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6 Ways to Host a Successful Hangout on Air

27 December 2012
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If you’ve ever shuddered at the sight of your own image on home video, cringed at the sound of your own shrill voice, or just fell victim to some unfortunate lighting, then you’ll likely want to read some tips on how to successfully host a hangout on air.

Google Plus Hangouts on Air

The first question is – what is a Hangout On Air?  In short, an HOA is how you broadcast your voice to the world.  Sound intimidating?  We say, pssshhh.

An HOA is a conversation you have with up to 9 other people as it streams live over YouTube.  You can also just host a conversation between others without broadcasting over YouTube, and that is simply called a hangout.  The difference?  HOAs potentially connect you with an unlimited amount of viewers as well provide a recording of what you did.  You can also change the video settings after it processes to private or unlisted access.  By changing the settings, you can control who gets to see the HOA after it’s over.  Make sure you don’t delete it, otherwise, you lose the view count.

Now that we’ve established the two, here are some ways you can host a successful HOA.

WATCH:  HOAs for the news

1.  Make sure you’ve got the right equipment.  

Aside from a fairly decent Internet connection, you’ll definitely need a webcam, probably some headphones and possibly a mic that plugs into your computer.  The webcam is so that people can see you, the headphones are so that there’s no feedback, and the mic is so that people can hear you better.  Mics are optional, but if you’re going to go for Hangout Gold, then you’ll want crisp audio.  Quality sound can also be achieved with a decent headset if you don’t mind looking like Britney Spears. A lot of people wear them, so you won’t be alone.

2.  Name your HOA something people understand.

Dan McDermott from Google Plus Weekly also recommends naming your hangout something that accurately describes what you’re talking about.  He also suggests giving yours a title that will stand out.

3.  Create compelling content and engage your audience, reports Mashable.

Don’t know what to say?  Try getting together some like-minded people and invite them first.  If you’re just having fun, then just say you’re there to have fun.  Trust us, a lot of people do fun hangouts.

WATCH: Q & A on Google TV device, Hisense Pulse

4.  Be aware of your environment. 

GrowVisibilityWithMe.com’s Kim Beasley says to avoid distractions, such as background people or movement.  What’s happening behind you could be a distraction to the other people in the HOA or the viewers on YouTube.  Basically, stay focused.  Michelle Li Google Plus Hangouts on AirIt’s not about you but about the intent of the HOA.

5.  Play nice and make an effort to learn HOA etiquette.

There are unspoken rules in HOAs, including muting yourself when there’s background noise.  Also, avoid muting someone else if you can, but if you do, tell them why you did it. For example, if I mute someone because they’re being loud, I type, “Hey, sorry, I muted you because your keyboard was loud.”  It’s usually no big deal.  Another good rule of thumb?  Keep it clean.  It really irks a host when obscenity interferes with having a YouTube-friendly video.

6.  Have fun!

It’s all trial and error.  Just go in with good intentions and your HOAs will undoubtedly fall into place.

Now the question is, what topic will you choose for a Hangout on Air?  We’d love to hear how you use the technology.

Helpful Hints:

1.  Sarah Hill:  How to Host a Hangout on Air

2.  Michelle Li:  Interview HOA of 9-Man Documentary vs. HOA interview used on the news

3.  Having fun:  Giancarlo Esposito pops in our HOA and Holiday Greetings 

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