How To Set Up And Run Your First Google Hangout
5. Once they’ve joined you, you can begin your hangout. Introduce yourself and set out the rules quickly (e.g. “Please mute microphones when you’re not actually speaking”…)
6. If someone’s web cam is not working, you will see their static profile photo (or a dark screen, if they are joining by phone or choosing to cover up their web cams).
7. People online without web cams can use the “Group chat” option to type their input to the Hangout. You have the option of answering them in real-time, verbally, on screen, or typing an answer via “Group Chat” back to them. (You can even use emoticons, though that’s not recommended for business.)
You can also choose to run your hangout in HD or low-res (the latter saves on bandwidth). If you are streaming live, your hangout should be broadcast on a wired (not wireless) connection.
You can choose “Studio Mode” for your headsets (everyone should have USB headsets, for best quality) – but be aware that this mode, while providing superior sound and reducing echo, will gobble bandwidth like there’s no tomorrow. Save it for when you and your participants are using wired, rather than wireless, connections.
And that’s how you run your first, simple hangout.
Essential Google Hangout Tips
2. Send out invitations. Let people know in advance exactly when to join your Hangout. (They will receive them in their Gmail or their stream.)
3. The more participants you have, the more bandwidth you’ll all use.
4. Ask people to be aware of ambient noise in the background – even on their computer. For example, if they have a browser window open showing your Hangout streaming live as they participate, you will hear an “echo”. Ask them to mute their microphones, when not talking.
5. Try not to move around too much, when presenting your Hangout. Make sure light fall on your face from in front of you; not behind (otherwise you’ll look like one of those anonymous, silhouetted witnesses in protection speaking on a TV tell-all!)
6. Do write yourself a “script” beforehand, so you make sure you cover everything you planned.
Google Hangout on Air
But what if you want to broadcast your hangout to the world, stream it live and record it on YouTube?
We’ve already spoken about simply pressing the “Enable Hangouts on Air” button. Here’s what you need to know, before trying this option…
• You can still only invite ten actual participants, but you can broadcast your Hangout, live, to the world
• You will need a verified YouTube account. (If you don’t yet have one, YouTube will ask you to link and verify yours.)
• Your Google+ page and your YouTube Channel will simultaneously carry it, live, for people to click on
• It will be recorded to your YouTube channel afterwards and the recording will appear in your Google+ stream.
• Be aware that the public will see exactly what you see – with the exception of most apps you are sharing and your Group Chat window, which will be visible only to the actual participants.
If you need the general public to know what someone is saying via Group Chat, tell them before answering the chatter’s question. (E. G.: “Bethany in our Chat window is wondering which browsers are supported.”)
• To finish your live stream Hangout, you will need to press the red “Stop broadcasting” button, rather than the little disconnect.
• You can edit your Hangout and change the name on YouTube, once it’s recorded – but you cannot change the Hangout name in Google+. (Access your recorded Hangout for editing via your Video Manager in YouTube.)
Google Hangouts offers many possibilities for augmenting your business and social presence and authority. Start one right away, with just a friend or two, to try it out.
You’ll see it’s one of the easiest ways to promote your business yet!