Online meetings or video conferences can be done easily these days using various tools available on the web. One such tool is the Hangouts of Google+.
The Hangouts feature is more than just a tool to hold casual conversations with family and friends through video chat. Today, it can be effectively used as a video conferencing tool between employers and their employees or among project collaborators.
How to Create a Hangout
To start using this feature, first you need to log into your Google+ account and create a Hangout.
On your home page, you will find the green Hangouts link and icon at the top right below your name and thumbnail image.
Below the Hangouts on the right column, you will see the invites sent to you.
On the bottom part is the Start a video Hangout section which will expand when you hover your cursor over it. Click the green Start a video hangout link to begin your hangout.
A new window will then display where you can see the link to your Hangout, a box to include a message and a box where you can add people to invite using their name or email address.
To invite people to your Hangout, you can choose from your Circles or you add email addresses in the box provided.
There’s also an option for a Quiet invitation. This means that instead of a bell sound, those invited will only receive notifications and stream post on Google Plus. Invites for Hangouts involving 25 people are always the quiet type.
You can also access Hangouts on Gmail. Look for the video camera icon on the left column on the right of your thumbnail image and the telephone icon.
When you click on the videocam icon, a new window will show up where you can find the link to share for your Hangout and the box to invite people. You can include the link in your email or in a status update if you would like to share it was well via your favorite social networking sites.
To invite participants, simply click on the box that says “invite people.” A dropdown menu will show up from which you choose the circles from where to invite people to your Hangout. When you’re done adding people, just click the Invite button below.
Once you start your Hangout, you will immediately see who has joined. Those invited may opt to join via voice only such that you will only hear them but not see them although they can see and hear you on their end.
How to Share Your Screen
When everyone is already present on your Google+ Hangout, you can start sharing your screen. This is ideal if you’re holding an online meeting with colleagues and project collaborators. It is also a great way to promote new products and demonstrate how to use them as well as show people how to use certain online tools with ease.
Take note, however, that the screen sharing option is only available to users of the computer app. Mobile devices do not have this option but mobile users have the ability to join a Hangout.
Inside Hangout, there’s a Screenshare button on the menu bar at the top that you can click.
Next, choose the screen you want to share. It can be your desktop, a Google doc you have uploaded or a website you have opened.
After you are done sharing, just close the window of your shared screen to return to your normal Hangout screen.
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By Wendy Chamberlain
Copyright 2014 Savvy Web Women Pty Ltd
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Wendy Chamberlain is the founder of www.savvywebwomen.com and creator of the Savvy Online Engagement Blog – the information packed resource that shows business owners and entrepreneurs how to use online strategies to connect with key stakeholders, influence decision makers and be seen as a thought leader, all via the use of social media. To receive your FREE Special Report and how-to articles to expand your Online Engagement toolkit, visit www.wendymoore.net.