Congratulations to Stephanie Crawford, RN, BSN, CLNC for successfully using videoconferencing with her attorney-clients. She shared with me, “Even though I have a fondness for settling down with my records, a mug of coffee and wearing sweatpants… I wore my black suit for my first videoconference. It was a milestone accomplishment to step up to the big league lawyers and meet this attorney via webcam.”
Here are some tips for doing your own legal nurse consulting videoconferences with attorney-clients.
- First of all, to videoconference successfully, you’ll need to have a webcam. Make sure the webcam you use has a high-quality picture with a good microphone built-in. Prices are pretty low so this might be a good time to buy a new webcam. If you’re stuck on using an older, microphone-less webcam, you can purchase a separate microphone. Avoid the headset/boom-mike look unless you really want to look like a telephone operator or someone from NASA. Many Apple laptops come with a built-in camera and microphone so you won’t need to buy any additional gear to start videoconferencing.
- Be sure your hardware – that means your computer, Internet connection and especially your webcam – are all in working condition. Then check that the volume and picture settings are correct. My personal webcam has a motion detector that can track movements in a limited area (people on the other end of the videoconference said the constant motion made them queasy). It will also move to pick up anyone who walks into view of the webcam. I find this to be distracting and have disabled it. Now the picture is stable.
- Be sure that both you and the attorney(s) are using compatible software. Skype is an easy to use, and free, program that allows videoconferencing over just about any Internet connection. It’s fairly intuitive when it comes to setting up and connecting with other Skype users. There are other programs out there that you can research using Google.
- Dress professionally and be dressed from head-to-toe. One of Tom’s treasured Dilbert cartoons shows an unshaven, unshowered Dilbert videoconferencing while wearing a bathrobe. He’s holding a Dilbert finger-puppet in front of the camera. In reality you can’t predict whether you’ll be standing up, retrieving a legal nurse consulting document or doing something else that may expose more of you to the videoconference than you expected. You don’t want to forget and accidentally show your attorney-client that you’ve got on Sponge Bob pajama bottoms under your suit jacket. You may walk through the webcam’s range too so dump the fuzzy pink slippers (they’re a fire hazard anyway). The newer webcams can pick up and broadcast an amazing amount of detail with complete clarity so check your teeth for broccoli before you fire up the conference.
- Clear your background and clean up your legal nurse consulting office. Whatever is shown in the background of your webcam’s picture reinforces your image as a professional. You may need to temporarily move your computer to a different room and even shuffle some furniture around.
- Cut down on possible distractions. Move your cell phone and land-line telephone handsets to another room (to avoid ringing) and consider putting a sign on your doorbell asking visitors to knock. If you have your email program running in the background be sure to silence any sounds that indicate the arrival of new email.
- Send any visuals in advance. If you’re going to be showing exhibits, demonstrative evidence or your CLNC® work product to the attorney, remember that these may be difficult to see over a webcam. Consider sending them before hand in .pdf format (so your attorney-client can easily open them without worrying about document format compatibilities).
- Prepare a list of bullet-points or write out a script you wish to follow during the videoconference. Keep it handy and even consider posting it behind your webcam so that you can see it without looking away from the camera.
- Address the webcam, not the picture of the attorney on your screen, otherwise you’ll appear to be looking down.
- Practice videoconferencing with other Certified Legal Nurse Consultants and ask for their feedback before you take it to the big time with your attorney-clients. You may need to learn to sit up straight, address the camera directly and avoid unnecessary movements. Think of it as good training for your first expert witness experience.
Finally, remember to have fun. Be yourself and let your personality come through. Videoconferencing can add another dimension to your legal nurse consulting business if you let it and, if you’re prepared and ready for it.
Success Is Inside!
P.S. Comment and share your tips or experiences with videoconferencing.