On July 23, 2012, I helped produce our first Google Hangout on Air (HOA). Since then there has been an explosion of groups, organisations, and communities exploring ways to use the Google HOA feature. It’s become a communication tool for town hall meetings, education workshops, work-in-progress readings, talk shows, or just be a bridge for communities to learn and discuss issues. From past experience, here’s a list of tips, tools and roles I have put together to help host a successful Google Hangout On Air:

Google Hangout On Air Layout, Features, and Event Page

Tips for hosting a Hangout on Air (HOA):

  • It’s a live event for public viewing [think Saturday Night Live]
  • The more preparation for event, the smoother the production (especially since it will immediately be available on your YouTube Channel)
  • Conduct a test run with host and all guests
  • Roll with the it – if there are tech difficulties, communicate that to audience (reread first tip)
  • Practice makes perfect – produce more, the better productions will become.

Tools needed for a HOA

  • A reliable broadband internet connection
  • Gmail account / G+ account linked to YouTube Channel
  • Google Hangout video software installed on all interviewee computers
  • Computers with webcams/mics/headphones for each of your guests/interviewees– external cameras can be used, but aren’t necessary
  • Script or shared document outlining agenda
  • Special note: Consider your guests’/interviewees’ safety and security – e.g. does anyone’s identity need to be hidden; Be ethical: what questions should not be asked, etc.

Roles help to run a smooth broadcast

Producer / Show Runner:

  • Determines the theme
  • Researches guests and collects/shares the data with crew
  • Writes script / agenda
  • Selects crew to help with production
  • Coordinates schedules

Technical director

  • Sets up and helps with technical needs for the production
  • Live edits production according to script [camera switching]
  • Preps videos, photos, website to share during broadcast
  • Makes sure video/audio is working during broadcast
  • Monitors chat/time
  • Coordinates with social media monitors
  • Gathers analytics for wrap up and follow up

Social media monitor

  • Helps with research
  • Shares event outreach materials on social media
  • Monitors social media
  • Live blogs or microblogs event
  • Monitors live broadcast feed to be sure it is working
  • Tip: You may want more than one social media monitor

Host (usually is Producer, but can be separate)

  • Moderates the conversation
  • Helps to keep event on schedule
  • Contributes to writing the script


  • Contributes input to script/agenda.

Helpful Outreach Materials to Publicize Hangout

  • One pager about event – answers the who, what, where, when and how. Keeps communication consistent. Includes items like: guest bios, locations, topic, etc.
  • Title, Description, and Keywords – remember it becomes a published YouTube video!
  • List of photos, websites and social media accounts of crew, talent and host. (Everyone should help promote the event not just the producer)
  • Any media assets (photos, videos, etc.) used during HOA can be used for promoting the event.

Look for my next post with articles including examples and advanced information about Hangouts on Air. In the meantime, here’s Google FAQs for HOAs and I found this  google doc: Tips and Tricks for Hangouts on Air by Fraser Cain very helpful. If you have suggestions, tips, or questions please leave a comment. I will answer in follow up articles.

One thought on “Anatomy of a Google Hangout On Air

  1. نشكركم على هذا الخدمة المتميزه الذى تقدموها للجمهور
    لدى طلب اريد اعمل معكم اذا فى مجال ليس لدى مانع
    موفقين تفضلو بقبول فائق الاحترام

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