Are You (Web) Camera-Shy?

Some people are self-conscious in front of a camera. I’m one of those that suffer from webcam shyness. As I’ve been working with our new product—Viddler Training Suite—it occurred to me that other trainees may have the same shyness as I do. Here’s some advice for trainees like me.

In case you’re wondering, I’m really psyched about Viddler Training Suite. As a former trainer, I love the idea of using video or audio to challenge a sales team remotely. This product gives them a new way to practice their skills and get feedback—without needing to travel, take valuable time out of market, or wrestle with time zones and schedules.

However, in order to use Viddler’s “practice playground,” team members need to record themselves, using their webcam or mobile devices. Maybe it’s a generational thing, but I’m a tad uncomfortable in front of any camera—video or otherwise. (I’m a writer, not an actor.) So I need some practical ways to overcome my webcam shyness, and get on with it.

(I’ve already written about webcam use, which will help with some of the basics.)

Don’t Read from a Script

Being a writer, I naturally wrote out my lines before I recorded them for the assignment. I even printed them out in fairly large type, and taped them right above my webcam—like a poor man’s teleprompter. The results were better than if I’d put the script on the desk below, or even on the screen, but it still wasn’t great.

If I’m practising my face-to-face interactions with a prospect, it needs to be real. I’ll never persuade anyone if I’m reading from notes in a live meeting, so why should I do that in practice?

The answer, of course, is to have all my messaging down pat—not a memorized speech, but a message I really believe in, and can express in a natural and engaging way. Yes, it will require LOTS of practice and rehearsal, but that’s what the Viddler Training Suite is for!

Trust Your Team

You may not like how you’re coming across on camera, but by definition you’re not an objective observer. Viddler Training Suite was designed to facilitate peer coaching as well as coaching by an expert trainer or team leader, so let them provide the feedback. By relying on in-timeline comments and performance rankings, you can really improve your training game.

Yes, it’s possible that a teammate or leader may judge you unfairly at times, but that’s what has happened among teams of people since the stone age. (Fortunately, Viddler is a completely private environment, so disagreements about fair or unfair feedback are not aired to the entire company.)

Switch to Audio, When Appropriate

If you’re rehearsing a technique that involves a phone call, why let the video aspect get in the way? Viddler Training Suite lets you record audio rather than video for practise scenarios, while still letting team leaders or peers comment in-line, and rate performance factors.

Stay Focused on Results

Remember that the purpose of a video “practice playground” is not to make you a movie star, but to sharpen your interaction skills with clients and prospects. Being a better communicator about getting results (more closes, more efficient calls, or any other business metric relevant to your team), not accolades on style. Yes, it will feel great when your feedback shows progress, but keeping your focus on results will put things in proportion.

Change is On the Way

Part of the problem with traditional webcams is that they’re relatively old technology. That is changing. Not only is video recording improving in quality and mobile-readiness, but the way it works is becoming more like real, face-to-face interaction. Also, don’t forget that you are capable of change. Having webcam shyness is a habit you can alter—with the help of better recording technology, support from your team, and a platform like the Viddler Training Suite.