The technological advancement we have witnessed in the 21st century in communications has broadened horizons to how we could communicate with one another on real time while being  oceans apart. This blog post is based on my positive experience of Google Hangouts on air application. My recent introduction to live “on air” experience with Google came out of the necessity to find a cost effective way to set up a talk show that would be video based and has the potential to reach a wider audience in different geographies on real time. To this end, let me tell you Hangout on air app has been remarkable tool.

As one of the online community management focal persons at Philanthropy University, I was exploring the possibility to have a recurrent online chat show monthly, where an interesting guest speaker would comes to our studios to talk about a topic related to social change. Needless to say, as many nonprofit organizations, I did not have a budget to get creative with the idea.I wanted to do a little talk show that serves as an outlet for social change makers. A platform where users from all across the world sharing their experiences and learning from the thought leaders in the space in the form of a Q&A. I was researching for ways to understand what are some free services  and “applications” that are already in the market. In spite that I have have been using “ Google” for some years, I did not know the many possibilities it offered to it’s users. Google “Suite” house some amazing tools to make our life easier. the hangout on air feature is one of them. At any given moment, it can host up to 25 users to join a single video conference call. Eureka! this application was what I was looking.

Google on air is a gem of a feature that comes in the Google suite. To date, I have had successful on air events bringing together many callers from all around the world. Thankfully, I am yet to run into any technical difficulties or negative experiences using this application. The application is very straightforward, made my job easy. Anyone with zero knowledge can become a pro in relatively no time at all. Setting up an online talk show can be,logistically a nightmare especially when you are having to coordinate with multiple multiple users in different time zones. I am very happy to state that since everything is integrated in one Suite, I never got stuck in the weeds having to figure out the mechanics of operation. It is super easy to invite people to join the call, all you need  to do is to share an invitation via the calendar. It automatically provides you with a link, simply paste it on the message. Let the calendar convert your hosting time to the specific time zones.

As the “host” one has the full authority to level set the call with numerous functionality pertaining to control. The hangout app is synced with YouTube. In other words, the entire session will be recorded on your YouTube account, allowing the option to make it visible to public or not. For someone like me, the ultimate desire is to make the show available to thousands of people, It save me the trouble of recording or aggressively market it. Instead, all I need to do is to copy the link and post it on different social media platforms. It serve as a marketing tool while on the other hand it can operate as a digital online library.

Similarly,If you are interested in having your own on air show, here are some tips that would enhance the maximum experience of your on air hangout experience.

  1. Be mindful of your internet connection. It is highly recommended to use a hardline internet connection as opposed to Wifi.
  2. Always, make sure to be in a place where light up. Ideally, keep away from direct fluorescent lights. Let plenty of daylight come into the room.
  3. Always, use a  fast computer and close down other running applications. If you use multiple gmail accounts, make sure they are signed out other than the one you are using for the on air hangout.
  4. Use headphones. If you have a budget available, connect an external mic and speakers for better quality.
  5. Make sure to looking into the camera at all times. As it may sound obvious, this is something we all tend to forget very often.  
  6. Make sure to have a support team. Practice, practice and practice before your main event. Set up test calls with each participant to make sure they are familiar with the set up. It is highly recommended to convene all the callers half an hour before going on LIVE for a final one last roll call.
  7. Keep all mics muted other than the person who is in action. The slightest background noise could be picked by built in mics and that could affect the aesthetic, camera angle and general ambiance of the event.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this Blog are personal and do not reflect the positions of any company. The brands and products mentioned or reviewed here do not represent any form of endorsement or promotion for the companies named in the articles. Products, solutions, technologies and brands are mentioned here only for educational purposes.