This past Spring, I taught a graduate level course for students at the Academy of Art University San Francisco. This was an online course and my students were required to form 2 teams and work virtually with each other on an Online Branding project. As part of the teamwork process, they had to meet online and develop the project. The following is a “tutorial” for How to Set up a Virtual Team Meeting using G+ Hangouts.
1. Technical Setup:
If you don’t have one already, set up a Gmail account and a G+ profile. If you need help with this let me know via the chat below. You will need to install the Google Chat extension on your Chrome or Firefox browser. If for some reason you are having trouble installing the G+ extensions on Chrome, using Firefox as a browser is the most effective alternative. You will need to make sure that your Adobe Flash player is up to date with the latest version as well.
is essential and if you don’t have one already built into your machine, you may need to purchase an external webcam. You do not need a high definition camera or need to spend a great deal of money on a webcam. Just a simple one will do.
3. Camera Shy?
Just like going to any meeting, it is normal and natural to feel nervous or anxious at first. My advice to you is the sooner you “get over it” the sooner you will enjoy the benefits of new opportunities that will otherwise be unavailable to you professionally if you are stuck in an office cubicle mentality. Webcam-based telepresence will be a way of communications and collaboration sooner than you think. I will be more than happy to coach you all through any camera shyness that you may have. One thing that I can say is that it is fine to dress casually for these meetings. You do not have to “dress up” in business attire or look like a CNN anchor to work effectively with these tools. Casual Friday is totally fine.
4. Project Managers:
Collect your team mates’ gmail addresses and put them into one collective document on Google Drive. Share the document with your team mates’. Then create a Circle on G+ and add all of your team mates and Share the Circle (not publicly) to everyone on your team. Everyone on the team will need to Add the Circle. If there are any questions on this, I can guide you through the process on this as well. Just let me know.
5. Set up a Convenient Time and Attend an Introductory Virtual Meeting:
Project Managers will set a time that is convenient for all to attend. The purpose of the Introductory Virtual Meeting is to introduce yourselves as a team and present your strengths and challenges as a team mate. Please make sure you offer up the services that you most enjoy and let your project manager know the areas that you feel you might not be able to serve your team. This will be helpful for the project manager and the team to know.
6. Virtual Team Meeting – Suggested Agenda – Limit the meeting to 1/2 to 1 hour:
Team mate introductions – 2 to 3 minutes each
Team mate strengths and passions – 2-3 minutes each
Team mate challenges and constraints – 2-3 minutes each
Initial Concept Development/Ideas – 15-20 minutes
Recap on the Actions that each Team Member is committed to completing/producing – 5 min
(Disclaimer: These web design students are rather “techy”, so the instructions might be a bit too general for you. Please reach out to me directly, if I can troubleshoot or help you get up to speed with the technology.)
One of the greatest experts for getting started with Google Hangouts is Ronnie Bincer. Here is Ronnie’s video on How to get started with the New Google+ Hangouts: Video Calls, Messages: