This updated was posted on: 05/03/2021

Where Would We be Without Zoom?

Our Webmaster tells his story.

4th March 2021.

We have just held our second Zoom talk for the group, and it seemed to have gone well. OK, so I am a little biased as I was the presenter of the “What’s Under the Cheese Counter at Lidl” snippets talk. But please bear with me.

Whilst many of us have attended Zoom meetings with friends and family due to the lock down in the UK, not many have had to create a Zoom meeting for a large number of participants. Most of us have attended Zoom meetings as participants, having been sent a link via email. Once you click on the link you are put into a Waiting Room until the Host allows you to join the Meeting Room. Then you can enable your video and microphone, (after having checked yourself in the mirror first and cleared your throat). Oh yes, place that wine glass just out of view of the camera, – you may not want everyone to see how you are surviving lock down!

If you are a meeting Host, you need to log onto your Zoom account and create a meeting at a time and date convenient to everybody. This is a lot easier than “normal times” since everybody is staying indoors – nowhere is open at the moment, is it? Once you have created the Zoom Meeting, you send the link to your participants.

Then at the appointed hour, start the Zoom meeting and wait for participants names to appear in the Waiting Room. As people attend you click on the names to allow them to join the Meeting Room. Easy. As long as there are only a few people attending the meeting.

Larger Meetings

Hosting a larger meeting like our History Group talk is slightly different. The basics are the same as for a small gathering; create a Zoom Meeting, email the link to the participants (the History group members). Then at the appointed hour, open up the Meeting Room, and allow Participants to join once they enter the Waiting Room.

The task gets interesting when you don’t recognise the participant’s name. Who is “Ipad”, or “NainAndTaid”? Are they members of the History Group? Should we risk allowing them access and watch their video closely? More importantly, ….. have they paid to join this meeting?

Also, as more members attend the meeting, the list grows and your screen fills up. How can we add more participants? Zoom handles this by adding another screen, so now we have “Screen 1 of 2”. You need to click on “Screen 2 of 2” to make sure no-one is waving at me, and talking, …… with their microphone on Mute.

Thankfully the Chairman joins the Meeting and introductions are made. The meeting is brought to order and the Host is requested to Mute all participants microphones. Ah, the POWER of the Host..! I quickly scan the 2 screens to make sure all microphones are muted, and tell the Chairman he can un-mute his to talk and continue with the meeting. Of course nothing stops any participant from un-muting their microphone, but etiquette prevails and only the Chairman is un-muted. Phew.

Our History talks are usually presented using a PowerPoint set of slides or photographs. So the Host has to set the Guest Speaker as “Co-Host” so he can “Share his Screen” via Zoom. One click of the mouse performs this act, thereby passing POWER over to the Guest Speaker, …. who has also hopefully un-muted his microphone. The History talk starts.

During the talk the Host continues to scan the Waiting Room for late arrivals to be admitted into the Meeting Room. Happily all History Group members have read their instructions and have joined the meeting well in advance. They all seem to be enjoying the talk, and the cups of tea, coffee or glasses of wine are being consumed. Some have bought biscuits too. Well done.

We have more History talks planned via Zoom over the next few months as we cannot meet in person. However, we are all looking forward to gathering again in person, when it is safe to do so. The vaccine is rolling out quite fast now and many people have had their 1st dose. We shall have to wait for the government to relax the rules on mass gatherings and determine what changes we can make to keep everyone safe.

Meanwhile, thank you for joining our Zoom talks, and please consider your Host who is trying his best to understand Zoom too. Stay safe.

Trefor Price

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