According to a study conducted by West Unified Communications Services in 2016, slightly more than half of employees use video conferencing regularly. That means about half of employees do not do video meetings often.
And while the people in organizations I work with usually have access to Hangouts Meet as part of G Suite, many aren't comfortable with video conferencing. Here's the process I use to help people become more confident using Hangouts Meet.
G Suite Admin console: Change two settings
Before you begin, configure the following two G Suite Admin console settings to make video meetings easy to create and access. (Login at https://admin.google.com to make these changes, or ask your G Suite administrator to do this.)
First, add a video meeting to every Calendar event by default. Every meeting that anyone adds will automatically be assigned a video meeting link. You don't have to use the link, but it's there to use anytime. Go to Apps > G Suite > Calendar > Video Calls > check the box to "Automatically add video calls to events created by a user."
Next, enable the video meetings with Meet, instead of the older Hangouts video option. In my experience, people find the Meet interface easier to user than the older Hangouts design. Go to Apps > G Suite > Hangouts > Meet settings > check the box to "Let users create video meetings with Meet, and switch all Chrome devices for meetings to use Meet."
Help people learn
I've found a combination of "tell, show, and try" helps most people figure out video conferencing basics.
People with web conferencing experience may just need to know which video meeting to use. Typically, I'll help a client draft a post or an email to tell people the basics. I keep the information as concise as possible. For example:
"This week, we enabled video meetings.
Every Google Calendar event you create will now include a link for a video meeting.
Since some people inevitably won't read the post or email, I'll also show how Meet works during a regularly scheduled meeting. It's a quick demo: I create a new Google Calendar event, invite a colleague (someone I've recruited earlier, located outside the meeting room), click the Meet link, say "Hello," then end the meeting. If possible, I'll do all of that from my phone — connected to a projector to show my screen — with the Google Calendar and Hangouts Meet mobile apps.
Hands-on experience with an actual meeting may help build confidence for people who have not managed video meetings before. I suggest scheduling a one-to-one video meeting to walk them through specific features. (Note: While group training may appear to be more efficient — you're training several people at a time, right? — I've found these are counter-productive: proficient people participate, while reluctant learners remain quiet. If I really want people to learn the tool, I make them try it in a one-to-one setting.)
So create a new calendar event, and invite your guest with their email address. Tell them to join the meeting from their Chrome browser on a laptop (or desktop) by clicking the video meeting link at the scheduled time. Using Chrome on a laptop/desktop is important. It lets you demonstrate screen sharing, and it also increases the chances that they'll be in a place with faster internet.
During the training meeting, go through the "tell, show, try" sequence for each of the following features. Explain the issue the feature solves in non-technical terms, demonstrate it, then have the person try it themselves. For example, to explain "Mute" I tend to tell people, "When you're working from home and a neighbor's dog starts barking loudly — you can mute the sound." Then, I explain: "So, I move my cursor to the bottom of the screen to bring up some controls. Then I toggle my mic off. Like this." Toggle the microphone off — then talk, so it is clear the sound is off. Toggle the mic back on, "Now, you do it."
I repeat a similar process for each of the basic features:
- Microphone: off / on
- Video camera: off / on
- Chat: type something, respond
Then, I share my screen. I'll explain the difference between sharing the entire screen and sharing a specific app. While in screen-sharing mode, I also review the "people" list — and talk about the ability for a meeting manager to remove a person from a meeting.
I'll end screen sharing and have the other person share their screen. While they're sharing their screen, I'll ask them to create a new Calendar event and invite me to a test meeting. I'll tell them that we'll end our meeting, then join the video meeting that they just created. We stop. Then, if all goes well, we re-connect with a video meeting that they've created.
Repeat and Report
Finally, I ask people to hold a video meeting in the next week — and let me know how it goes. Short-term repetition helps reinforce everything we just reviewed. I set a reminder to check-in with them in about 10 days, in case I haven't heard anything.
I've found the "tell-show-try + repeat & report" approach works well to help people improve proficiency with unfamiliar tools.
How have you helped people learn to use video meeting tools? If you've successfully incorporated video meetings into your workplace, let me know your deployment tips - either in the comments or on Twitter (@awolber).
- How Google went all in on video meetings (and you can, too) (G Suite blog)
- Google Hangouts Chat: The smart person's guide (TechRepublic)
- Google pulls the plug on Hangouts apps (TechRepublic)
- Google Hangouts streamlined further for the enterprise (ZDNet)
- Google Jamboard: New 55-inch digital whiteboard for conference rooms (TechRepublic)
- Six tips to manage your Google Calendar more efficiently (TechRepublic)
- 3 apps and services to help your business prepare for the video-first future (TechRepublic)
- Google G Suite: 10 new features headed your way in 2017 (TechRepublic)
Andy Wolber helps people understand and leverage technology for social impact. He resides in Ann Arbor, MI with his wife, Liz, and daughter, Katie.