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How to Run a Q&A Session Using Google Hangouts on Air – SPI TV, Ep. 7

By Pat Flynn on

Welcome to Episode #7 of SPI TV! Make sure to subscribe (YouTube / iTunes) to stay on top of it every Friday when new episodes go live.

One of the best things you can do to provide massive value for your audience is to conduct a free Q&A session using Google Hangouts on Air. Not only is it free for your audience to join, but it’s practically free for you to run as well.

While this is a good opportunity for your audience to ask questions and learn even more from you, it’s an extremely golden opportunity for you as well.

A Q&A session will help you become more authoritative in your niche. As someone who is fielding questions and answering them live, it puts you even more in the expert’s chair

Additionally, it creates an “enhanced experience” for your audience – something above and beyond the normal reader/listener/viewers experience, like an event or a gig that your audience can look forward to. It becomes another touch point between you and those in your audience, and the more touch points you have, the more trust you build.

Furthermore, you’ll be able to hear directly from your audience, and even have a conversation with them to better understand their pains, problems, wants, needs and desires. If you’re wondering exactly what to create content about, giving your audience a fun, open forum to ask questions can be the perfect way for you to understand what to do next. You may even discover your next product or course idea here as well!

Thanks so much for watching, and be sure to subscribe (YouTube / iTunesto get next week’s episode of SPI TV as soon as it comes out! We’ll be talking about how to reach out and contact the A-listers in your niche for potential interviews and JV partnerships.



Hey, what’s up, everybody? Welcome to episode 7 of SPI TV. Thank you for joining me today. In this video, I’m going to demonstrate for you how you can run a free Google Hangout on air Q&A session for you and your audience. This is going to do a number of things for you and your brand, and it goes along with this whole theme of creating events or gigs for your audience that they can look forward to, that can build hype and buzz for you and your brand, and also get them to connect with each other, as well, so let’s go right to it.

All right. Here we are on Google+ and if you don’t know how to get to your Google+ page, typically if you’re in something like Gmail, you can click on this little Plus, then your username and icon right there, but we’re just going to go ahead and go to where it says home, and that opens up this menu, and we’re going to click on Hangouts.

We want to click on Hangouts on Air because remember, this is our live stream where we are on video and everybody else is watching, they’re asking questions, and we’re interacting with them. A Video Hangout, not a Hangout on Air, but this Video Hangout option here is more so you can consider that like a conference call or a meeting where everybody who is on that call with you has a video and you’re all talking and that sort of thing. It’s a lot more limited and that’s not what you want because those aren’t broadcasted to the Internet, Hangouts on Air are, and that’s what you want.

Click on Hangouts on Air and click Create a Hangout on Air. This is where we give our event a little bit of a name and a description. I’m going to put SPI Live Q&A with Pat Flynn, put your brand name in there, say it’s live and a Q&A. People know what that is, and your name, of course, and I like this whole ask me anything deal because people are used to that on forums like Reddit, and of course, you just want people to be open and ask you as many questions as possible.

This is about interaction, this is about getting your audience involved, and building authority with them. Then you want to put in a little description, you can put whatever you like here to tell people what it’s about, join me for a one and a half hour hangout where I will be fielding your questions live.

Now, you can start this now if you’d like, although obviously we haven’t done any promotion for this, which is why it’s smart to program this for later, and you can do that by clicking here on the calendar, let’s say Friday, March 27 at 6:00pm for an hour and a half. You can do it as long or as short as you want on any date that’s good for you, and the good thing is once you know what that date is and the audience that you happen to invite at the same time, whether it’s public and you can invite different circles that you might have, circles that you’ve collected in Google+ overcome, they’ll be able to see this and join and be reminded of it.

If they say they’re going to attend, it’ll get automatically put into their calendars. Lots of really cool things happen. Of course, you’ll have a date that you can plug into your social media feeds and streams or on your upcoming email newsletters to, again, build buzz and get people excited about coming on this particular date at this particular time.

What’s cool is Google Hangouts On Air will automatically adjust the time according their time zone. Here it says Pacific Time LA and you want to make sure that matches where you’re at and the time that you’ve selected, and whoever comes across the invite page, they’re going to see it at their time, so there’s no confusion at all.

