How To Be A Great Hangout Participant

As video experiences become more and more popular, solopreneurs will want to get involved as participants in video group chats and interviews on Google Hangouts.  What do they need to know so that they avoid the embarrassment of having to learn from their mistakes?  Find out How To Be A Great Hangout Participant:

 Technical

  • You need a webcam.  Most laptops have them built in, but if you use a tower type computer, you will need an external webcam that will sit on the top of your monitor.  You can also participate from a smartphone or tablet.
  • You need a headset.  This is especially true if you are participating from a laptop (because the mic and speakers are very close to each other and this causes reverberation).  No need to go to a lot of expense here, since ear buds are perfectly adequate.
  • Use a compatible browser such as Chrome.  You will also need to activate the Hangout Extension in Chrome.  There are Hangout apps available in the Google Play Store for smart-phones and tablets.
  • Know that a wired connection gives the most stable connection.  WiFi fluctuates and that will impact your Hangout experience.  If you must use WiFi, ensure that it is a very strong signal.
  • Practice in the Hangout room beforehand so that you know where the mute button and other settings are.
  • Before entering the chat room (sometimes called the green room or film strip) close all other computer programs and browser tabs.  This will ensure that lots of memory (RAM) is available for the experience.
  • Be aware that the session may or may not be recorded.  Hangout Video Calls are not recorded, while Hangouts On Air are recorded and uploaded to You Tube.

 Environment

  • Turn off all other possible interruptions such as phone calls, text messages, etc.
  • Ensure that family and household noises do not intrude into the session.
  • Ensure that your surroundings are uncluttered and looking as professional as possible.  A three-fold screen is very useful here.
  • Ensure your light source is in front of you, not behind you; since your camera picks up the light source and will leave your face in the dark.  Draw the drapes over windows that are behind or beside you.
  • Do some experimenting with the camera to ensue that your face is in the centre of the screen.  Laptops can be raised by placing books under so that the camera is at the best height.  Selfie sticks and tripods will ensure that smart-phones are held steady and at the right distance.
  • Look your professional best!  Ladies put on your face and do your hair; gents comb your hair and trim your beard if you have one or shave.  Select your shirt so that it is easy on the eyes.

 Participation

  • Arrive at least 30 minutes ahead of the published start time so that technical testing takes place prior to recording.
  • Ensure your sound is muted when you enter the green room so that system and household noises don’t impact other participants.
  • The Host will greet you and help to do sound/video checks.  The Host will signal when the recording will start.  This is the time to start smiling!
  • If there is a published topic, give some thought to your contribution in advance.  What do you know that can be shared?
  • Know that the Host will open the session, describing what its purpose is.  Often participants will be invited to introduce themselves.  Follow instructions and keep it short and concise.
  • Remember that it’s one voice at a time.  This means that you wait till one person has finished what they have to say before saying your piece.  If this doesn’t work well with the flow, give a visual signal to the Host, who will invite your contribution.
  • Share links and resources with other participants and viewers.  Know that the group chat in the Hangout room can only be seen by the other participants, while the comment stream in the Hangout Event Page can be seen by the viewers.
  • Be ready to share a screen if it would help other participants and viewers understand your point.
  • Smile and participate actively.
  • Know that the Host may invite parting comments and then will signal the end of the recording.
  • Stay in the green room for the conversation that often takes place after the recording ends.  Know that this on-line networking experience can lead to doing business with other participants, once the know/like/trust process has taken place.
 If you feel nervous about being in a video, a good place to begin is to view some videos live and participate by placing your questions and comments in the comment stream on the Hangout Event Page (within Google Plus)  As time goes on, your comfort level will increase.  Know that a free, short, live step by step instruction is available.  You can request it here.

 Mindset Monday

Give some thought to the benefits you might derive from on-line networking and think about where you might find a Hangout that would interest you.
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