10 Tips for Using Video Like a Pro

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Level Up Your Therapy Practice & Client Experience With Video

As more clients are looking to work with therapists through telehealth options, knowing what technology to use, and getting it set up, can feel daunting. A great remote video appointment doesn’t have to be difficult. In this webinar replay, we’ll teach you how to professionally and easily incorporate video into your practice for better telehealth sessions.

Cory will teach you simple techniques to:

  • Enhance your video experience with colleagues and clients alike
  • Select the right technology to support effortless remote sessions
  • Improve sound quality with effective and inexpensive methods
  • Adopt simple lighting techniques

Webinar Transcript


Hey everybody, welcome back to another AllCounselors.com live webinar. I’m excited to talk about and share 10 tips for using online video like a pro.


You know, the past couple of this whole year 2020 has been pretty tough on a lot of people. But I know therapists in particular, transitioning to telehealth and remote therapy and using the tools and at All Counselors, we get it: you spend the bulk of your career and your work time, knee to knee in the same space, same air with your clients. And this has been a drastic change for most every therapist we’ve talked to. So with that, going to telehealth and having to embrace online tools and technology like that, I wanted to share these tips for helping you think through how to just “up” your online presence in your video. And so we’re going to talk about these tips right now.


And I want to say a special thanks to our sponsor, Integrative Life Center in Nashville, Tennessee, a full service, mental health and substance abuse program in Nashville, Tennessee, great people over there at ILC.


So real quick, my name is Cory Miller, I’m the founder and CEO of AllCounselors.com doing good work in the world for you,  therapists to be your sidekick, to be your BFF to help you with all those things around your practice. You work on, you know helping people heal and their journeys. We want to help you with all this other stuff to make your life better at AllCounselors.com but my past real quick is (and why I’m qualified maybe just to talk about these things) I started and grew a multimillion dollar business over 10 years. Sold that business in 2018, now I teach on entrepreneurship, digital marketing, these type of topics, these are actually what helped me build my software business over a decade before it was acquired.


And then you know, my life purpose and calling is to champion mental health in the world, and to obliterate the stigma of mental health. And part of the exponential impact I know we can have it AllCounselors.com is helping you, freeing you to reach more people, help more people, and help them better. So that’s part of our little spiel there and why I’m sharing this today.


Okay, we already said thanks to our great partners over Integrative Life Center. But so in this, some of the outcomes, everywhere, whatever we did on All Counselors, we want to make sure we have an outcome in mind, that we’re helping you take key steps to go from point A to point B to improve everything around your practice in yourself and your career.


And so in this one, we want to help you specifically, really up your game with remote video and your presence there. And then you know, so that you feel more confident about what you’re doing with technology (and we get it you’re kind of been forced to transition a lot of your practices to fully remote or fully online). And so and also just giving you some some thoughts about these and helps.


So I’m going to go through these fairly fast. If you have questions, you can always put those in the chat and or ask a question at AllCounselors.com on what we talked about today. But first step is always , you have to have good fast internet. So a lot of people don’t do this. The reason why I actually have an office that I’ll work out of my home is because we don’t have access to good reliable internet at my house. It’s what’s called point to point there’s an excellent antenna on top that shoots over to some big television channel. Antennas were the other signals there. And they’re hooking us into the internet. So we don’t even have a lot like, you know, plug in type for Wired internet. And so that is absolutely key though a lot of you, you know, it works for Netflix, it works for Hulu. Before all this happened, it was just fine. But now that you’re doing video all day, every day, fast, reliable internet, it might be a time to say let’s let’s upgrade our internet package. I’ve actually heard lots of counselors talk about that it’s time to do that.


But a couple of things you could do to ensure speedy, reliable internet, and we’ll talk more about this, is to pause all your downloads on devices and things like that. I’ll talk about shutting down your alerts and stuff and actually quitting apps and things. But one of the best ways you can figure out how fast your internet is just simply go over here to Google and type in speed test and run this little speed test that comes up. So you can see this is this is really fast internet. This is the download speed. That’s super, super awesome. Which by the way, go Cox.


I spend a lot of money on this internet at the office for this very reason. And then you can see this, okay, once it does all this, it’ll give you a little thing to say okay, this is really really fast or it’s really really slow and what to expect. So you can tell here like it’s very fast. That’s good, because I paid pretty good money for this, you should be able to do all these things. So take that speed test and see what comes out and see if it might, that might be a quick way to see if it’s time to upgrade your internet.


