With the “shelter at home” status enforced virtually everywhere, online (or on-camera) teaching has become pretty much our only option. However, as a seasoned on-camera performer and international presenter, for over 20 years, it has been hard for me to watch some of the content that I see being shared, due to the reduced production quality.
Now, I will say that at this time, content wins over production quality. That said, however, most students/clients are used to paying for their sessions, and whether you are giving them sessions for free or for a fee now, they deserve the best experience that you can offer them. Once this pandemic has passed, you will likely want to continue working them. Make this experience the best that you can, so that you will continue to have those clients, (and perhaps even for LIFE).
Here are my top 5 tips for offering the best virtual experience to your clients:
Let the light shine. – Natural light is always best. The key is for you to face a window or glass door so that the light hits your face. Steer away from backlighting yourself. A clean and organized “set” is helpful, as well.
Mic up, Baby! –Offer your clients the best quality audio that you can. Having a microphone set-up is such a simple fix. Whether you are filming or broadcasting on a smartphone using a pair of Bluetooth, earbuds will help you deliver better quality audio. If you are using a digital camcorder or XLR, you might want to consider purchasing a wireless lavalier/headset mic set-up. If you already have a wireless mic, you can likely use it with your smartphone, as long as you purchase the appropriate adapter.
Your Words Have Power – Choose them wisely – Training with you virtually is as big of an adjustment for your clients, as it is for you. In the studio, you may have been a very hands-on instructor. Now your experience is very 2-dimensional with no tactile feedback possible, but an opportunity to hone in on your verbal cueing, a chance for you to practice “economy of words” and concise cueing. Think about writing a recipe; once you know what the ingredients are, you follow the instructions to add just precisely what is needed—nothing more, nothing less. You stir, sift, roll or bake the item. No fluff. Likewise, when you are teaching, there’s no need to tell your client(s) every thought that is going through your head. Direct them and let THEM experience the work. Speak in command forms, as if they cannot see you.For example: “Lie down on the mat. Bend your knees into your chest. Curl your head and shoulders off of the mat. Extend your legs in the air and arms by your sides. Begin pumping. Inhale, 2, 3, 4, 5, exhale, 2, 3, 4, 5.” (No more saying, “Now what I want you to do it…” Nor, “Now we’re gonna do…” Too many words! Keep it simple, silly!)
My mentor, Romana, used to say, “Make every movement count!”
I say, “Make every word count.”
Avoid stripes and white. – Cameras have trouble focusing on lines. You might even find that your device is focusing on your apparel and not YOU! Also, white is a wrong choice because it can be too visually overwhelming and “blind” the viewer.
Have fun and BE YOU! No one else can be.
“Always be a first-rate version of yourself,
instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”