Zoom Tips & Tricks

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Hello! We at Cancer Lifeline are looking forward to connecting with you in real time, through your computer, phone, or other electronic device, while current circumstances (COVID-19) prevent us from seeing you in person. We chose the Zoom videoconferencing platform because it makes it possible to not only host our cancer support groups online, but also allows us to deliver presentations that take advantage of the video screen, and offers the best functionality.

We have tried to put some of the basic things we have learned about using Zoom into this document; please note that all (blue) underlined text will link you to a specific page on Zoom’s Help pages. It is an adjustment for us all to dive into this technology to connect. We want to hear from you if you are having any issues with access so we can help you problem-solve.


Getting ready to Zoom involves three steps:

1) sign up for a free Zoom account (there is no need to buy one of their paid accounts),

2) download the Zoom app, and

3) click the link for the Zoom meeting you want to attend (automatically emailed to you when you register for a presentation or when you are a member of a cancer support group) (also available on the Cancer Lifeline website).


Here are a few of the advantages to attending a presentation or cancer support group meeting on Zoom:

  • You can join from anywhere that you have access to the internet / WiFi (or a phone)
  • There are no geographic constraints on which presentations or cancer support groups you attend
  • You have choices, i.e., whether to join by video or just audio
  • You will be able to connect with the people you may have met at prior support group meetings
  • You’ll be able to see any video resources that are shared with you on your own screen
  • Most of Cancer Lifeline’s artistic expression, exercise, nutrition, relaxation, and presentations are available so that you won’t miss something you wanted to attend in our current catalog

Because we know that some of you may be experiencing this realm for the first time, we have put together a more detailed set of instructions to help you as you explore. And, we are here for you! Come to our weekly Zoom Play Room Parties (a place to have your questions about Zoom answered) or set up a one-on-one consultation with us (see FAQ #10).

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What kind of an electronic device do I need to use to access Zoom?

Any electronic device that has access to the internet will work.

A note about phone only access: As we mentioned, you can join by phone without getting an account or the app — by using the phone number that will be provided along with the Zoom link emailed to you. Please know that if you do this, other members will not be able to see you, only hear your audio.

  1. Okay, so how do I figure out what to do once I sign up for an account?

The way that Zoom looks and functions depends on what type of device you use. The following are links to the Zoom Help Center for specific types of devices (there are a number of help topics, articles, and tutorials that you can find at the Zoom Help Center):



            Desktop (note: the functionality from a browser is less optimal than from the Zoom app, except if you are using a Google Chrome browser).

            iPad Start / iPad Controls

  1. Now that I am on Zoom, I can’t seem to get my audio to work.

It is important before joining a meeting, to test whether your device’s audio is accessible by Zoom so that other participants can hear you when you speak. You should be prompted to test your audio when you first join. You can also test it when you are already in a meeting by using the ^ control next to the mute button (that looks like a microphone). More details can be found here. Once you’ve made sure the audio is setup, you simply “unmute” yourself by pressing on the mute/unmute button (microphone).


  1. How do I let others see me?

If you are not asked before you enter the meeting (by pressing on the “Join” button) whether you want to join by video, then once you are in the meeting you can press the video button (it looks like a film camera and has the same appearance as the Zoom logo) to toggle the video of yourself on or off. Once you turn it on, the other people in the meeting room can “see” you and the room you are in. Note: If you’d prefer not to have the room you are in viewed by others, you can choose to have a “virtual background” instead (you can either use any that are there by default or upload any photo you’d like to use). This control can be accessed with the ^ next to the video on and off button. Note: The “Sharing” control on your Zoom video screen does not share you on screen but rather is used to share documents and other media (this control is mostly used by presenters).

  1. What will happen when I join?

When you attempt to Join a meeting, you will first be asked to register with your name, email address, and phone number (this allows us at Cancer Lifeline to connect with you and send you our catalog of all of our many offerings if you are not already registered with us). Once you “enter” the Zoom room where your meeting is hosted, you will see the meeting “Host” (who is the cancer support group facilitator for all cancer support groups OR the presenter for standalone presentations) and any other participants who have already joined. The facilitator will welcome you to the meeting. Your audio will be muted upon entering, so when you want to speak you will need to unmute yourself as described in #3 above. After that, it is just like attending an in-person meeting. It helps to mute yourself when you are not speaking if there is background noise where you are located during the meeting. It also helps to announce your name when you begin to speak so that the facilitator can find you on their screen (when there are several people at a meeting, the facilitator cannot always see when someone wants to speak).

  1. What happens if I am somehow disconnected or want to leave a meeting?

If you accidentally lose your connection and leave the meeting, you can rejoin with the same link. If you’d like to leave a meeting, you can either announce you are leaving, indicate this in the meeting’s chat box if you don’t want to interrupt someone speaking, or simply exit the meeting by pressing the “Leave Meeting” button, usually on the lower right part of your Zoom room screen.


  1. What about confidentiality?

Just as with our live in-person cancer support groups and other classes, we honor your confidentiality and expect all participants to adhere to our meeting norms (which are reviewed by your support group facilitator during cancer support group meetings). Only people who fit within the scope of each cancer support group are invited to attend the group. We believe Zoom is a secure platform. You can choose to what extent you want to participate, just as in our live in-person meetings and your wishes will be respected. We do not record our Zoom meetings (you can tell if a Zoom meeting is being recorded because on the left upper part of the screen there will be a red “light” and the word “recording”).

  1. Why can I only see the person talking or just a few of the people in the meeting?

The default screen view for meetings on Zoom is called “speaker view,” and only allows you to see who is speaking. However, you can change to “gallery view” and then be able to see everyone who is in the meeting at the same time.

  1. Are you collecting evaluations about classes and other presentations like you do in person?

We definitely would like to hear from you about how you experienced one of our artistic expression, exercise, nutrition, relaxation, and other presentations. If you signed up for a class on the Cancer Lifeline website, you will automatically receive an evaluation after the class. If you signed up only on Zoom, we will send you an evaluation within a week of the meeting and appreciate your taking the time to fill it in and email it back to us.

  1. What should I do if I want to see if I would like Cancer Lifeline’s offerings on Zoom but am a little nervous about this new technology or just need a little extra help?

Like any new learning environment, it takes a while to get used to Zoom and become familiar with the ways it works. We are very committed to helping you gain access and will do anything we can to support you in becoming comfortable with this technology. We can set up a one-on-one session with you and one of our staff and/or you can attend one of our weekly hangouts (called the Zoom Play Room Hour). Let us know what we can do to support your connection with our many human offerings!