presentation skills trainer

Great Ideas for Communication

Great Ideas for Communication

presentation skills trainerLaurie Brown

Laurie Brown has over two decades of experience as a trainer, coach and speaker, helping her audience improve their leadership, presentation, sales and customer service skills. 

Are You Leaving the Wrong Image on Zoom?

Videoconference small

If you are like many people in the world right now, you are most likely using some form of on-camera virtual communication.

How you look and sound creates an impression. Appearing casual when chatting with friends and family is appropriate. However, when you are speaking with clients, bosses and/or co-workers, you will need to present a more business-like image.

The following tips address various camera shots, how much you should move, whether standing or sitting and the kind of delivery that works best to present the appropriate image.

Types of Camera Shots

There are several different kinds of framing (or shots) to use on camera. It is important for you to know how the camera set up frames you because your delivery should vary according to each type of shot.


camera shots
Head Shot

A head shot frames you from a couple of inches above your head down to the knot of your tie for a man or about the same spot for a woman. This shot works effectively when you’re appearing on any type of small screen. However when your image is projected onto a large screen it is a terrible shot making your head will seem gigantic, as if you were the great Oz.

You absolutely should not use your hands when framed in a head shot. They won't be visible and all the audience will see is your shoulders moving, making you appear nervous. However, if the headshot is mixed with longer shots, it’s fine to use your hands because your movements will be seen and understood in context.

Head shots require your delivery to be intimate. Speak as if you were having a one-on-one conversation.

Bust Shot

A bust shot frames you from a few inches above your head down to mid-chest. This shot is good for interviews or for delivering particularly important messages. Just as with the head shot, your hands will not be visible, so keep them still. With a bust shot your delivery will not be quite as intimate as with a head shot. Talk to the camera as if you were talking to people across a small table.

Waist Shot

A waist shot frames you from a few inches above your head down to your waist. This is also good framing for interviews. Most presenters prefer this shot since it allows them to use their hands naturally. However, you should not shift your body below the waist unless the camera is following you as you walk. This framing allows you to speak with greater energy and power than the shots described above.

Cowboy or Three-quarter Shot

A cowboy or three-quarter shot frames you from a few inches above your head down to midthigh (where your holster would be if you were a cowboy—hence the name). This framing allows you to move more freely than in the previously described shots. Address the camera as if you were speaking to a roomful of people.

Full body

As you’ve probably assumed, a full body shot frames you from a few inches above your head down to your toes. This framing allows movement of the whole body. As the shot encompasses more of your body, your gestures must become larger and greater vocal energy, though not necessarily louder.


Balance your stance and maintain good posture. Make sure your physical presentation matches your message. Hold your position — if you shift your weight, you’ll distract from your message.

If you are concerned about your weight or size, present your body at a slight angle and your face full front.

If you wear glasses, consider purchasing contacts or non-reflective lenses to assure a glare-free shot. If necessary, you can tilt your glasses slightly to reduce glare.

If you would like a free 15 minute on camera audit contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call me at 248 761 7510.


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Top Five Communication Skills Tips for IT Professionals

IT Communication Skills
Being a great IT professional isn’t enough to be successful these days. Because clients are more demanding, communication more confusing and modes of communication more numerous, to really excel you need to be a master of communication. 

Let’s look at the five top communication tips for IT professionals.

Tech Talk Translation

Being an expert means that you speak a language that sometimes only you and your colleagues understand. To a client, nothing is more frustrating than feeling that they are too stupid to really understand the solution the IT professional is talking about.

The first step is to remove jargon, acronyms and “tech talk” from your explanations. Generally, this will make your message more easily understood. If that doesn’t work, try using metaphors to ground your explanation to what the listener already understands.

Always explain things so that the listener feels “smart.”

Listening skills

You most likely hear the same issues discussed over and over again during the course of a week —and maybe even more on a bad day. When this happens, you tend to stop listening closely. Why bother? You figure that you already know how to solve the problem.

When you stop listening closely two major problems can arise. First, though you may frequently deal with this particular issue, it may be the first time for the person who is speaking with you. Since they lack the experience and expertise that you provide, they may also be more concerned and even alarmed about the situation.

Secondly, by not listening carefully, you may miss an important point and possibly waste everyone’s time because you didn’t have a complete picture or missed a critical detail.


All of us have a communication style. We may prefer quick conversations spoken like bullet points, or maybe we’d rather slow down and ask for time to process before answering. It is easy to communicate when our styles match. It is much harder when our styles don’t.

When styles don’t match the best practice is something I call “chameleon communication”: figuring out the difference in styles to find a way to minimize those differences. You will find that communication will be easier and more productive.

Building trust and rapport

Your job requires that your clients trust you. A big part of building trust is doing what you say you will do. Always follow a promise with a time certain date when you’ll get back to your client. State things with confidence and credibility, and always communicate to the other person how they will benefit from what you are doing.

Using the correct communication vehicle

Email is quick and easy, while text is even faster. Great! The problem is that email and text are not always the best way to communicate.

When we are only using the written word, the receiver can miss a great deal of context. Context can be enhanced by tone of voice and visual cues such as facial expressions and body language.

If there is any misunderstanding, consider changing your communication vehicle. If you have to write more than two emails to explain something, you probably need to add tone of voice or body language to communicate effectively. If there is a complaint or bad news, at the very least pick up the phone or meet in person.

Working on these five best practices will help you become a great communicator.

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The Super Power I Really Don’t Want

gg64127970When I was a kid, my best friend Eileen and I spent hours talking about what super power we wanted. Eileen wanted to be able to fly so she could soar over the rooftops and see our neighborhood below her. I wanted to be invisible. I thought the super power of invisibility would allow me to sneak into the dining room when my parents and aunts and uncles would stay up late telling (mostly dirty) jokes. Then I could listen without any adult being the wiser.

Sad to say, Eileen never did get her super power, but, not to brag, I did.

Yes, I do have the super power of invisibility, and to be honest, it is a super power I wish I didn’t have. Now I can walk into stores and be totally invisible. No one acknowledges me, and in fact I can roam around some stores for hours and no one can see me at all.

I know that this super power is not mine alone. Too many of us walk into businesses without anyone saying “hi, “welcome,” or “how can I help you?”

Actually, this is a bigger problem for these businesses than it is for me. I have choices, usually a lot of them, and I often exercise these choices—as I imagine you do.

Invisibility isn’t a problem only at retail stores. I have been invisible at doctor’s offices, libraries, and dealership service departments among many other places.

If you want to make a huge difference for the success of your business, make sure that none of your customers have the power of invisibility.

What can you do? Be sure that each and every employee acknowledges each and every customer within seconds of being in their presence. Even if they are busy with another customer, or on the computer completing a work task, they just need to say “hi” or “welcome, give me a minute and I will get right to you.”, and if they are on the phone, a simple nod or raising of a hand that signals “I see you, but please give me a minute” will let your customers know that they are not invisible.

Remember, only YOU can prevent invisibility!

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