So, I know this might feel awkward because you’re so used to being in the same room with people breathing the same air, helping people seeing their facial reaction, full body, all this stuff. But headphones to mimic as best as possible, to get as close as possible to the real face to face type scenario. You really need to up your game in a lot of areas and audio video is one of the best ways to do that. So we talked about good internet, that’s a must. Second is using headphones. You’ll see I’ve got headphones in right now. And I’ll talk about this actually, this is a headphone and mic setup. We’ll talk about mics in a second. But headphones because let’s say like I actually have the window open here. I know during your cleanse client sessions, you’ve got to be really careful about privacy anyway. But there’ll be somebody driving up to the office. And that that’s a distraction for me.


Now, that doesn’t help with the mic setup, necessarily. But having headphones where I can just hear the person and not rely on my laptop speaker is so key. So removing distractions, and being able to focus is so absolutely awesome. But if you do have headphones for your clients, by the way is this something you might suggest them to if they’ve got a smartphone, and they’ve got like this, this is an iPhone, but they’ve got the wired or the air pods to use those for your remote counseling sessions because they helped just minimizing distractions. And I think one of these sites I’ve got like airpods are for from Apple are fantastic. The airpod pros are worth the money. Now if you’re using the airpods all day, you want to be careful how because they are rechargeable, so the batteries will deplete. Of course, this is for instance, a plugged in mic so it doesn’t need power. So that’s one of the benefits of having something like this. But airpods are awesome. Again, they instantly up the quality for everybody involved.


Okay, number three is to consider a mic. So it’s the yin and yang of this is a headset for you to be able to hear the person, your clients, but also a mic so they can hear you well, hear your voice crisp and clear. So this is actually a, it’s about $80, it’s actually a gaming video game headset. But one of my partners was saying  you got to go buy this Cory, I use this all the time, I actually bring it from home when I’m doing stuff at home to my office back and forth. And it always goes with me because I can just, you know, pull it over my head walk in plug in. It’s just a fantastic mic.


Now, regarding mics, most newer laptops do have great mics. And even speakers, I mean, they’ve come so far. But if you want to up the level too, and again, a mic, so my mics over here for my laptop, if sometimes I’ve worked, I’ve done meetings where somebody can’t hear me on this mic, but I’ll instantly put my headphones on with my mic and they’re like 100 times better. So just think about that if you’re using a laptop for your telehealth sessions. And airpods are so fantastic. If you can upgrade for the airpod pros, that’s the way to go. Because those are noise cancelling. And so even if you know somebody is out there, or honking their horn, you’re not going to be distracted going like this, like you can actually really cancel out a lot of the noise. They’re awesome.


And I’m going to put a link to this in the show notes, the webinar notes for this headset. Right here, see, I thought I had all these organized better, right there. Okay, I’m gonna put that in the chat for you. So you have that. And then we’ll go in the show notes to where you can buy that core master. You can see I’ve had it since August, and I love it. So 80 bucks. Okay. https://amzn.to/3mWV6TJ


Next, minimize the background distractions. So, you know, you’re at home, and you know, really  let’s say you’re at home or your office. Be careful what you’re seeing looks like behind you, if you can see me to the side here. So see how I’m trying to minimize distractions. Like, books are awesome, but I want to make sure like if I’m with a client or something, people always mentioned my Lego thing. That can be a distraction, right? So minimize the background distractions where they’re not trying to read, let’s say you know, your, your diploma on the back wall or something, whatever you think could potentially be a distraction for somebody, make sure you minimize that, but I’m always working on my backgrounds. So we can focus on what we’re talking about and not on things that aren’t important. So I’m always tweaking my setup.


So there’s another idea, like if you’re in your room, wherever you’re sitting, doing your sessions, where you can minimize background sessions, I’ve seen, actually people buy these little changing screens, and put directly behind them. So therefore, you know, that screen might be right directly behind me here. But that’s all you can see, you can’t see personal items, if I’m in my house, things like that. And these little screens are pretty affordable. And that’s one option. I’ve seen people do this and it pulls off, I think, pretty well, if you’re sensitive to other, you know, background distractions.


So my counselor for instance, right now is currently having to operate out of his home for most of our sessions. And you know, he’s always got it framed really well, because I know there’s issues you want to be careful of not, you know, having, having details about your personal life and potential like that. But that’s for you all to figure out, I just want to say, here’s some options for minimizing the background distractions.


