Who Will You Zoom this Christmas?

Paul Morrison shares how to utilise Zoom to connect with someone over the Christmas season

“Let’s show thankfulness to God through the way we reach out to others this Christmas.”

As we enter this Christmas season — a special time of celebration, thanksgiving and time spent with loved ones and friends — let’s remember those who will be alone and those who can’t wait to say farewell to what may have been a year of huge challenges. The last thing they will want to do is to celebrate Christmas without any human connection.

So why not reach out to someone who might be lonely over the Christmas? More than ever before, we need to connect with one another. We all have it in our power to reduce loneliness for at least one person, whether that’s through making a phone call, sending a Christmas card or connecting with them using an online video platform such as Zoom.

If you’re planning to use Zoom to connect with someone, I would like to share some tips and tricks to help you get started.

First, head over to www.zoom.us in your browser. The platform is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android, but the layout may be slightly different depending on whether you are on desktop or mobile.

If you click on the ‘Plans & Pricing’ tab, then you will see the different plans available. Feel free to sign up to the Basic (free) plan that will provide you with virtual meetings for up to 40 minutes. You can have up to 100 participants, 1-on-1 meetings and meetings with multiple participants. When your time is up, you can simply restart a meeting if need be. The free option also includes private and group chats.

You can also sign up to Zoom’s Pro package for a small monthly fee that will unlock additional features, including an increase in meeting duration limits, cloud recording, storage and much more.

Now you are ready to start.

On the www.zoom.us click on ‘Your Account’ (top right) to manage your profile. You can change details under the ‘Profile’, such as your name, picture, default meeting ID, password and time zone. Next, click on ‘Settings’. Here, you can adjust settings implemented by default, including whether you want the waiting room (whether participants can join a scheduled meeting before the host arrives) to be enabled or whether video or audio are automatically enabled when you or participants join a meeting.

In the interests of security, you should make sure you use strong passwords.

Zoom video tutorials can be located at https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us, but to help you set up your first get-together, I have included some basics instructions below. 

How to schedule your first get-together

  1. Sign in to your Zoom web portal
  2. Click Meetings
  3. Click Schedule a Meeting
  4. Choose the date and time for your meeting
  5. (Optional) Select any other settings you would like to use
  6. Click Save

How to start a test meeting

You can join a test Zoom meeting to familiarise yourself with the Zoom and test your microphone/speakers before joining a Zoom meeting. Visit zoom.us/test and click Join. 

How to start your first get-together as the host

As the meeting host, there are several ways you can start your meeting. Your upcoming meetings will be listed in the ‘Meetings’ tab of your Zoom desktop or mobile app. You can click Start by the meeting name. You can also start your get-together from the Zoom web portal. 

  1. Sign in to your Zoom web portal
  2. Click Meetings
  3. Under Upcoming, click Start (next to the meeting you want to start)
  4. The Zoom client should launch automatically to start the meeting

What can I do in a meeting? 

Once you have started or joined a meeting, you can perform the following actions from the menu bar.

  • Invite more friends and family to join by email, IM, SMS (mobile users) or meeting ID
  • Screen-share your desktop to show family photos and video clips
  • Have a private or group chat  
  • Host controls
  • Mute/unmute audio
  • Stop/start video
  • Leave or end the video get-together 

I hope this will give you enough information to help you set up your online get-together with someone this Christmas. 

Remember that Jesus came down from heaven to be with you. That is the true meaning of Christmas. Love so great that it knows no bounds or distance.

May the light of faith illuminate our hearts and shine in all our words and deeds, through Him who is Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen. 

Paul Morrison, a global award-winner, is the UK education lead at Zoom. He is founder of idare2inspire and chair of the professional advisory board at the University of West Scotland. 

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