COVID-19 has been the biggest story of the year during 2020. It’s affected everything from work to religious practice and recreation. Sports leagues compete in bubbles with no fans present. And most people who are working from home have had to get familiar with a software program called Zoom. Zoom has been used for everything from conference calls to remote church services.

Zoom has its ups and its downs. It’s a very user-friendly software. Joining a Zoom meeting is simple enough. People can either enter an ID and password, or they can just click on a link. Users have a choice to mute themselves, and they can also control their presence on video. It’s a good idea for people to be prepared to be on camera during Zoom sessions. Glance in the mirror before joining a meeting. A great alternative is looking in the camera function on the computer or smartphone.

In order for Zoom meetings to go really well, it’s also important to add some structure to them. Each meeting should have a well-defined leader. The person running the meeting should be the host. They will also have the ability to mute people who are talking over someone else. They can also control who gets to share their screens and when. Only hosts have these privileges.

Security settings are one of the most important features of Zoom that people need to become familiar with. Early on during the lockdown, some corporate Zoom meetings were famously hacked by troublemakers and pranksters. Zoom meetings are issued passwords by default. It’s prudent to keep these, especially for corporate meetings. They can be turned off, though. Turning the password off can be a good option for religious services and other big gatherings where no industry secrets are being shared.

Zoom is also a great way to socialize during a pandemic. When people have to practice social distancing, it’s hard or impossible to meet up for coffee. That means Zoom meetings can also become a time for socialization. It’s up to the host to determine how much catching up is appropriate during meetings. Sometimes, meeting organizers will leave a meeting going for an extra five or so minutes so people can get some social interaction in, too.