Okay, have good lighting. So this is absolutely key to again, just the whole experience, see  little things we’re trying to use and build up so that the whole experience is just like, wow, this person, professional. I’m not distracted by the technology, things on the background of the wall, the ambient noise and stuff that’s coming in, you know,  all these little things just to make the whole experience just up a notch like really, truly professional. So good lighting goes with that.


So you can see, for the most part, my face is lit right here. That’s because I have a light, you can’t see it, it’s right up there like, specifically for this. Now, my natural light windows over here, and that’s actually one of the best ways to light your face. And you can see over here, you can see some of that’s coming in over here. But most my face is lit from this one right here. Now when I’m at home, I actually face the window. Because the lighting isn’t that good there and I don’t have a ring light, like I’ll show you here in just a second, at home. So if you face a window, you got that natural sunlight, and then you can use curtains and kind of soften the light, if it’s too bright. This light, the ring light advantage there I can just turn it down or up. In fact, it probably needs to turn it a little bit down. So have good lighting, that’s a couple of ways you can do that. And I’m going to get you. Let’s see here links.


There we go. (shared in chat)


This is this is one of those two, and I’ll put that in the chat for you as well. Kind of a ring light, that’s what’s up right here that you can’t see. So if you want to go and spend a little bit of money, that’s a good option for you.


Okay, next one is, I see this all the time, they’re on their laptops, and so they’re looking down, you know, looking down at the camera, at you, and I always like to get straight on, I want my eyes looking straight on at the camera as best as possible so that when you see it on the flip side, you think you’re looking straight at me. So get eye level as best you can. So like this camera is is on the top of my external monitor hooked into my laptop, but I get it and I’ve got a couple books you can’t see. But to make sure like I’m looking more straight onto the camera unless instead of down.


Now there’s another thing you can do to get this if you just have a laptop, there’s a you can buy a stand at Amazon. I bought this stand right here, it is not for sale anymore. Okay. But let’s see, like this right here. You can see I’ve purchased it two times purchased it for my wife to for this exact reason. But this little stand sits under your laptop sits on top of that. And they’re like 20 bucks or so. Like this one. I don’t know why this is out of the out of stock, but I’ll put this here too. So you can look at this, this laptop stand. That can help you raise up a little bit and get more straight on with the camera, if possible. But I use that quite a bit. And then you know, I just stack books and things like that to get it more eye level. So there’s number six.


Number seven, turn off all alerts and notifications and quit all your apps. Now alerts and notifications are two sides of one coin. The alerts are just about distractions. And you know you’re trying to see here on zoom, but then you see the little notification bar come up and your eyes go up and just the same principles when you probably, in your in person sessions, put your phone in airplane mode or do not disturb. Same thing with your computer. And this has probably might have happened to you like for instance, I get calendar alerts on mine. So in big meetings, I’ll turn off my, or webinars like this, I’ll turn off my notifications. So I don’t get distracted.


Quitting the apps is key, because you need more processing power. So oftentimes, like zoom, for instance, a lot of the video stuff is very heavy on processing on RAM. And so you want to quit all the apps that you have to free up more resources for the video application. Now you can see here I’ve got a bunch of tabs, I’m the tabs guy. But that also means winnowing down all your tabs, in addition to quitting all your apps. They all take processing power from your computer that they can slow down and cause less than favorable audio video results for you.


Number seven, and then number eight, I got this actually from my coach, so I can’t see a coach every week. And she told me one time she said, we’ve never met in person, by the way, but I’ve been working with her for almost two years now. And when we have our sessions, she puts, in zoom, my face specifically in full screen mode. And she said that helps because you can see nuances in face and stuff. Body language, reactions, all that kind of stuff. And she’ll she’ll make notes about it, hey, when you said that it looked like you looked like this. And by having my photo, you know, my video fullscreen on her site, one it’s alleviating distractions, but also gives you all this space, let’s say if you’re using an external monitor, with a keyboard to go like I’m focusing just on this person. So full screen mode is another way to enhance your video online video presence.


So this is kind of on the internet thing, but get as close as you can to WiFi. So most of us have WiFi works probably well for Apple TV and the different devices and Hulu and streaming on your on your Netflix. But I like to use every edge we can to up the quality and one is if your WiFi. Let’s say think about where you are now and your WiFi and you’re just over the network, right? Cruising the internet, if there’s something between where you are and your, your router that can cause problems, particularly like a brick wall, or a metal metal in a wall, or so try to get as close as you can to the WiFi. And even the plus one to that is, and I do this typically at my office I don’t right now I’m actually on WiFi. But I typically plug into the router straight into the router. So then I’m not even worried about the space between my laptop and the router to get in and out back and forth. Right. So plugging in might be another option for you, too. If it’s feasible with your home or office setup. So that’s number nine. get as close as you can to WiFi.