Now, of course, you want this to be public, because again, this is open for everybody, you want everybody to see it, and you can ask anybody else in different circles or different people to come. I’m just going to put public for now and then I’m going to share this. What happens is the page gets put as an event that’s going to happen on that particular day, you can get a bunch of information here, you can change this in the details area here, you can edit event right there like that, and then you can also add a little theme. There’s a lot of different cover arts and things you can use for this, too. Some of them actually move or have moving pieces. Let me see if I can find one of those.

Maybe not. I’ll just use this one for now. You can change the information there. Again, you’ll see here up here at top it has that little image now. Of course, if you have a logo or brand that has a lot of imagery that people are used to, you might want to put that there, and then you can copy and paste this particular page and send it out wherever you’d like. You can also grab links here to share the event page or the page that the YouTube feed will be at, and then also this is important, the video embed page.

If you have a live page on your site, perhaps it’s just your, you can embed this video in there and that will be the link that you send out to people, and you can do things like embed your own chat forum in there. Although I will recommend for a Q&A, it’s a lot easier to manage, especially if you’re by yourself, if you use Google Hangouts on Air’s Q&A app, and I’ll show you how to use that in a second.

I’m actually going to delete this event because this is not happening on that day, and I’m not exactly sure how to delete it right now, but I can figure that out later. For now, what I want to do is I want to create another one for you here, and we’re actually going to broadcast this live, and I’m going to show you what it’s like on the other end.

Now that you know how to set it up, what we’re going to do is actually go in and show you how to run it. I’m going to create another Hangout on Air and I’m going to name it the exact same thing, and the same description, and I’m going to say now, and I’m actually going to turn the audiences off. I’m actually going to find a circle here that has nobody, so I’m not broadcasting this out. Again, this is just for testing purposes only, make sure you just put that in here just in case, testing purposes only, and hit share.

Now it says it’s going to start now, and this is what happens. This will be a similar process when you’re coming up to the time of your later scheduled Google Hangout On Air, it’ll look just like this. You want to log in to this profile, you want to click on the event, and you can start the event actually at any time, and it works like this.

Here, you’ll notice this control panel here with a little play button. This is where you decide what you want to be in your Google Hangout On Air for everybody to see and interact with, and there’s three apps here that are shown. This one is called the Q&A app, you can either turn this on or off, and I would recommend turning it on. Currently, it’s just taking a second to disable. I’m going to turn it back on.

That allows your viewers to ask questions and there’s a really nicely managed question-and-answer forum in Google Hangouts On Air, it’s improved a lot over time, which is really nice. This is the Showcase app, which allows you to include links and images that people can see. You can control these things that people can see on the other end that they can then click to, they’ll have a bank of all these things that you’ve mentioned if you do put them in the Showcase app.

If you have somebody else working with you, it’s a little bit easier, but again, I’ll show you how to use this and it’s not too difficult. Then this app here is called the Applause feature. This allows your audience as they’re watching to give a thumbs up or thumbs down at different moments so you can see later what parts people like and which parts people don’t. That’s not quite as important for the Q&A feature, it’s very import if you’re doing a webinar, for example, or something like that, so that you can understand what is working and what’s not in your live stream.

Again, we’re doing a Q&A here and the purpose is to get people to interact with you and for you to give value to them as much as possible. Whether you’ve planned this ahead of time with that later button or you’re starting this right now, what you want to do is click start. Don’t worry, you’re not broadcasting it when you click start, it just means you’re going to get Google ready for you to do your live broadcast, so let’s click start and you’re going to see this window pop up, and what’s up guys? You can see me there.

Now here, you can invite guests. This part right here, I’m pointing with my fingers, hopefully this captures in the screen flow. You can add names for people you want to invite. Now, this isn’t people who you want to watch, those people would hopefully get their reminders already, and of course, you can continue to share this link or have your audience share this link to spread word about this live Q&A live during it at any point in time, even before it goes, but this is for inviting guests on your broadcast who are going to come and actually show video with you.

