Don’t buy any software, don’t buy any templates, don’t buy any websites when you can do it ALL for free. Contrary to the popular belief that you have to spend to make is a thing of the past. Why not save your money for the $10 beer at the ball game instead of paying 60 minutes to share on a teleconference.
Quit sending attachments and start sending links. Links do not eat up memory on the email server and get opened more consistently than attachment. Also viruses are non existent at the moment since the technology is so new. Although there are more benefits let’s get down to the details on how you can use this system to integrate into your real estate education practice.
Here are the Ten Ways to Use Google Docs for Real Estate Education
- Budget. Your 2009 budget may need some guidance from your close colleagues, mastermind, or accountant. Draft the most common expenses in a spreadsheet format and invite your trusted advisers to preview your budget or make suggestions on how you could better use your money. Use already designed templates or upload your existing excel or .csv file to Google Docs and begin sharing. I think you will agree that it is not recommended to publish this document to the internet.
- Flyers. Every seminar, class, convention, or webinar that you participate in will need to be produced in a Microsoft Word Type format. Why not upload the flyer to Google Docs and invite others to collaborate on your verbiage, style, or content so that when it is time to go live then you have people that are ready to say yes to attending your event.
- Creating websites. Every single document that you create in Google Docs creates a unique web page. This can be published to the internet for the entire world to see. Also if you are creating documents you can link individual pages to each other. I recommend designing a template of links that can appear either as a header or footer for you to copy and paste on to every page that you create.
- PowerPoint presentations. Collaborate and share your commonly used PowerPoint presentations with your group, students, and real estate commission. Instead of sending the email attachment that gets deleted more often than not send the link of the presentation. Google Docs will also let you post your PowerPoint to your own web page. For example see http://docs.google.com/Present?docid=ddtd5whr_37q5krkxhk
- Templates. Every school, speaker, association, or instructor has its own unique brand and color scheme that is consistent on all of their promotional materials. Create one document that contains the “header” of Microsoft Word with your business information at the top. Each time you add a new document, memo, or letter then copy the document to a new page and rename the page to title of your choice.
- Surveys. Surveys are the best methods to ensure you are meeting the expectations of the people that you are trying to serve. Create a spreadsheet in Google Docs and choose the form icon. Next, add the questions, answer style, and answers to the questions. Fill in the blank is also an option. Once the form is finished then you will need to set up a formula using the =COUNTIF(range,value) in the desired cells where the answers will not appear. Next create a chart from the values assigned to the answers of the questions. This data will now be used to create the style of chart you prefer. As individuals type their answers to the questions asked the values will change and so with the graph. This survey and results can appear on a website, blog, or withing Google Docs. How COOL!
- Registration forms. Since Google Docs will not allow for secure credit card payments to transact you may want to create a document that your attendees will want to fax in. Simply choose from one of the fax templates in Google Docs and copy and paste the basic information for registration. Add your fax number in the fax to:, add the name of the class in the subject, and fill in any of the other fields so that attendees can fill in their contact information and send it in. Snail mail is also an option but highly unlikely.
- Handouts. Each class that meets the needs of the kinesthetic learners will demand thorough handouts that explain complicated examples or exercises. Create and upload from Microsoft Word to Google Docs so they can then be shared. Encourage your students to download the materials ahead of time so you can save some trees.
- Class rosters. Create a registration form for classes or functions that do not require payment. Do this by starting a spreadsheet in excel and choose the form tab. Select create a new form and start adding the contact information. This can be useful for generating email lists, phone numbers, license numbers and other important data that would be a challenge to receive individually by asking.
- Webinars. Webinars can now be free for the host and free for the students. This would apply to non-for profit organization and people who donate their expertise for a group in need. Create a PowerPoint presentation in Google Docs and publish it to the internet. Next choose start presentation. At the top right of the screen there will be another website that will take people to the presentation mode of your PowerPoint and allow for instant messaging. Set up a free teleconference service at http://www.InstantConference.com that gives you a number and passcode for the meeting. Generate the teleconference meeting information, website for presentation mode in PowerPoint, and email the information to your attendees. This will allow for a synchronous learning environment to communicate with the instructor over the phone and by email. If you want to enable a polling feature then pay $50 a month for http://www.zukuweb.com to allow your attendees to vote using their cell phone.
The only challenge with using Google Docs is the limitations of the service we will discuss in another blog post in the future. The main being that Google appears on everything which may effect the image of the brand. For for small business owners, the tech challenged, and those who are on a limited budget will love the benefits of participation. Stay tuned for more ideas and innovation using Google Docs.