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Google Meet: Breakout Rooms, Q&A and Polling Made Easy

Google Meet is directly competing with Zoom to be the go-to product for online meetings. Google is a leader in security, reliability, and performance in video conferencing, but it has been lacking some key features that customers require for training and workshop purposes. With three exciting features currently in BETA and soon to be released, Google is answering requests and creating a more feature rich video conferencing platform. The three features are Breakout rooms which allow for a call to be divided into multiple ‘rooms’, polls for quick feedback, and Q&A options to encourage participants to interact are now being offered as part of Google Meet.  This week, Fintan Murphy demonstrates these three new features and discusses them in more detail.

Google Meet Polls: What Do You Think?

When hosting a workshop or seminar with a large amount of people, a poll is a great way of conveying their opinions on topics in a concise and swift manner. Google Meet now hosts polls to allow for the smooth transition of thoughts on topics that are relevant to something you are discussing in a workshop. Polls allow for audience engagement and give quick feedback if you are engaging in a training situation. One of the extra features that Google Meet Polls has is a spreadsheet of analysis of the completed responses, emailed directly to your inbox.  

If you want to utilise Google Meet Polls, as the owner of the meeting you can click additional features and see meeting tools. You could pose a question like ‘What is Your Favourite G-Suite App?’ and then place in the necessary options of choice. You can either save the poll to use later or launch it. Once the poll is launched, users in the meeting will receive a notification that a poll has been started. If you click on it, you will be able to see the poll and the users will be able to fill out the poll and vote. If you are running a meeting with multiple people, you as the owner will be able to see how many people have voted, when to end the poll, and you can also decide whether to show the results garnered to the participants. This is a great way to encourage audience participation. 

Finding Answers: Google Meet Q&A  

Google Meet has another stellar feature that gives the opportunity for your audience to engage with the content you are providing - Q&A. As the owner of a meeting, you are able to add a questions tab to give participants the opportunity to ask questions and you are able to directly answer them. Some of the features that Google has tied to this is being able to mark the questions as answered, you can hide them, or delete them. You can also pose your own questions in the chat to help steer conversation in a particular direction. Most importantly, you can answer the questions in the chat or pick up on the questions live. This is a great tool for large calls or online training sessions. The functionality of this tool may be improved as it comes out of BETA. One option that hasn’t been added to Q&A which would be useful is the option to respond to questions via text. Regardless, this is a great feature for Google Meet and makes it a more attractive option than Zoom.

Breakout to Learn: Breakout Rooms

Breakout rooms are a new feature in BETA for Google Meet. As the ‘owner’ of a Google Meet, you will have additional features called meeting tools which will vastly improve your ability to communicate with customers and clients. The breakout rooms give power to the owner to break down a call into multiple calls and allow for monitoring. It is also able to bring everyone together to the ‘main room’ after these breakout sessions are finished. This tool will be a game changer for seminars, workshops and training sessions. 

While the logical placement for breakout rooms would be with the rest of the meeting room tools, it is located where the three little dots are found at the bottom of your screen. When clicking on the three little dots, you will see an array of options like opening a ‘Jam Board’ or ‘Casting A Meeting’. This space leaves room for expansion as more features are added to Google Meet. You can click on breakout rooms and can be offered up to a hundred breakout rooms if this is required. This might be unnecessary though if you are dealing with a workshop and not a large conference. 

As an example, if we made three breakout rooms and label them as Workflow, Google Drive Training, and Gmail Training we are able to see how useful Google Meet can be as an essential virtual workshop tool. As the owner of the meeting, you can decide which ‘room’ you want participants to be in and can change the name of the breakout room if needs be. Something to note is that you won’t be able to change the name of the ‘main room’ once it is in session. When asking someone to join a room, they are sent an invitation which directly pulls them into the breakout room that they have been invited or assigned to. For those who have been sent an invitation but haven’t responded, the owner of the main room will be able to see a spinning circle on their profile, indicating their lack of action. This feature also gives the owner full knowledge of who is participating in each breakout room and who is in the main room. 

Arguably the most important feature of the breakout rooms is the ability to edit them. You can add more breakout rooms if required but you can also end them. The option to click ‘end breakout room’ can pull everyone back into the main room, which can be valuable if you are working to time constraints in a workshop. This feature has been long sought after, as most companies have been trying to do this manually with different Google Meets before breakout rooms ever existed. The issue with this was trying to communicate effectively with people in these different meetings which is resolved now through breakout rooms. When you close a breakout room, a user is given a pop up to tell them that this meeting is ended and given an option to click back to the main room which is a great feature to bring everyone together again. 

Google Meet Revolutionising Features

Google Meet’s three new features are still in BETA which means that some allowances have to be given for change. Logically, breakout rooms would make more sense being added to the tool section, so this is something that might be modified during BETA. The great advantage of BETA is being able to test and see what some of the features may look like when they are launched. It is to be expected that Google will have some change in functionality but it's good to get a feel for what is to come with the revamped Google Meet. Breakout rooms are a particularly exciting feature as many of Google’s customers and clients who use Google Meets regularly will be able to utilise them when they are running workshops. In the current climate, Google Meet has become an essential piece of kit for businesses and these features will add a huge amount of value to many customers. Zoom and Microsoft teams have some worthy competition on their hands!

As a longstanding member of the Google Cloud Partner Program, Damson Cloud specialises in bringing people and ideas together through new ways of working. We champion the very best practices in remote working and change management, helping companies and their teams collaborate productively from anywhere in the world. To find out more about our services, check out our library of tutorial videos or our blog.

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