Video Online Meetings and Your Professional Positioning. And How To Choose A Good Background

Video Online Meetings and Your Professional Positioning. And How To Choose A Good Background

I probably do not need to explain to you why online video meetings are important. We all have at least one or two online video meetings per day.
After two years in my home office (click here), I have found a set of basic rules for my own online video meetings:
  1. Always have an easy-to-use fallback solution ready for online video meetings with people that you have not met earlier. The Teams program often does not work with new contacts from outside our firm. The “normal” Skype works best if I want to share your screen. I am using Dialpad as the ultimate fallback (which was Uberconference before), and have written about that program before (click here).
  2. Do not use the built-in webcam in your laptop. Get a separate webcam. Compare a few webcams of your friends before you buy one. I have written about this earlier (click here).
  3. Do not use the built-in microphone in your laptop or the webcam. Use a low-cost lapel microphone or a low-cost Sennheiser headset with a microphone. I have written about this earlier (click here). Disable the other microphones, you can watch this video if you want to know how this is done.
  4. Use professional lighting. That’s about USD 100 on Amazon, click here.
  5. If you wear glasses, set your monitor at an angle so that it does not reflect in your glasses.
  6. What will really make the difference is your selection of a background. As you can see in my photographs, my background is a wall of books. This is consistent with my positioning as a patent attorney: I am a man of books. I write them. And I read them.
If you do these things in your own home office, you will position yourself as a professional. Your sound will be clear, the lighting will be effective, the webcam image will be clear, and you will not have reflections on your glasses. If you do these things, you will separate yourself from at least 95% of all video meeting users. Only one in 20 or 50 people that I am meeting online have that.

The Right Background For A Lawyer or Patent Attorney Are Books

This is how I have started out: I have bought three bookshelves and I have filled them with books. That are around 350 books. I have so many books and even many more because I love writing and reading books.

You can have virtual backgrounds today. Every online video software offers them. I have the ChromaCam software that has some extra features, such as displaying your logo in the video. The trouble is, you do not want to use a background that somebody else has already used. You can then go to somebody in your field who has a wall full of filled bookshelves. Ask him to let you take photographs of his wall of books. Use these photographs as virtual backgrounds for your video meetings. But everyone will realize that this wall of books is fake because the fringe of your moving head will flicker during the online video meeting. A real bookshelf will not cause any distortion on the video.

And a further advantage is that a real bookshelf reduces the echo in your office. Which improves your audio signal during online meetings.

You can also buy used books at $10 a book on Amazon, that would be $3,000. Most people don’t want to spend that for a background. That is why having a wall of books behind you really does position you if your positioning is that of a writer.

If you buy books for your bookshelf then you can catch two birds with one stone: the middle books immediately behind your head and above it should be classics in your field. Buy 100 of these books. At $10 a used book, that would be $1,000 through Amazon. That is a reasonable amount to pay. Then read these books and write book reviews. Post the book reviews on your blog site. These will be the books that people that talk with you in online video meetings would be most likely to notice. They should be books with covers because people who know the field can recognize the backs of the covers. They would recognize key authors and books.

The key authors and books will visibly position you in your field. The other books can be filler. They can be related to your field or not. Buy them cheaply over a period of a few years if you go to a lot of spring book sales.


Start improving your online video meetings today.
Buy that webcam and that external microphone. USD 100.
Buy that external lighting set. USD 100.
And buy three used bookshelves for USD 100. and start filling them with used books.
Martin “Improve” Schweiger

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