If you can invite a guest, say for example I have Caleb Wojick over at his home and I invite him over, and then he and I are both on video. My video is right here on the bottom right, his would be right here, and we can have a conversation and both answer questions, too. If you have other team members who you want to be on, maybe you’re doing a great Q&A, if you are a co-host of a show or something, you can do that and this is where you would invite them with their email address or their name if they’re in your Gmail contact already, or in different circles that you’re in, but I’m going to skip that for now because it’s just me and here we are.

What’s up, guys? I’m going to looking down at the screen, so don’t mind me, but I’m going to show you a few things really quick. On the lower right hand corner, you’ll see this links bar. Right here, this is very important, this will show you a number of different things that you can share. The events page, this is what you would copy and paste and share and have your audience share.

You might want to put that in, for example, a pretty link so that your audience can easily share it, so it will be URL/live, for example, so that it’s just really easy. You can put that in there before you hit the big green button to start the broadcast. Nobody has seen this unless you invite some people on and then you can have a conversation before you both are ready to go.

Then when you click this green button that says start broadcast, you’re broadcasting to the world. There is a little bit of a delay and you’ll see that when we go screen to screen, but yes. This is the YouTube page, I’m actually going to go over there to show you what that’s like. Let’s see. I’ll just put this over. I’m going to go to the YouTube page so you can see what this is like before I click start broadcast.

This is what people see on that page, it says please standby, starting soon. We are not quite there yet. If you’re at this point and maybe you forgot to invite somebody that yo8u wanted to come on as a guest who can then share their video and you’re talking to them, everybody can hear their voice and watch their feed, you can hover over the image here and then click on this invite people, this brings you back to that place where you can add people, or you can actually share this link here, which I didn’t give you before, you can share that link to a person who you want to come on, but I’m going to close that, like I said. I’m not inviting anybody on this particular situation here.

Some really quick controls up here next to that one we just did, you can click this one to mute your microphone, you can click this one to turn off your camera, at which point you turn into this avatar, which is pretty cool, so I’m going to turn that back on, some volume, some settings in case you are not using the camera you want or the microphone, you can change the input right here, and I’m going to cancel that, and then this one you leave the call, you click on that, you’re gone, and yeah.

Down here, one more link is the video embed. Again, this is where you can easily go to, to embed this. For example, if you are using LeadPages, LeadPages has a template that allows you to put this video embed code and then also it has a chat thing underneath and some nice areas to use copy and really easily put your brand in there, and that could become a live page where people can watch and interact, although that is different than the Q&A feature, which I’ll show you in just a second.

Over here on the left hand side, you’ll see a few things, and I haven’t started the broadcast yet, but I will in just a second. You can screen share so you can actually share what’s on your computer, as well, and you can click any window you’d like to share, and that will show and broadcast out to everybody, which is really cool. Here is that Showcase app, and I’m going to show you how that works right now. If I click this button, it’ll open up this panel on the right hand side, and then I can add anything I’d like, a website, where it says add an item from a website.

What I’m going to do is I’m going to put in, and the item will add in just a second, and there it is, and I can actually edit this. What happens is it scrolls through different images. If I cancel this, you’ll see that this image up here will change and slide over into different images just as a way to showcase all the image on what this site is about, but I can just get rid of some of these, maybe I just want to show that one again.

You can see how this might be a little bit difficult if you’re doing this on the fly but this is my website. If you know you’re going to be covering some stuff, you can put some stuff here ahead of time or you can just delete the item if you want, if you have it there and you don’t want it anymore. Here’s that description I just put in, and if I want to share it with everybody, I need to make sure I click on show item.

Successfully saved, okay, if I click on this check box, then everybody who comes on and watches live will see that this is shown and it’s clickable, and they can click it from there, which is really cool. You want to make sure hopefully before you even start your broadcast, you put that up there at least your website or any important things that you know you’re going to mention, so that’s pretty cool.

