Almost every Friday from 4 - 6 PM ET event industry professionals get together in a Google+ Hangout for the #eventprofs Happy Hour. They are announced on Twitter with the #ephh hashtag. It's unscripted, informal and impromptu. It's an opportunity to catch up with colleagues, discuss issues of concern, get advice and share success.
Participating in some of these chats have raised my awareness of Google+ Hangouts can be used for scheduled or impromptu business meetings.
There are a number of benefits to using Google+ for meetings:
- it's private
- communication is instantaneous
- it requires no special software (the browser plug-in can be downloaded in seconds)
- the call can be recorded through Google Hangouts on Air and made available to individuals who were unable to make the call
When all parties have video, communication can be enhanced as, unlike email or Twitter, chat participants have the benefit of hearing each other's tone of voice and viewing body language. This can reduce online miscommunication due to jumping to conclusions when non-verbal cues are missing.
To get the most mileage from Google+ meetings, preparation is important. The following guidelines may seem basic but they are frequently violated:
- Ensure that you are in a location that does not have a lot of noise or distractions.
- If you are using cameras, remove clutter from your desk and behind you that will convey a less than professional image.
- If you are not using cameras, be sure that you upload a photo to Google+ and use it during hangouts.
- Close browsers that emit a sound. For example, if there is an audio signal every time you receive an email, it's important to close the browser which displays email.
- Turn off the ringer on your landline and mobile phones.
When the call begins, there are a few things to remember. While up to 10 people can join a Google Hangout, after the first few people join the conversation, Google+ will auto-mute anyone who joins later. Remember to click on the microphone icon when you are ready to speak. If you are speaking with a group, also remember to mute your microphone whenever you are typing as it can be quite distracting. (If typing is very loud, Google Hangouts will automatically detect this and mute you.)
Google Hangouts can be useful for meeting with co-workers, brainstorming with colleagues, speaking with clients and prospective clients. Keeping these tips in mind will minimize distractions and ensure that the conversation proceeds smoothly.
For more blog posts about Google+, read How to Put the Plus in Google +, Google Hangouts: A Very Useful Tool for Event Professionals and Google Hangouts: A Very Useful Tool for Event Professionals on Cvent Event Blog.