The Ultimate Manual to Zoom Breakout Rooms

With Zoom calls becoming the new normal for both business and personal video conferencing, it’s important to make sure your tech won’t fail you during a call. Whether it’s a team meeting, client presentation, job interview, or something else, joining a test meeting before the actual call starts is always a good idea.

This in-depth guide will explain everything you need to know about Zoom testing meetings and how to get started with one on your own.

What Are Zoom Test Meetings Anyway?

A Zoom test meeting gives you the opportunity to check your audio, video, and internet connection before an actual call or video conference. Testing these key components ahead of your meeting can help you identify and resolve potential problems with your hardware or connection.

Some people run Zoom tests by simply calling a friend or co-worker prior to a meeting to ensure everything is working out ok. While there’s nothing wrong with that approach, it’s technically not a Zoom test meeting.

Zoom actually has a completely separate feature built into the platform for testing.

Test meetings are also an excellent opportunity for you to get familiar with the various meeting controls within Zoom. This is ideal for anyone who is using Zoom for the first time or using Zoom on a new device.

For example, maybe you’ve always used Zoom on your computer. But for one reason or another, you now need to join a meeting from your smartphone. A test meeting will not only ensure your device can support the call, but will also give you a chance to play around with the interface and settings before a call is live.

Seeing exactly how you look on the screen prior to a meeting is another important yet often overlooked aspect of Zoom test meetings.

The test is designed to see if your hardware and tech are working properly. So you can easily verify whether or not your internal or external camera is working before a call. However, that alone won’t tell you if you’re looking professional on a call. During a test meeting, you may ultimately decide to change the lighting in your room, adjust the camera angle, or make another adjustment before the call starts.

You can run a Zoom test meeting whether you’re the host of the call or simply attending a meeting.

How Zoom Test Meetings Work

It’s worth noting that technical problems happen whenever you’re using hardware or software. The chances of something going awry increase when you have multiple people, each using different hardware, all in varying locations, collaborating in a single meeting.

Generally speaking, people are pretty understanding if something goes wrong. But with that said, it’s in your best interest to avoid these scenarios whenever possible.

Regardless of the reason behind tech failure, something like poor video quality or audio cutting out during a call can really hurt a presentation. Whether or not the other people on the call want to admit that, there could be a negative perception of you or your business if something goes wrong.

Fortunately, Zoom test meetings are a quick and easy way to get all of these potential errors addressed before a call starts. While these tests are simple, there are actually lots of factors that contribute to how a test gets run.

Here are some of the different components that you can check with a Zoom test meeting:

  • Microphone
  • Speakers
  • Video
  • Screen Sharing
  • Chat
  • Internet Connection
  • Operating System

There are two main ways to run a Zoom test meeting. We’ll take a closer look at each one in the examples below:

Example #1: Manually Testing Zoom

Running a manual test on Zoom requires you to have a Zoom account and the software installed on the device you’re testing.

If you’re testing from a Windows, macOS, or Linux device, then you’ll need to install the Zoom desktop client. For those of you testing from an iOS or Android device, you’ll need the appropriate mobile app installed.

This process isn’t an official Zoom test. It’s just a matter of going through the different elements above and adjusting the settings accordingly.

For example, you may want to change your microphone or adjust your video settings before a call.

Example #2: Joining a Test Meeting

The preferred option is joining an actual test meeting.

This test is facilitated by Zoom, and you can access the test from this link. Just click on the Join button to proceed. While you don’t need to have a Zoom account to run this type of test, you do need to have the software installed on your device to proceed.

By default, you’ll be the only participant in a Zoom test meeting. You do have the option to invite others if you’d like to. But this is really only necessary if you’re giving a collaborative presentation or something like that. Anyone else could run a test on their own without the need to join your test call.

Once you’re in the test meeting, it’s just a matter of following the prompts on the screen.

For example, you’ll be asked whether or not you hear a ringtone to test your speakers. You’ll also be asked to speak, which will verify whether or not your mic is working.

Going through this sequence is fairly basic, and you’ll just need to answer simple yes or no questions like “do you hear a replay?” after testing your mic.

How to Get Started With Zoom Test Meetings

Ready to run your first Zoom test meeting? Just follow the steps below to get started:

Step 1: Check Your Internet Speed

Zoom test meetings are designed to check your hardware. But if your internet speed is too slow to support the platform, it could create other problems with the call.

So before you launch a new meeting, run a quick internet speed test to see if your connection falls within Zoom’s recommended requirements. This is especially important if you’re taking a call somewhere other than your home or office, and you think the connection might be unstable.

Here are the minimum bandwidth requirements for Zoom based different types of calls:

  • One-on-one video — 600 kbps upload and download
  • One-on-one 720p HD video — 1.2 Mbps upload and download
  • One-on-one 1080p HD video — 3.8 Mbps upload and 3.0 Mbps download
  • Group video — 1.0 Mbps upload and 600 kbps download
  • Group 720p HD video — 2.6 Mbps upload and 1.8 Mbps download
  • Group 1080p HD video — 3.8 Mbps upload and 3.0 Mbps download
  • Audio VOIP — 60-80 kbps
  • Zoom Phone — 60-100 kbps

Again, these are just the recommended minimums. You’ll have a better experience if your bandwidth exceeds the upload and download speeds above.

Step 2: Make Sure You Have the Right Software Installed

Next, you need to make sure that you’re joining the call from a supported operating system. If you’ve used Zoom on this device in the past, then you already know it works, and it’s supported. In a rare case, you might need to update your operating system for the call to work.

You also need to make sure you’re using the right version of Zoom and verify that it’s been installed properly on your device.

For example, you can’t run a Zoom test meeting from the web alone. You need to have the Zoom desktop client installed on your Windows, Mac, or Linux device. If you’re joining from a mobile device, you need to have the proper version of the Zoom app installed on your Android or iOS smartphone or tablet.

You do not need to have a Zoom account to run a test meeting. But you need to have the desktop client or app installed to launch a test.

Step 3: Launch a New Test Meeting

Now you need to decide how you’re going to run the test. As mentioned earlier, there are different ways to approach this. You can either run a manual test or join a meeting test.

The manual steps will vary slightly depending on the device you’re using. Manual tests will also require you to have a Zoom account, which isn’t necessary if you’re just joining a test meeting.

Let’s say you want to manually test your video from a computer. You’d just need to log into the Zoom desktop client, click your profile picture, then navigate to settings.

You can click the video option from here, and a video preview should automatically start on the screen coming from the camera that’s currently selected. If you want to select a different camera, you can do so by choosing other available cameras from the dropdown menu.

If you’re running a manual test from an iOS or Android device, you just need to open the app and start a new meeting. Enable your camera and microphone, and you can test the audio and video without inviting anyone else to the call.

Most people skip the manual steps and just go straight to Zoom’s official meeting test.

This will walk you through different prompts for your speakers, microphone, video, and more. We covered this in the example earlier. It’s really straightforward, and you just need to follow the prompts on the screen to continue.

Step 4: Consider Other Factors Beyond Your Hardware and Tech

The audio and visual aspects of Zoom test meetings are fairly self-explanatory. But those tests don’t cover other factors related to the call. So it’s up to you to create a checklist and make sure that everything else will run smoothly.

Start by preparing your environment. For a video call, make sure the room is well-lit. It’s in your best interest to use natural light sources whenever possible. The natural light should be coming from behind your camera without a direct source hitting your face.

Avoid overhead lights on screen or anything that will cause a weird shadow on your face. Make sure you’re in a room that doesn’t echo–carpeting and thick drapes work better than stone floors and tall ceilings.

Look behind you. Is there anything distracting or inappropriate on screen? Is there any chance of your significant other getting caught walking to the shower or bathroom while you’re on the call? Will your kids or pets be playing nearby? If so, you may want to change rooms or enable an opaque background.

If you’re going to be sharing your screen during the meeting, make sure you close out of other tabs, files, or programs on your device. You don’t want everyone on the call to catch a glimpse of your personal information or bank statements.

Consider disabling the automated search completion feature on your web browser as well. If you need to do an internet search while you’re presenting, your search history should remain private. Otherwise, something embarrassing could pop up that the entire conference call would see.

Step 5: Troubleshooting and Fixes

Hopefully, you won’t have to go through this step. If everything has gone smoothly so far, you can simply leave the test meeting and just prepare yourself for the actual call.

But if you discover that the camera, speakers, or audio isn’t working, then you’ll need to go through some troubleshooting steps to ensure everything is fixed before the call.

Before you do anything drastic, make sure that you’re using the latest version of Zoom. Sometimes restarting your device will also be enough to repair any problems you were facing during a test call.

It’s typically in your best interest to use the built-in camera, microphone, and speakers on your device. There are usually fewer problems when you’re going this route compared to using external microphones and cameras.

If you’re having trouble with your camera or mic, one of the simplest solutions is verifying that Zoom has access to those hardware components. Your system settings might be blocking third-party applications from accessing them. So you’d need to go through the operating system permissions and enable access.

Apple users can check this support article on using the Zoom client on macOS. There are some troubleshooting steps here that you can follow. You can also check out this Microsoft support resource to fix microphone problems.