Then the Q&A feature here, I’m going to turn this one on, that will hide the showcase one and turn on the Q&A one. This is what it looks like on your end as the broadcaster, and there are no questions here because we hadn’t had anybody submit any questions yet, but this is where you would see a list of questions and you’ll see that pop up as we add questions in manually, and what’s pretty cool is everybody gets to vote on their favorite questions so they give plus ones on questions they like, so at the top you’ll be able to rank them based off of the questions that are most popular, which is really cool, and then you can actually highlight the question that you are actually answering, and everybody knows what you’re answering.

What’s cool about that is when people come in perhaps mid-question or maybe they left the room and they’re coming back, they’ll know what you’re talking about at that point. Again, this is why it’s much better, I feel, than having a chat room. I’ve done Q&As before where there’s a chat room and the chat is just going so fast, especially when you get a lot of people there, and some chat software will go and speed down to the last message as soon as a new one is prompted and maybe you were up looking for something or another question or answer. You’re in the middle of answering another question, it gets really difficult, so that’s why I love this Q&A feature.

What I’m actually going to do is I’m going to start broadcast and then I’m going to go into the YouTube page and show you what that’s like and also the event page to show you what that’s like, too. I’m going to hit start broadcast and it will count down. It says go live, you are about to broadcast live on Google+ and YouTube, and you can broadcast up to eight hours. You’d be crazy if you did eight hours straight, although that’d be pretty cool.

All right. Boom, we started broadcasting and it’s at this point you want to welcome everybody and say thank you for joining me in today’s Q&A, really excited to take your questions. Please leave your questions if you’re watching us on YouTube, click on over to the Google event page and you’ll see how people can do that really quickly once I go and finish my introduction here.

Then if you’re on the event page, you can leave your Q&As there, look at the Showcase app for special links that might be helpful to you, and let’s have a good time. I’m going to give you some time to ask a few questions in the meantime, I just want to thanks guys for blah, blah, blah. You can tell a story here. Have stuff prepared ahead of time. There’s a few things you want prepared ahead of time, actually.

Stories to tell, you just write down the bullet point or whatever is in your head if something interesting that happened lately, typically or hopefully related to the topic that you’re talking about in your Hangout, and also you want to have maybe five to ten questions prewritten or thought about ahead of time in case you come up in the beginning and nobody’s asking questions yet, you can just get into the questions that you’ve asked to your own self, and if there’s any dead periods where maybe you’ve answered a question and nobody has asked a new question, you’ll have other questions that, again, you’ve prompted on your own to keep talking.The last thing you want to do is just be here, like okay, yeah, I’m waiting for your question. That’s not really cool.

Let’s go on over to YouTube, so I’m going to grab that YouTube link once again from down here, and I’m going to open up this page and hit that, and you’ll see that it’s talking and it’s me in the past. Anyway, it’s delayed and that’s why, but what people can do and what you should instruct people to do every once in a while, if they happen to land on your YouTube page, and most people if you invited them ahead of time will go to your event page and you will see that in just a second, but if they happened to land on your YouTube page, perhaps they are a subscriber on your YouTube channel, direct them to click on that part that says be part of the conversation.

This is what happens when you click this. That video stops playing and this video starts playing, and this is where people get to see and interact with you. This is what your audience will see. You can see that Showcase item we had here, this is really cool. If I click on more, it will open up my website, which is really cool, and then I can actually go back as the user here and I can add another thing. Let’s add Caleb’s website.

Again, it takes a minute or two to load, not a minute, but a second, and then I can click to show item. You got to remember to click show item, and that’s something you can do. If somebody asks a question and they have a website example, you can just quickly type it in there in the Showcase, and people will easily be able to check it out, which is really cool.

Now, it has been added and so I’m actually going to go back to that other video here and it should pop up again because we’re delayed a little bit. I don’t know how long the delay is. It’s sometimes up to 30 seconds or a minute depending on the connections on both ends. This is kind of different because I’m actually viewing my own on the same computer and same network but eventually that will pop up.

As you can see, it’s a little bit delayed and in the meantime let’s go to the Q&A section. In order for you to see the questions that come in, again, you hit this Q&A button here, but no questions have come in. Let’s ask a question to myself. If we go to the app, this is the thing that’s going to be a little bit hard. You want to make sure that you get your people who are watching this to click over here where it says apps or this is a little grid or a Rubik’s cube, something you can mention that people will be familiar with, and then click on Q&A.

