Google Hangout

I utilize Google’s Hangout for multiple facets of my professional life. Some of my telepractice clients prefer it as a platform (with HIPAA disclaimer of course) . And I have used it to meet with fellow SLPs for a multitude of acgtivities including meetings, brainstorming, and even to enhance my Professional Learning Network (PLN). But starting up in Hangouts cn be a bit daunting. Especially with the new “upgrade” recently. Here is a quick tutorial to help you get started.

If you have no idea what Google Hangouts is, or how it works, here is a quick promo video …

As you can see, it has messaging, group messaging and group video chat. It’s also available to be used on a variety of devices. I have joined video meetings with the LessonPix team via cell phone before, when I was on the go!

How to actually begin a chat is simple, once you know the steps.

  • Sign up for free at Google Plus (even if you have a gmail account, you still need to activate Plus!). Google plus is a social network, so don’t be surprised if people begin “joining your circles” when they’ve been alerted that you signed up! You can always change your settings to “private” or opt out after the “Hangout”
  • Make sure you have all the plugins downloaded by starting a “Hangout Party” with no one. See the image below to figure out where it is located on your Plus home screen.

    Click to enlarge

    Click to enlarge

  • Follow any prompts to download plug-ins, etc. Test your camera and mic while you are there!
  • E-mail me, so that I can add you to our Hangout invite: tara at speechykeenslp dot com
  • There is also a mobile app, so you can participate in hangouts via your cell! Android – iPhone

If you have never been a part of a video chat, here are a few tips..

  • Consider some headphones – this will help eliminate a feedback loop from your own mic picking up the voices coming through the computer speakers!
  • The picture is better if your light source is coming towards your face and not from behind you. Keep in mind the sun may set while we’re chatting (depending on your timezone)  – I have ended up in the dark during a chat before!
  • Be sure to check the view around you through the webcam – You might want to make sure that bed is made, or the dirty clothes are stuck in the closet!

See you there!

– Tara Roehl

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