The “fireside chats” of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s day — those popular radio addresses the president delivered while in office in the 1930s and ’40s — have received a thoroughly modern makeover. In January, Vice President Joe Biden participated in a “fireside hangout,” a virtual roundtable about gun violence that was broadcast via a live Google+ Hangout.
The format allowed others to join him, including Silicon Valley venture capitalist and author Guy Kawasaki, YouTube star Philip DeFranco, and a concerned Connecticut mother and grandmother. FDR might not recognize all the technology used today to run something like a video chat, but in a callback to the presidential administration of yore, Biden sat in front of a fireplace during the discussion.
It is indeed a new era. And like the White House has discovered, Google+ Hangouts might make sense for you, too. Consider these business uses:
Connect with current customers. This is a great way to share information. You could make announcements about a new product, or even have monthly “office hours” to answer questions or give quick consultations. The video is automatically saved to Google+ and your YouTube channel for those who aren’t able to check it out live.
Introduce yourself to potential customers. For example, let’s say you’re a mechanic who specializes in classic cars. You may want to host a few Google+ Hangouts with a topic focused on certain makes and models, eras, or just classic car ownership in general. This isn’t the time to sell your services, but if you develop relationships with other car enthusiasts and they need work done on their automobiles down the road, they’ll likely seek out your expertise. You could also end up creating a helpful network for your own business questions.
Host meetings. Whether you need to touch base with employees, contractors or clients, a Hangout makes it easy. People can use computers, tablets or even smartphones to join the conversation, and everyone can see shared documents (and edit them) via Google Drive.