Okay, number 10 is one that I don’t always say it with pride. But it’s such an essential tip: I have a backup plan. Technology, I’ve been working with technology for a very long time, can pull in will glitch and cut out on you. So always, always, always from your website, to the way you store your documents have a backup plan, specifically for online video. So I know a lot of counselors we talked to, their backup plan is, you know, FaceTime on the phone. So having a backup plan obviously means I need to have the person’s phone number Do they even have that, you know, and that can be in your intake and your scheduling, you know, emails that you send and stuff like that is like, hey, if for some reason, our internet, my internet goes down, what’s our backup plan, and you lead that conversation. So I’ve heard a lot of people they do FaceTime or Google meet, Skype’s another option too, of course, but I would highly suggest let’s say you use Zoom for all your telehealth having another platform like Google Meet is actually free. If you have Google what’s called Google workspace now used to be  called G Suite. You get Google Meet for free. So that could be a backup or FaceTime. Whatever else I promise you, you’re gonna be better off if you have a backup plan for these things. You’re not fumbling around. So you tell people ahead of time if internet cuts out for any reason, here’s my phone, or here’s how here’s our backup backup option. I highly recommend that so you make sure and ensure continuity within the session.


Okay, so that’s my 10 tips. Let’s go over them real quick: ensure speedy reliable internet. Use headphones. So I’m going to talk next about the mic, but have some headphones around that always ups the quality for it and a mic. So this is the Coolermaster Mh 751 version. It’s about $80, I love it because it’s headphone and mic and it doesn’t have to have batteries. It plugs straight into the mic port on my laptop.


Minimize the background distractions. This is actually paneling. four by eight paneling, I got at Lowe’s, that looks like wood. But  it took me five minutes, it took me longer to carry it up to my office than it did to hang it. So minimize your distractions, if something’s in the background that’s going to cause someone for their thought to wander or to be distracted. cram that down, push it down, quiet that as best you possibly can. And I mentioned the changing screen. Number five is have good lighting. So again, we talked about natural window light coming in, or buying a ring top light that illuminates your face better, just another way.


And by the way, most of these things people don’t know, they don’t need to know, they don’t need to see, you know, but you’re just taking incremental steps to up to up the quality of it. I love what we said straight on. So I’m straight on here. Looking out level into the camera. And by the way, when I do my video myself, I put it right here, I don’t think you can see it. But right, that’s my camera right under my camera is the video I would see of somebody else. So I’m actually looking at a picture of myself right now. But see how it kind of appears that I’m looking straight into the camera. So that’s a little hack there is putting the video if you don’t do full screen for the video as high as you can toward wherever your camera is.


Turn off alerts notifications on your phone, you already do that probably but also your laptop and then quit all the apps you can don’t have your calendar app don’t have you know, Microsoft Word setting up, quit everything you can but your video application. That will free up processing power and reduce distractions for you. Put your video in full screen mode, get close to Wi Fi or better yet plugged in. So you just need one of these little cables typically, and they’re just called Ethernet cables, so you need one that plugs probably straight into your router. And you might need an adapter for your laptop for the other side. And that’s another way to increase the quality of your internet and thus your video. The ten is always have a backup plan. Always, always, always have a backup plan what happens if everything hits the fan, and the cannon will with technologyand thinking through that.


Alright, so your homework is take one of these tips and just take one incremental step between now in the next seven days. Now in the next seven days, just take one of these tips and say hey, I’m going to improve  my online video presence with my clients. And this is what I’m gonna do. I’m going to pick one of these AllCounselors.com suggestions and implement it in your practice. As always, this is this is a part of a members webinar, members training event. And so we invite you to sign up for a membership at AllCounselors.com/join, you’ll get an access to events like these and more replays of these videos. We’re rolling out guides, courses, tutorials to help you do things around business, marketing, technology, eventually self care, and in 2021 will have CE credits for one out very soon. So please come join us. We’d love to have you at AllCounselors.com. Thank you for being here today as so much appreciate and look forward to you to be at our next event. So I hope you’ll sign up AllCounselors.com/join for sure. I’m Corey Miller, thank you so much for being here.

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