Here's what you need to have and know to get up and running with Zoom. Once you're connected,
be sure to read the rules of engagement so everyone communicates in the same clear way.

Camera & microphone - so people can see and hear you

You will need a video camera and microphone attached to your computer. If you have a new laptop or a Mac, you probably already have them built-in, but if you don't then you can get one that rests on a stand or clips on top of your monitor. We recommend the Logitech C930, which you can buy from Amazon. You might have a built-in microphone, but some people prefer to use a headset microphone, so they can move around a bit more and still be heard, or improve the quality of the sound.

Built-in camera and microphone
Logitech C930 external camera and mic
Optional headset

Speaker - so you can hear other people

Usually speakers are built in to your computer. If you have speakers plugged in, remember to switch them on!

Remember that while some external speakers have a physical volume knob on them, you mostly control your volume using a setting on your computer, usually in a corner of your desktop screen or using keyboard buttons. Make sure this isn't muted.

Internet connection

It sounds obvious, but you will need an internet connection. Do check that you have a good wifi signal, particularly if you are the host of a meeting. Occasionally, IT departments won't allow video conferencing on their networks, so if you're at work and you have any problems you might want to check with them. You could use a phone with a mobile data connection instead, but do keep an eye on how much data you are consuming.

Video conferencing has historically used a lot of internet bandwidth, but is now quite slimline. A Zoom call with 10 people is just as easy as a Zoom call with one person, and it is rare to lose a connection.

Zoom program

Zoom will ask to install a little program on your computer.  The first time you join a Zoom meeting, Zoom will ask you to download and install the program if you don't already have it.

Getting ready for your first Zoom call

It is a good idea to try to get ready for your first call at least 5-10 minutes beforehand. Check your camera, microphone and speakers work and aren't muted, and sit in the best place you can find so others can see you on camera. Try to sit somewhere you are well lit from the front or side - you could make use of a nearby window or a desk lamp. Lighting from behind turns you into a silhouette. Get quite close to the screen so people can see your face easily. Remove anything really distracting from the background (e.g. laundry, your top secret plans for world domination, etc.). For example, in the photo below, look at which of these people is easiest to see clearly...

How to join a Zoom call

Go to the Calendar page on this website and press the big blue button to automatically connect to a scheduled Zoom call.

How to use Zoom

Zoom is designed to be easy to use. There aren't many features or controls, but do bear these in mind:

  • The person speaking will have a yellow frame around them
  • In the bottom left corner is a MUTE button. You can press this if you aren't planning on speaking for a while, it helps prevent a build-up of background noise in larger meetings.
  • Next to the MUTE button is a STOP VIDEO button. This can be useful if you need to remove yourself from the meeting for a moment.
  • The RECORD button can be used by the meeting host to record any part of the meeting. You will know if any recording is taking place, a red sign will flash.
  • If you can't hear anyone any more, or something else goes wrong with your connection, waving frantically while looking distressed will bring this to the attention of others
  • It is possible to SHARE SCREEN with others, but do use this in moderation: you've all gathered to speak together, not play battleships
  • On that note, NO CHECKING YOUR EMAIL, ETC while the meeting is on. Maximise your Zoom window so its the only thing you can see on your screen and pay attention. Everyone can actually tell when you're not really listening and instead you're busy checking your phone or Googling something someone said. It can wait.

After the call

You leave by clicking LEAVE MEETING or END MEETING. Then you can go to the Academy members' area and leave a message for the circle, upload files or continue the conversation via messaging. Don't forget to check the calendar for the next meeting.

If we missed anything important from this guide, or you have further questions, please let us know at