Google offers a free service called Hangouts Meet that allows all EOU staff, faculty and students to conduct meetings in small numbers for free.
Beginning on March 12, 2020, until September 30, 2020, Google is expanding Hangouts Meet to allow the following features:
Google has also rolled out some additional safety features that include:
1. Mute yourself when not speaking. Even though you may not be speaking and think you’re being quiet, most microphones can pick up minor background noises, like coughs, sneezes, or typing. These sounds can easily distract other video conferencing participants and potentially even cause annoyance. Use headphones or earbuds to avoid echoes and microphone feedback.
2. Be on time. This one should be standard with any meeting, video or otherwise. However, when you’re dialing in to a video conference, it’s especially important. While you might be able to get away with sneaking into a physical meeting late, everything is more visible in a video conference. Eye contact is extremely important during a video conference, as you want the person or team that’s conferencing in to feel engaged. When you walk in late, you’ll be making noise and distract anyone who is speaking in the room. This can result in confusion and stoppages. Additionally, when you’re on time for a meeting, it’ll make getting set up with technology easier and less painless so the meeting can start on time.
3. Ensure your technology works correctly. You don’t want to have to delay a meeting with an important client because your video conferencing system isn’t working properly. You need to do a few test runs with internal employees before trying to land the next big investor. Find someone willing to help, and make sure you understand the process fully before starting your first video conference. This will make sure everything runs smoothly during the real thing.
4. Use technology to fully engage remote participants. You want your remote video conference attendees to feel like they can participate and are truly a part of the meeting.
5. Wear work-appropriate clothing. While it might be tempting to work in your favorite sweatshirt all day, consider wearing professional attire to any video conferences you’re attending. You don’t have to wear anything fancy, but choose something that would be appropriate if the meeting were face-to-face, rather than virtual.
6. Frame the camera correctly. We’ve all been on video calls where we end up looking up people’s nostrils or seeing the side of their face. When you’re on video, make sure you frame your camera in a way that feels natural and allows you to look at the camera. Sit at eye level to the lens, and try to position yourself so that it shows midsection up.
7. Have the right light. Poor lighting conditions have an enormous effect on the video quality that you send. You’ll want to make sure that there is enough light in the room you’re in so that your video isn’t grainy and unwatchable. Try to not mix natural lighting and office lighting unless your office bulbs are daylight white.
8. Look into the camera. A common mistake is looking at the video feed instead of the camera when speaking to a remote participant. While it may seem like the right thing to do, it actually makes it appear as if you’re looking off and not paying attention. Looking into the camera lens is the equivalent of looking into the person’s eyes, so practice doing so until you’re comfortable with it.
9. Pay attention. Stop checking emails or working on other duties during video conferences. Not only does research suggest only 3% of people can multi-task effectively, but you also look rude to your participants.