Tap Into the Power of Google+ Hangouts – Part One: The Many Faces and Uses of Google Hangouts in Your Business

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2-rightGoogle+ Hangouts are all the rage right now. They provide a free and simple way for people to communicate with individuals, as well as small and large communities, via video!

In Part One of this series, I’ll be sharing an overview of the practical application of Google+ Hangouts.

And in Part Two of this series, I’ll be “getting technical” as I describe the process for setting up your Google+ Hangout and accessing special tools and apps to enhance your Hangout.

A Google+ Hangout is an effective way to share content, via live video stream. You can be a sole presenter, you can have one or more guests, you can be part of a panel discussion or you can host an open forum meeting or training, with up to nine other participants. Your Google+ Hangout is accessible via the Google+ Hangout platform and can be made available as both live and recorded videos on YouTube. Google has this fun place to get started

1-leftIn order for Hangout participants to be visible, they must have some sort of video webcam connected to their computer.

If a participant does not have a webcam, or has their webcam turned off, their voice will be heard but their video image will be replaced by their Google+ photograph. This photograph will be visible to other participants in the Hangout, but will appear as a blank, black screen, in the YouTube video.

What You See in a Hangout

When you enter the Hangout, you’ll see a large central screen that displays the video of the person who is speaking. Other participants show up in smaller boxes below this main screen.

In addition to the video feed from the speaker’s webcam, participants can share their computer screen via “screen sharing. Examples of screen sharing are: slides, websites, images, graphs, tracking sheets, etc. Screen sharing can be very useful if you’d like to show slides, or demonstrate something like, setting up a WordPress blog.

Internet marketing expert Daniel Hall, uses Google+ Hangouts for his speaker presentations. As he faces the camera, you’ll see an attractive backdrop behind him and a table with a tablecloth in front of him. When I watch his Google+ presentations, I imagine that this technology could be used for cooking demonstrations, science experiments, and white board presentations.

To view an example of one of Daniel’s hangouts, check out the Hangout he and I did together as part of my recent blog tour.  You’ll notice that Daniel has embedded the YouTube video code right onto his blog.

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Possible Uses for Google+ Hangouts

There are many uses for Google+ Hangouts. Here are just a few ideas. You may find that you get additional ideas, which you may want to write down, or ideally, scroll down to share as a comment to this blog post:

  • Panel discussions
  • Virtual events
  • Book talks
  • Sharing PowerPoint presentations
  • Screen sharing

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  • Sales presentations
  • Demonstrations (cooking, instrument building, etc.)
  • Book club meetings
  • Virtual workshop or class
  • Team meetings
  • Q&A calls
  • Interviews with industry leaders
  • Virtual book tour celebrations
  • Hold weekly office hours where your students or customers can come to ask questions, share their progress, and connect with you.
Locate Hangouts That Are Taking Place Live

In addition to attending Hangouts that you schedule or are invited to, you can search for Hangouts, on topics of interest. To search for a Hangout, login to your Google+  account.

Once logged in, click on the “home” icon, which is currently at the top left of your screen. From the dropdown options, click on the word “Hangouts” and you will be taken to a page that displays Hangouts that are currently scheduled or are in progress. You’ll also find a search box at the top of that page, where you can type in keywords of interest. Here is a direct link to the full Hangouts schedule page.

Example of a Google+ Hangout Interview Series

One of the people I follow, in regards to Google+ Hangouts, is Jason Matthews. Jason has an Indie Author interview series on Google Hangouts that has gained great popularity. You can view his YouTube Channel for great examples of how to harness the power of Google+ Hangouts.

Here’s what he has to say in a post he shared on my site,

“There are many ways for authors to utilize G+ Hangouts. Probably the most common is conducting interviews.

I do this regularly on a weekly Indie Authors / Google Hangouts show and the results are fantastic. Or you can delve into a specific topic–chat with people about politics, sports, dieting, relationships, etc.

Book club discussions are another great way to share a book with the world. Readers from multiple countries could discuss your book with you, the author, in the virtual room with them. Non-fiction writers may want to create tutorials this way, something I do frequently.”

To read the rest of Jason’s article, click here.

It’s so effective because there can be students asking live questions and the finished product becomes a YouTube video that gets viewed for years to come. Here’s a video example where Jason shows the step by step method for getting this done.
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How Will You Use Google+ Hangouts?

Now that the ideas are buzzing in your mind, how will you use Google+ Hangouts in your life? Scroll down to share your thoughts and join in the conversation…

D'vorah Lansky
D’vorah Lansky, M.Ed., is the bestselling author of Book Marketing Made Easy: Simple Strategies for Selling Your Nonfiction Book Online. She is also the founder of the Digital Publishing Café, which provides workshops, interviews, courses, and resources to help you produce, publish, and promote your digital content. Connect with D’vorah and receive a collection of digital publishing tips and resources.
D'vorah Lansky
D'vorah Lansky
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  1. Thanks D’vorah, for an article that answers tons of questions for me about G+ Hangouts!

    I did a scoop on this, you can see it here: http://sco.lt/7DRSKX

    This could be a wonderful way for authors to connect to their readers, as well as learn exactly who their readers are. This could create wonderful engagement between the two. When the author puts out a new book, they would already have fans awaiting the release.

    The hangout could generate buzz for the new book. The author could create a new hangout for each new book release.

  2. Lori, what a great way to keep in touch with loved ones. Have you used Skype for this purpose in that past, and if so, how does the experience differ by using Google Hangouts. Thanks!
    Dvorah Lansky recently posted..Seven Ways to Streamline Your Amazon Author Central Page to Sell More BooksMy Profile

  3. My husband and I use G+ hangouts for business and when traveling to stay in touch with each other. They’ve been instrumental in the growth of our business.
    Lori recently posted..Exemplifying the Value of Contribution. Guess Who?My Profile