In here, they can ask a new question, so ask a new question. Pat, what is up with your haircut? Why is it so short? Question, and hit submit. As you can see, I’ve submitted this question and it plus one here and there, that was a lot faster, it has included that question here on my control panel as the broadcaster. Let’s go back there and check that out. I can actually select this question because you’re going to get a number of questions that come in. You actually get to see who asked the question and it’s really smart to say, “Hey, we have a question here from Pat Flynn. He says, ‘Pat, what is up with your haircut? Why is it so short?'”

Okay. I’ll answer that question and when you choose to answer a question, you hit select, this is the best practice, you don’t have to do this, you don’t even have to manage this, you can just scroll them if you want, but what this does is as you answer questions, it cleans them out for you, it allows you to go back later and see which questions you’ve answered, as well.

I highly recommend using this, and again, this is why I prefer this over the little chat box below a video. One thing you could do is answer your question, “Why is my haircut so short?” I asked for 1.5 and I didn’t know that that was very short, but that’s what happened, and I’m happy with it. Thanks for the question, Pat Flynn, you’re awesome.

Then I’m going to click done because I’m done answering that question, and that question goes away for me, the broadcast. Going back here, you could see since it’s delayed, it says currently answering, “Pat, what is up with your haircut?” Again, if you we’re to come in mid-broadcast or if one of your audience members came in mid-broadcast, maybe they saw a Twitter hashtag or some sort of link to your live event right now, your Q&A, they would see and know what question was happening already.

Now, I’m curious, if I click on the showcase, will Caleb’s show up? It did not show up and I don’t know why, but it should. Now let me go back to Showcase and see what’s up with that. Show item. Let’s try adding another item. Let’s see., enter. All right. This is a resource that was shared with me by Mindy, and this is a great to-do list checklist application, so I click that, and it says, “Successfully saved all pending changes, shown items will now be visible to your audience.”

Now let’s see. I don’t know where it’s at. The links work, which is pretty cool. I think I know what’s happening. I think it’s because I’m watching my own thing and so it should, it’s not supposed to say, “Add an item from a website.” I think it’s a little bit of a bug because I’m running my own right now, but the showcase would just show these items that pop up, so I don’t know exactly what’s going on and why they’re not showing up for each other right now, but yeah.

The Q&A worked just like it was supposed to, so let’s ask one more question. Question number two. Hit submit and that should pop up for me if I go to the Q&A, so make sure to head back to your Q&A as soon as you can, there it is. Question number two, let’s answer question number two. Okay, da, da, da, da, question number two, answer number two, da, da, da, da, done.

Now if I go here, I can always go back to answered questions, which is really cool, and I can select the ones and go back to them if I want to or just thank the people who have asked questions and things like that. Yeah.

A few other best practices you want to make sure that, again, when you call out people, you say their name, every once in a while, you want to check in with people who are watching on YouTube or on the event page, making sure that they are following instructions. There’s new people who are going to come in every time, make sure to click that Rubik’s cube grid looking thing to get to the Showcase or to ask questions there. If you’re watching this on YouTube, click that little thing that says join the conversation to come to the event page so you can interact with us, all those sorts of things.

Other things you could do for fun, there’s a lot of fun applications here. There’s a toolbox here that allows you to add lower thirds and things like that, so I can add a lower third by turning it on right here, and now it looks backwards to me but if I go back to the broadcast here if it catches up in time. I will say, there it is. See, you can see how it’s straight there.

The videos are actually mirrored here but it looks right on the broadcast, so that’s why it’s like that. You can add your own custom overlay, you can do a few other things here. This stuff isn’t really that important but it’s mostly for the lower third that toolbox application. There’s also other applications you can download like draw and Google Effects but I’m not going to put those in there right now.

Now, the last thing you want to do is just make sure you keep track of time and you’re answering questions and you keep things going, and just thank people for being on and as you’re closing, make sure that when you close, you also provide a call to action. Thank you guys for watching. You always want to make sure that whenever you have people’s attention, you direct them to do something. The Q&As are great for interaction and building authority.

