This morning I was invited to participate as a witness in an online legal proceeding.
The hearing was conducted virtually, and the participants-- including the judge, the lawyer, the lawyer's assistant, the plaintiff, the witnesses and court stenographer--all joined from their homes.
I was struck by the high variation of the level of projected professionalism of the participants.
Here are a few tips to help you look and sound your best when video-conferencing.
Place your device so the camera lens at eye level. This often means placing your laptop on a stack of books. In this picture, the participant looks down to see the camera. People do not like the sense of being looked down upon. Look directly at the camera instead of at the images of the participants.
Pay attention to the lighting. A quick tip is to sit in front of a window, and then place your laptop between you and the window. I use a halo ring light when I cannot rely on natural light.
Pay attention to sound quality. The quality of sound impacts the quality of the experience with you when video-conferencing. Don't rely on the internal speakers on your device; instead, I highly recommend that you invest in a digital mic. I use a Blue Snowball mic. Do what you can to avoid background noise. Silence your phone. Make a plan for your kids and pets so they do not make audio appearances. You can even hang a sign over your doorbell "Please do not ring."
Pay attention to your surroundings. You want the focus to be on you--and not on what's happening behind you. Is your video-conferencing environment uncluttered and tidy?
Pay attention to what you wear. Solid color fabrics work best. I advise that you invest in a consult so you know what colors suit you best. Yes, that includes men! Avoid busy patterns. Keep jewelry simple.
You want to maintain the highest professional standards in person and online.
© 2020. Vicki Rackner MD. All rights reserved. You may reproduce this blog post with the following by-line:
Vicki Rackner MD is an author, speaker and consultant who offers a bridge between the world of medicine and the world of business. She helps financial advisors acquire physician clients, and she helps physicians run more successful practices. Contact her at (425) 451-3777.