For novices to the Zoom experience, Vlad VE3TM put together a few tips, and I've edited to add my own thoughts.
1. If you have a choice of computers, use the most powerful ones. Using a laptop is quite risky, especially older ones. Your laptop may be just fine for Skype but Zoom and other video conferences are more resource-hungry. For the same reason, when you are prompted you should download and install the Zoom app for a better experience. You may suffer severe resource issues using Zoom within a browser window.
- install the app from zoom.us before
2. You can watch a Zoom conference without a mic or camera. If you plan on active participation you will need a web camera and a microphone. Available options are:
- a webcam with a built-in mike + external speakers or a pair of headphones
- a webcam and a headset with a built-in mike
- a laptop with built-in webcam, mike and speakers (optional headphones)
3. Using Zoom normally does not necessarily require an initial setup. However you may wish to go to https://zoom.us/
and sign up. It will allow you to manage your settings off-line, before a conference. It includes mike check and, most importantly, video check. The video check includes choosing a good camera location and light setup (both are quite important).
4. If you are not sure whether your PC or internet connection is good enough for Zoom, you may consider a trial Zoom dialog with a friend. Make it at least 30-60 minutes long to make sure your machine can handle a substantial traffic. Zoom is free for private use for a limited time and a limited number of meeting attendees.
5. The conference host will send you an invitation. If instructed to do so, enter the meeting number and a password. You probably won't need it if you simply click on the URL provided in the e-mail you received.
6. During a conference you will be able to watch streamed video quite similarly to Youtube watching. In addition, you will also have a possibility to enter video dialogs. You will be able to chat (exchange instant text messages) with the host, the speaker and the whole audience. There are open and private chat options. The chat room is located on the right hand side of the screen. It is a good practice to greet attendees in the chat when somebody joins a meeting.
- to ask questions of the speaker, use text chat and not the mic
7. Clicking on your video "square" you have some options. We recommend setting your name as your first name and call. For example "Ron VE3VN".
8. If your setup allows you to use a 2-monitor setup, go for that. It is most useful as you can see the audience on one monitor and watch presentations on another one. Certainly it is especially useful for a host.