Invest In Eye Contact
What you'll need to ensure you're making as much eye contact with people as possible when presenting online.
One of the most important investments I recommend to you right now is in making eye contact. I’m happy to tell you why and how.
Making eye contact is as crucial, if not more so, when you’re meeting with people on-screen as it is when you’re meeting in-person. If you’re not making eye contact, I believe you’re missing out on important opportunities to make connections with people, make sure you’re understood, make sure you’re listening, make progress in your work and relationships, and make money.
This may seem like common sense to you, but it may not be so obvious as to how you can ensure you’re making eye contact with people during your online meetings and presentations. You can accomplish this by investing a little bit of money and time to become proficient with a teleprompter (beamsplitter).
There are three practical applications for you when using a teleprompter:
1. When you read your notes or script, you’ll be looking directly into the camera and making eye contact with people watching you present, (instead of down, or off to the side).
2. When you look at other people on the screen, you’ll be looking directly into the camera and making eye contact with them.
3. Switch between #1 and #2 above to accomplish both and ensure you’re making eye contact as often as possible when presenting on-screen.
There are tech items you’ll need to buy, some free software to download, and time to spend getting comfortable. But, it’s money and time well spent if you’re serious about your career and professional relationships.
In the picture I’ve attached, an external camera is mounted on a tripod inside the hood of the teleprompter. If I used the internal camera at the top of my computer when looking on my computer screen at my notes/script, or the people on the screen in the meeting with me, I would not be making eye contact, but be looking down.
By beaming the script/notes and the people I’m in the meeting or event with on a glass screen in front of the camera lens, I’m making eye contact as often as possible.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Tablet Teleprompter (Beamsplitter) $270
External Webcam (e.g. Logitech C922x Pro, $100, HuddlecamHD$400)
Portable Gaming Monitor (10”) $170
USB-C AVMultiport adapter ($85)
ATEM Mini Switcher ($450) (optional; comes with software)
USB-C cable ($15)
Teleprompter App on your mobile device (free, or upgrade fora small amount)
Single solution: about $700
Dual solution: about $1,200
Even if you don’t present or meet online on a regular basis, this small investment in money and time will pay off.
Making eye contact has been essential to my hosting/entertaining and leadership training business for decades. Talking to camera is essential to my television and digital content experience.
With the pandemic, however, and my almost complete transition to performing and presenting online, I needed a little nudge in terms of the technical equipment and software required to ensure I’m making eye contact as often as possible. I got that nudge from Seth Godin at an online event many months ago. I’m pleased to be giving you that same nudge now.