Think of it, you’ve spent this much time with them now and it’s perfect timing right now for you to tell them to do something. Hey guys, thank you so much for watching the Q&A. Head on over to Amazon and pick up Let Go. You can get it for $2.99 and leave a review, that’d be really amazing, thank you so much. You’ve provided so much value here with these answers, it’s only right for you to go ahead and ask for something, definitely. What’s the worst that can happen?

You also want to make sure that you let people know that you’re going to be doing this again, again, to get them to come and get excited for the next one. Also, if you can get them to subscribe to a list if they’re not already, that’s great, you can do some giveaways and things like that, and hopefully you might consider a landing page that you can drive traffic to, to pick up a free guide or a free lead magnet of some sort. It depends on the topics that come up and what your niche is, obviously.

Now, there’s a lot of other uses for these Q&As. Not only is it great for research and for understanding the questions that your audience is asking, but also interaction and building authority, but it’s also great as its only magnet. You can package this up and put it on a page, there’s a replay YouTube channel that’s synced up with your profile, will actually save this broadcast, it will already be ready for you in maybe a half hour or sometimes even less, depending on the length of it.

What’s really cool is you can package that, you can download it, and you can even put it somewhere where people can put in there email address to get access to it. It could perhaps be a lead magnet at the end of your blog post or something that can be really helpful for you to adding people on to your email list. There’s a lot of things you can do with it, and hopefully this gives you an idea of quickly just how easy it is to get it up and running.

There’s a lot of moving pieces, it’s going to be difficult the first time, I wouldn’t stress so much about getting it perfect because you know what? You’re not going to get it perfect. Things always go wrong, but you know what? You are there interacting live with your audience, you’re giving them an experience that’s different and beyond the normal experience people have with your site, and that’s the most important thing.

People are going to be more attached to you, you’re going to build raving fans this way, and that’s the goal here. Q&As, Google Hangouts On Air, just run through the videos again if you need to do it step by step, you can pause in between. Again, it’s super easy and it will get easier over time.

Now, after the event is over, you can actually head on over back to that YouTube page and click on Live Control Room. It’s actually going to give you a lot of cool data about your Q&A in terms of how many people and how long it was, when the most people were on, it could give you some insight, and also, it’s just interesting to see what happened, and you can compare the one that you do next with the one that you do after that and try to improve and, again, the whole idea here is just to get as many people on as possible and interacting and asking questions, and getting people who are listening to you to build trust but also get those people if they’re not already on your list somehow, and again, providing that value, it’s going to be super helpful for you and your rand and the long-term success of it.

All right. I hope you enjoyed that demonstration, Google Hangouts on Air for you and your audience, and it truly is for you and your audience, too. For your audience, it’s great because it allows them to connect with each other and also connect with you, as well, a little bit of access to you, but it also increases your authority level, being the one that answers those questions, and you’re getting direct feedback and questions and concerns and issues and problems, pains, and wants from your audience at that time, which can provide some insight for you in terms of what blog posts to write, what videos to create, what podcast episodes to do, who to interview, and also potentially what products and courses to create.

Next week on SPI TV, we have episode eight, which is going to be all about how to contact and make connections with A listers in your particular market, which is really important if you want to get perhaps on their blog as a guest poster or have them come on to your podcast as an interviewer, or perhaps just establish that relationship for a potential JV partnership, as well.

Look out for episode eight next week, episodes come out every single Friday, please subscribe so they get automatically delivered to you via email if you’re on YouTube or even in your own device if you’re watching this on a podcast on iTunes right now, it’s just super cool. Wherever you’re at, head on over to, you can leave a comment there, and I would love for you to let me know what you think about this Q&A stuff. Have you ever done it? Are you going to do it? If you are, feel free to leave a link to your next Q&A session in that post.

Again, this is episode seven of SPI TV, leave a link there, and perhaps we’ll get some viewers and also some practice along with the other community members here in the SPI community. Thank you so much. Please subscribe and leave a review, they’re very helpful, especially on iTunes, and thank you. I’ll see you next week.

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