Remote training has now become the norm and as a trainer whose delivered in the classroom for many years, I now consider it better in many ways.
I can offer other online training options but Zoom is my preferred option at this time as the technology is solid and users find it easy to work with.
You can use Zoom via the Zoom app or within the browser if you are not allowed/able to download and use the app. The browser version has a few differences and limitations and can take a bit of extra work as you will need to move between windows and browser tabs more often.
Firstly you will need a zoom account – https://zoom.us/signup
You do not need to pay for an account to attend training with me – the free option is perfectly good for this, but if you want all the features there are a range of prices.
What else will you need?
I know that sometimes working from home can be a challenge as there might be other people in the household competing for your attention and/or the internet bandwidth. You want it to be as distraction-free as you can manage and the dog and kids needing your attention will mean you are not 100% tuned in to the training.
Try to find or choose a dedicated room where you can be alone and undisturbed for your training session. If you have a choice pick a room with a window or lots of light in front of you – see comments on lighting below.
Switch off your phone or set it to silent while training, and have other people in your home use the internet as little as possible. Remember that everyone else in the house using Netflix and playing online games will use lots of your bandwidth and you might find the class more challenging and slow.
Seeing what I am doing and following along in your training session is one of the key things you’ll need to do.
You will probably manage OK on a small laptop screen but you will be making things difficult especially if the application you are training on has a large and busy interface – like Adwords.
If you have a second monitor and can manage a 2 screen set up you will be significantly better off. That way you can have your own application on one screen and my shared screen and zoom on the other one.
If 2 screens are not viable, try to work with the largest screen that you have and set up your monitor so that you can see as much as possible.
You will need some form of speakers or a headset to hear the class – being able to hear and be heard is really important.
The built-in speakers on your computer are probably OK most of the time. However, speakers can echo a bit and make it difficult for you to hear the class so a headset or pair of headphones is better.
Wireless headphones are a great option (as long as they stay charged for the duration of your class). They give you the freedom to move around, the audio is great and no background noise will distract you, although they can get a little hot.
Wireless earbuds are probably the best option as they do everything that headphones do but they don’t get so hot and these can be purchased for as little as £20 and many have an inbuilt microphone too.
You will need to speak and be heard in your class so you will need a microphone of some kind. The built-in microphone on your computer is OK most of the time, but a dedicated one will be a better investment. They often come with more settings allowing you to filter out background noise and change the direction and sensitivity so you can be heard better.
There are a number of good microphones available from about £25 upwards depending on your needs and budget. Make sure you purchase one that is USB ready to simply plug into your computer without needing any other sound equipment.
Try to position your microphone right in front of you on a stand or boom. Make sure it’s as near to you as possible and not in the way so you can use your hands and keyboard but without it obscuring your face.
Using a headset
A great solution is to use an audio headset or wireless buds that have a built-in microphone as well as the headphones. These can be purchased for as little as £15 depending on your budget and needs.
Whilst it might be nice to look good on camera, it is not very important for training and in fact if you don’t want to share your video feed in the class that’s fine by me.
The built-in webcam on your computer is generally good enough for this, and you DO NOT NEED an expensive HD or 4K webcam. But if you want to hook up a better webcam or digital video camera and you’re keen on trying some video recording of your own then the sky really is the limit.
If you are going to share your video the lighting is much more important than the camera itself. So try to sit in front of a window or a light source – a good lamp will do. Try not to have a light source or a window behind you or your face will be underexposed and it will be difficult to see you.
Screen or backdrop
If you want to share your video with me or others then a screen or backdrop is really NOT NEEDED (I am sure your home office or dining room is OK to look at). Perhaps think about what is visible around or behind you. I doesn’t bother me very much but most people don’t want their dirty laundry or dirty dishes to be seen in the background.
If you computer has a powerful enough graphics card and you are using the Zoom app you can put an image up as a background if you like. Got to Preferences -> Virtual Background and choose an image or upload your own.
Download my checklist.
I have created a checklist that summarises all of the above you can download it here.
Tips on using Zoom
There are lots of useful videos on Zoom to help but here are some key ones you can watch here:
Joining a meeting
Using video and audio
Zoom meeting controls