People familiar with me and how I run my brokerage know that I am not a big "meeting guy." If an agent or associate broker needed something, they could call or email me. Much of our training has always been in the hands on mentoring mode rather than a group lecture. And my team loved that they didn't have to schlep out to the office and suffer through my yammering and bad jokes. At least, that has always been my spin on things.
When the firm was a small band of compadres, that worked fine. When we started to push almost 40 people, I was finding my time squeezed, and often had to repeat myself for the same questions. At that point, it made sense to offer an optional weekly meeting and bang out some learning with Yours Truly.
And so we commenced with the Great Schlep. Every Monday night the team could come and hang with me as we deconstructed civilization and covered a little bit of real estate. Troubleshooting, training, questions and answers, and presentations from guests. That lasted a few months, but the schlep was seldom well attended. Cozy? Yes. Personalized? For sure. Efficient?
Um, no. Not efficient.
We came upon the idea of a Google Hangout over the summer, and attendance went up. It was far easier: no schlep, no gas used, no putting on my face, and engaging the team from Command Central in my basement (which used to be psychologist's office-go figure!).
Google Hangouts are really easy. If you have a Gmail account you have an automatic Google Plus profile, and aside from a $20 web cam (or the one you probably already have on your laptop), there are no fees. You log on, you do a couple of clicks, and you are in a virtual meet-up with real faces, real voices and real communication.
The applications outside industry are infinite- online dating, tucking your kids in bed while away on business, you name it. But for our firm the application has been a phenomenal tool. We've tweaked the process to be at least once a month, and there are tools in the box that are both fun and useful, such as TV anchor-style name under your face (pictured), or even a funny hat app (we don't break that one out very often). The host of the hangout can also record the session, so it can be archived for future use.
The potential is incredible, and the utility for a growing company is hard to exaggerate. NO Great Schlep. A real meeting with the associates all at their homes, dens, and kitchen tables. And work gets done. And needless to say, it is not lost on the team that our organization is leveraging technology well ahead of the curve. Maybe because we aren't kids the novelty adds a little excitement; nobody dozes off.
I'd encourage all brokers, managers and team leaders to utilize the platform. Google hangouts make good hangouts, but they also make effective and easy office meetings. I am very pro-effective and easy.