Unfortunately, there is probably a good chance you have some “bad hair day” reasons for being reluctant to use your webcam. For example:
- Your dog ate your comb/brush.
- A psychic told you it’s bad luck to shower before a web presentation.
- You don’t have any clean shirts because somebody broke into your home and stole all of your laundry detergent.
- You have contracted a rare disease where your eyebrows grow 4 inches (10 centimeters) an hour.
Believe me, I’ve heard all the excuses (e.g. webcams can be choppy, my business culture doesn’t embraced webcams, my image is washed out because I’m in a bright office). Although I’m not buying the excuses (most, if not all of them I’ve heard, can be addressed), I do respect every presenter’s opinion. No arm twisting here. Shame, yes. Arm twisting, no.
So, if you’re convinced a webcam can’t work for you, consider this alternative: a presenter focus slide. In those situations where I discussed turning on your webcam or simply replace “webcam” with a presenter focus slide that has your picture on it, preferably when your comb wasn’t broken and you had plenty of laundry detergent.
You may even want to use a picture which communicates an interest you have (e.g. in the outdoors, visiting a much-loved place, or playing a musical instrument or sport). However nothing too distracting, as you don’t want to take away from your presentation. Also, consider adding pertinent information about yourself (e.g. title, location, contact information) to your presenter focus slide.
Here’s a comparison. Have you ever seen a TV news show where the reporter is broadcasting from a location that doesn’t allow for a live video feed (e.g. the eye of a hurricane, an astronaut in space, or a climber atop Mt. Everest)? Was there just a blank screen and the reporter’s voice? No. The broadcast included a picture of the reporter over a background image of the location.
You need to do the same thing when “reporting” on a key message during your web presentation or demonstration (openings, value statements, closings, etc.), but aren’t using a live feed (e.g. a webcam). At least give your audience a picture of you on location (a presenter focus slide).
Now, get out there and give some killer web demos and presentations, OK? Do something that sets you apart from your competitors. Make your skill at delivering a differentiating web presentation one more reason for your prospects and customers to remember you.
And make sure to check back in June for some tips on building your web presenting “stage”.