Getting ready for a presentation delivered using Google Hangouts and recorded and viewed on Youtube takes some prep time. Presenting with two others on Oct 16 in an eCampus Teaching Tips Live session, was a great experience and I learned several things to do and not to do for the future.
As you enter a Google Hangout, prepare for cognitive overload! Especially if your plan is to screenshare from more then one source. You may be managing a conversation flow, as well as sharing presentation slides, a browser window, a second camera picking up your face, as well as answering questions.
Practice or do a run-through, especially if you are having multiple people sharing their screens. Plan out a logical flow for your presentation, just like you would in a face-to-face presentation. Think about how much time might be involved in each person’s activity and then be sure to build in or have ready additional topics to talk about or show, just in case you breeze through. Most likely though, you’ll run out of time and might have to ditch some of your material.
If you are on a laptop or mobile device, make sure your devices have power – Hangouts sucks energy, so plug-in and don’t depend on your batteries.
If you’re on a laptop, if possible, hardwire into your internet connection for a more robust and stable connection.
Close all applications and browsers windows and tabs that you won’t be using.
Considering hiding your operating systems document bars or task bars if you don’t need them.
Have your Hangout app in a separate browser window separate from your presentation or the screens you are going to be sharing. This may seem cumbersome (thus the practice) but you’ll be happier with the result, especially if you are screensharing.
Be smart about what your environment looks like. Make sure there isn’t any clutter in the background, that you don’t have a bright light coming out of your head or that there is anything that might be distracting behind or beside you. Be sure you are in a quiet space and that there aren’t competing noises. Turn off your phone, your alarm on your watch, or other possible distractions.
Screensharing: when possible, go full screen. Consider increasing your browser resolution (command-+) 125 to 150% for better viewing or increasing your font size by 125-150% if you are sharing a presentation or word-type document.
Have a back-up plan in case one of your other presenters drops out or has technical difficulties. You might need to skip them and come back to them when they are able to join you. If you’re able to have someone else help you moderate that would be a big help!
Remind all the presenters that their small picture will show up at the bottom of the presentation screen. If you aren’t talking then you should have your mute button on, although Google has gotten pretty good about determining if someone else has the floor.
Make yourself reminder sticky notes to share or to stop sharing your screen. Unlike other web conferencing tools, the moderator doesn’t have control over the participants screens.
Smile, have fun, and don’t stress out. If this were meant to be a formal recorded presentation, you probably wouldn’t be choosing to use Hangouts as the final unedited version.