There are plenty of things you don’t want to pop up on your computer screen while you’re video conferencing, like the “spinning wheel of death” or a ransomware message demanding ₿5 million Bitcoin.
Fortunately, the Zoom message “Your meeting should start in a few seconds…” isn’t one of them. In most cases, you just need to wait patiently for the meeting host to arrive.
But if your meeting is scheduled to start and the message lasts for longer than a few minutes, something else may be going on.
Let’s take a look at this and how to fix some common Zoom issues. Plus, we’ll share some handy tips on what to do while waiting in Zoom purgatory.
‘Your Meeting Should Start in a Few Seconds’ and Other Zoom Messages
Once you’ve clicked on a link to a Zoom meeting, you might see a few messages before the meeting starts. These include:
“Please wait for the host to start this meeting”
“Your meeting should start in a few seconds”
“The meeting/webinar is scheduled for….”
Most of the time, this is a good sign! It means you’ve connected to the Zoom server but you’re early or the meeting host hasn’t shown up yet.
But what if something else is going on? Here are a few more messages you might see and what to do about them.
Install the Right Software
Zoom is available to use on most devices, including on Mac, Android, Microsoft, and Linux operating systems. If you only use Zoom occasionally, you can just access it from your browser without downloading any software or creating a profile.
But if you use it often or are having issues, you can download the Zoom desktop client (for your PC) or the Zoom mobile app (for your smartphone).
This may help address any connection issues. If you want to try out your hardware and software ahead of time, click here to join a test meeting.
Check the Link and Passcode
One of the most common mistakes you can make when you try to join a meeting is to use the wrong link or passcode.
You can enter a meeting either by clicking on the meeting link the host sent you or using the meeting ID number, which is a string of 9 to 11 digits found in the same email.
Zoom has several different security settings, and hosts can choose to set a passcode, create a waiting room, or allow participants to join the meeting without them.
If you’re running into a passcode issue, make sure you properly entered the code. You should be able to find it in the same email as your meeting invite!
Check Your VPN or Firewall
If you get a numeric error code, such as 5000, 5003, or 5004, you can look it up on this list of Zoom error messages.
There’s a decent chance it’s an issue with your Internet connection. Maybe you have a VPN (virtual private network) turned on to connect to your company’s servers or are using a firewall, proxy, or antivirus software.
Any of these could be causing Zoom to have an issue with your IP address. Try turning off your VPN or restarting your Internet connection or browser.
What to Do While Waiting in Zoom Purgatory
Let’s assume that you’ve logged into your Zoom account a little ahead of the start time and are waiting for the meeting host and other team members to arrive. Now what?
If the “your meeting should start in a few seconds…” message has shown up, take the time to double-check your computer audio settings and do a little meeting prep.
Pick a Virtual Background
These days, most video conferencing apps, including Zoom and Skype, let you choose a virtual background so other participants can’t see your house plant collection or IKEA wall art.
So think big! Pick the International Space Station or a beach on a tropical island. Just don’t make it too convincing so your colleagues don’t get jealous.
You can find plenty of backgrounds to choose from at Zoom.us or look for one in the mobile Zoom app or desktop Zoom application.
Update Your Name and Profile Settings
Next, take a moment to make sure your name and profile setting are appropriate for the meeting you’re attending.
If you use the same account to meet with your Burning Man theme camp, then you may want to change your name from DJ Sparklefish to just plain Dan.
Vice-versa, if you use your full legal name on your work account, you may want to use a nickname before joining other meetings.
You can change your name on Zoom before the meeting starts in the Zoom web portal. There, you can set both your full name and display name. During the meeting, you’ll have to click on the Participants tab, find your name, then click on the corner of the box showing your name or picture and click Rename.
Zoom also lets you update your pronouns for a single meeting or for all future meetings, so you can decide which groups you want to share your pronouns with.
Currently, this feature is only available in the Zoom desktop client and may need to be turned on by the admin.
From what to wear to how to behave in meetings, the rules of video conferencing are a little different from what you might be used to in the workplace.
Remember to mute your microphone when you aren’t talking so no one has to listen to you type on your keyboard or chew carrots during your mid-afternoon snack. Just unmute yourself when you want to say something to the whole group.
How to Make Your Zoom Meeting Go Smoothly
If you’re the one hosting the meeting, there are a few things you can do before getting started to make sure you run a successful virtual meeting.
Customize the Waiting Room
First, you can set up a waiting room so that when participants join the meeting, they’ll see a customized message and know they’re in the right place.
Instead of seeing “Your meeting should start in a few seconds”, they could see the name of the group or even the logo of your organization.
Another option is to allow participants to join the meeting before you, but that can be awkward if they don’t know each other yet.
Of course, if you start the meeting on time or show up early, you can welcome people to the room and block any participants who weren’t actually invited.
Know Your Limitations
Next, it’s important to know how many people can join the meeting before you’ll run into technical issues or just plain chaos.
If you’re using a free Zoom account, you’ll need to keep an eye on the number of people you invite to your meeting, because you’re limited to only 100 guests.
You’ll also have to cap your meeting at 40 minutes. Otherwise, you’ll have to awkwardly ask everyone to leave and rejoin before your time is up.
If you’re using a paid account, then this is less of an issue: You can have up to 1,000 people in your room, and it can run for up to 30 hours at a time.
Still, you may need to use advanced admin tools to keep your meeting under control. If things get chaotic, you can set limits on screen sharing, mute and unmute participants, respond to questions, and coordinate breakout rooms. You can even invite a co-host to help you out.
Use Anchor AI to Take Notes
Finally, make the most of new technologies like Anchor AI’s intelligent note-taking tool.
Whether you use Zoom for board meetings or any other type of meeting, you can invite Anchor AI into the room with you to take notes and provide a time-stamped transcript of everything that happened.
You can get through more agenda items and have a more productive meeting when none of your team members have to focus on transcribing it.
Plus, Anchor AI can create action items so you can end the meeting with a clear set of goals and a record of any decisions you made.