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5 Zoom tools you need to take your virtual meetings to the next level

Pro tip: one of these features will practically guarantee you won’t have an embarrassing mishap with a hot mic.

5 Zoom tools you need to take your virtual meetings to the next level
[Photo: Julia M Cameron/Unsplash]

With many of us working from home for the foreseeable future, videoconferencing has become a critical part of our professional and even personal lives. While there are several tools available for remote workers to use, such as Skype, Google Meet, or Webex, Zoom is one of the best, most stable, and easiest apps to use for virtual meetings.

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Most of us are familiar with the basics of using Zoom, but did you know that there are many other nifty tools available for hosts to use, even with a free basic account?

Take your remote meetings to the next level with these tools to engage and even impress your colleagues, clients, and friends. We’ve also included links to Zoom’s support page with step-by-step instructions to help you start using these tools in no time.

1. Remote desktop control

Ever found yourself in a situation where you spent precious meeting minutes telling a colleague to Press that button over there—no, not that one—that one, on the right!? Zoom’s Remote Desktop Control is the answer to your problem.

This feature allows meeting participants to request or share control over documents on their screen, or even their computer. This is especially useful for collaborating with colleagues on documents and presentations, troubleshooting on another user’s device, or even showing your parents how to do something on their computer, even when you’re far from home.

2. Annotations

Many times, simply talking or making gestures in front of your computer’s camera isn’t enough to get your point across in a virtual meeting. This is where the annotation function becomes useful.

Similar to Remote Desktop Control, this feature allows meeting participants to bring attention to a particular element on the screen being shared, but without having to be granted access to their screen or device. The annotation toolbar lets them insert text, draw shapes or lines, add icons like stars or checkmarks with the Stamp Tool, or turn their cursor into a spotlight or arrow.

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3. Push to talk

Proper Zoom etiquette entails participants muting their audio when it’s not their turn to speak. But what if someone suddenly calls your attention, and your microphone is still on mute?

Instead of fumbling for the correct button on your screen, simply use Zoom’s Push to Talk feature by holding down the spacebar on your computer. This function is available on the desktop version of the app, and can be enabled in your settings. Pressing Alt + A on your keyboard also allows you to mute and unmute your audio easily, without having to press the spacebar.

4. Breakout rooms

One of Zoom’s lesser-known features is the option to assign participants to breakout rooms. As the meeting host, you can divide your meeting into smaller groups of up to 50 prior to the beginning of your meeting. Participants can discuss privately within their separate groups, and ping the host if they need assistance. This tool is especially useful for businesses or educational lectures that require team-based activities.

5. Waiting rooms

If you’re presenting to clients, it’s not a very good look for you to be setting up your presentation while they’re already in the meeting. Zoom’s waiting room function allows you to control which participants get to join the meeting, and exactly when. With a pro account, you can even customize how the waiting room looks by adding a message or a logo that meeting participants will see before you let them in. This feature is also useful for HR professionals who are queuing interviewees, or health professionals managing their appointments with individual patients.


This article originally appeared in Good Side News and is reprinted with permission.

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