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Photo of a man on a video conference callSeptember 2013
From NICHCY’s Quick Tips for Disseminators series


How are those conference calls going for you?

We’re on conference calls all the time — group calls to collaborate on a presentation, project, or event. Talking with colleagues from around the country is great, but wouldn’t it be so much more engaging to see them? And even better, to look at documents together?

You can, you know. Hurry on over to Google Plus.

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Google Plus is free, and full of features

To take advantage of Google Plus, all you need is a gmail account. That gives you free access to:

  • Google Drive (formerly Google Docs), the social media functionality of Google Plus;
  • connection to common interest communities (K-12 Education, Common Core, Educators on Google Plus, etc.); and
  • free video conferencing for up to 10 participants.

Oh, and you’ll need a webcam, too (small camera that sits atop your monitor).  Come on, now don’t be shy! Be seen as well as heard. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll enjoy seeing everybody’s faces, including your own! It really is the next best thing to being there.

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How can TA&D projects use Google Plus?

For Google Hangouts! (Yes, they’re really called that…) For virtual staff meetings. For virtual conference calls with partners and colleagues. For fun.

At NICHCY, we hang out on Google Plus every morning. Face to face virtually, we start the day together, prioritize our work, share ideas, and just stay connected.

We also use Google Plus to “user test” new website features. Sharing our screen in Hangouts, for example, the NICHCY team was able to view our new National Organizations interface in different browsers–Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari.

Screenshot of a NICHCY Google Hangout.See the screenshot at the right? The top part is the main window we all were looking at (the National Organizations Gateway page). See the 4 small square images along the bottom? Each one shows the Gateway page in a different browser. All we had to do was click on a square, and the full image appeared in the main window.

Live action testing! Moving from browser image to browser image, we could look together for any differences or issues in how the National Organizations Gateway looked in those different browsers.

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 What you can do

Check Google Plus out yourself: All you need is a gmail account (and that’s free).

Join the Dissemination Community of Practice to exchange tips and ideas with other technical assistance providers.

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Would you like to visit another page in the Quick Tips for Disseminators series?

Social Media: What Works for Which Audiences?

Google Plus for Collaboration (You’re already here)

Use Social Media to Drive Website Traffic

Managing Your Project’s Twitter Account

The Future is Mobile!

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