidentally click the “Leave MEETING” button, which boots your booty out and will have you knocking on the “Waiting Room” door once again. (I’m sure your host will let you back in, though!)

If the “Leave Room” option has been disabled, stay in the Breakout Room until the time is up and the host will automatically bring you back to the Main Room.

DOWNLOAD YOUR ZOOM CHEATSHEET

In addition to taking you on a narrated Zoom Sightseeing Tour, we also provide you with your very own printable Zoom Cheatsheeta visual summary with captions for all of the buttons on Zoom Meetings. It’s a handy dandy event companion and guide for Zoom participants!

What’s included:

✅ Participant Buttons Overview
✅ Gallery View Settings
✅ How to enable Annotations
✅ Breakout Room Navigation

Download Your PDF here

You did it! ?

This concludes our rollicking romp through Zoom 101 – high fives all around! You are hereby deemed a ZOOM NINJA of the highest order! Now go squeeze every last droplet of goodness out of your Zoom experiences. BRAVO!

A huge “Thank You” goes out to all the amazing Zoom Facilitators who shared their feedback: Annie Frisoli, Jen Mein, Bob Isenberger, Katarzyna Potocka, Diana Gabriel, and Pamela King.

If you think others would enjoy this Zoom Guide for Participants, please feel free to share:

And to watch more tutorials like the ones on this page, subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

Jan Keck, Cheri Anderson

Jan Keck, Cheri Anderson

Janโ€™s mission is to help people feel less alone, so by creating experiences, workshops and programs he is fueling the movement for deeper human connection.

His work has been featured on TEDx, CBC News, Breakfast TV, Cityline and HuffPost and he is currently building a community of facilitators that design the MAGICAL HUMAN MOMENTS online.

Cheri is a Facilitator and Cuddle Connoisseur who creates safe spaces, where people can explore consensual, platonic touch with Portland Cuddle Arts.

She is also a graduate of the Virtual Facilitator Training and a founding member of the Deep Connectors Collective.

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