Your On-Camera Distractions You Don’t Know You’re Doing

Here’s a huge “elephant in the room” conundrum for almost all entrepreneurs online:

They’re doing a dozen or more distracting, off-putting things on camera (live feeds, promo videos, etc.) that are literally chasing away their ideal prospects – and yet they don’t know they’re doing them.

It’s human nature. We don’t see our own foibles.

But others do, and that’s why so many entrepreneurs are failing online.

They just don’t realize how strangers (i.e. ideal prospects) are seeing them on camera.


If you want more ideal prospects to listen to your messages and come join your tribe, then you have to recognize this elephant in the room and make changes.

Until then, you’ll be getting the same responses (or lack thereof) that your present practices have gotten you.

If you’re open to some really life-changing awareness, let me start you out in the right direction.

As Video Maestro, I orchestrate changes in people’s on-camera behavior that eliminates all those distractions and make you much more attractive as a solution to their problems.

I call these distractions “Video Voodoos™” because they scare your best prospect away…curse your sales…and haunt your reputation until you eliminate them for good.

Here are a few of the most common voodoos that curse almost everyone’s on-camera work – but when you stop doing them altogether, you’ll see a huge difference in the response you get from your ideal prospects.


The pandemic changed the way our world works.

When people couldn’t get out for meetings, workshops, conventions, etc., we all adapted to the world of Zoom.

Unfortunately, in the process, most people forgot the fundamentals of building trust and authority by taking the way-too-casual road.

It is NOT appealing to the average seeker of a solution for a major problem to see a supposedly professional coach in the bedroom, in t-shirt or otherwise sloppy attire, and with various parts of one’s personal life strewn around in the background.

We’re still humans, and humans want their gurus, coaches, and saviors from their problems to be the wise professionals who have their acts together.

SO…Shift from casual to a professional, signature brand that makes you look and sound like the go-to expert in your niche – and then people will quickly accept your authority and trust you to solve their problems.


Are you impressed when you click on a link and see the “guru” is a bit fuzzy looking, with poor quality video image?

The old 720P video used to be okay, but it’s not anymore. Minimum is 1080P, sharp, colorful, and no visual “noise” problems.

If you are still using an old camera, it’s time to upgrade to a new digital webcam to sit on top of your monitor and deliver quality images worthy of the quality of the work you do for others. Makes a world of difference in how people feel about you.

Note that low bandwidth from your Internet service provider can degrade your image and make it hard to watch. It’s important to get enough up-and-down bandwidth for quality images and sound, and to avoid freezes and glitches in an otherwise smooth flow.

Poor lighting can also degrade your image quality and colors. Combined with old video technology, the result is not going to draw people to you as a leader.

BTW: I usually recommend an amazing new digital webcam that’s less than $100 but gives high-quality images, great color, zoom capability, and natural sound as your only microphone needed. Reach out to me if you’re interested.


If I’m concentrating on figuring out what’s in that picture behind you, or what the heck is that statue, etc., then you’ve lost me from the stream of your message.  Without that connection, I’ll quickly lose interest and move on.

Also, we want our coaches and problem solvers to be neat and organized, at least more than we are. We need confidence that you’re the organized, “with it” guru role model with smart solutions.

People who know you well might cut you some slack, even though they won’t enjoy the distractions. Strangers, however (like almost all of your ideal prospects) see a messy, disorganized, or distracting background as a quick and fatal turn-off.

Now you know some of the reasons why you might not be getting the sales and clients that you hoped for and need.

So how do you become aware of every distraction or voodoo that’s chasing off your ideal prospects and stunting your business?

Start by writing down everything people do on camera that’s off-putting to you. You’ll soon learn the most common distractions.

Then ask friends and cohorts which of those distractions you’re doing – and list them to work on.

You can also find real solutions at, my home base, and your resource for anything related to being on camera and making compelling videos.

Become aware of what others see in your public image – so you can clear out the distractions and open up a whole new world of sales and financial success.

Why Our Shortcomings are Invisible to Us, but Glaring to Others

As I go about coaching entrepreneurs to look and sound on video and live presentations like the go-to experts in their niches, I constantly get the same reaction when pointing out their shortcomings:

“I can’t believe I didn’t see that!”

That’s because we’re creatures of habit, and not of self-analysis.

It’s all about years of living out our comfortable patterns, based on our long-held assumptions and daily reinforcement of our habits of thinking and behaving.

In fact, we are where we are today in life and business because of the accumulated assumptions we’ve accepted about ourselves…and the behavior habits we’ve adopted to cope with challenges to those assumptions.

We’re too close to those comfy patterns to see how odd they seem to others.


Short example here…over the years in directing audio talent for professional productions, I’ve learned that some people are clueless about how they sound to others.

A life insurance company hired me to produce a video series for their employees on changing relationships with customers from “Adult-Child” to two adults communicating.

The actor hired to deliver the key lines, however, kept saying “adolt” (like a dummy) and could not in any way hear that his pronunciation was wrong…no matter how much I coached him to alter the sound.

The same kind of blinders appears with people who want to influence others, but sound dull and lifeless in their vocalizations.

They read a script aloud, or share their elevator pitch for a podcast, feeling the enthusiasm and energy – unaware that most of that intention stays in their heads and never makes it to their vocal chords and body language muscles.

When the recording is played back, they’re amazed at how dull and lifeless it sounds, as though the recording equipment somehow leaked out all the captured enthusiasm!

“But I felt so much energy and emphasized all the important stuff! Where did it all go?”

It’s a form of psychological disconnect that tends to make many folks blind to how they look and sound to others.

I help them fix the problem by ramping up their energy beyond what they’re normally comfortable with, so they start to calibrate to a feeling of a certain amount of “exaggeration” that produces the compelling result they want to deliver.


Another form of this disconnect: most online entrepreneurs I talk with are amazed to discover their videos and live presentations are infected with as many as two dozen or more off-putting distractions from their important marketing message.

No wonder they’re getting such frustrating lack of sales and clients!

Not until I point out each distraction, and why it chases away their ideal clients, do they awaken to the reality of their uneducated mistakes.

For example, they discover that when they don’t start presentations on time, waiting on stragglers and late-comers, the on-time participants take that as disrespect for their busy schedules. Nobody likes to be dissed.

They learn that when their low camera position is shooting up their noses and showing a lot of ceiling, viewers are uncomfortable and find the experience unpleasant…not the life-changing coach they were looking for!

They also learn that the cluttered background of their home offices (with all of their favorite memorabilia and posters from life) is distracting enough to make viewers lose the thread of the speaker’s message and drop out (disconnect) before the speaker could share a solution to their problems.

They’ve been blindly performing in ways that distract and disconnect, chasing away who knows how many potentially ideal clients, simply because they couldn’t see themselves through the eyes of others.

As Albert Einstein would say (paraphrased a tad), “We can’t get to a higher level of performance with the thinking and behavior that got us where we are now.”


What has to change to allow such a mindset and performance leap is one or more of our long-held, comfortable assumptions.

But the human psyche tenaciously holds onto those assumptions in its effort to protect us from trauma, to keep us thinking and feeling we’re in our safe zone.

So our subconscious literally fights any change, any challenge to old ways, any discomfort at all.

That human commonality is exactly why, for the vast majority of people, “self-improvement” is an oxymoron. We can’t get there with the thinking and habits that got us here.

So we really can’t make the mindset leap alone, because we don’t have the tools of that higher mindset to make sense out of letting go of our precious assumptions and coping behaviors.

It’s still less painful to fall back into the comfort zone than to risk failing at something that scares us.

We don’t, in fact, have in our experience a clear awareness of different and better ways to think and behave. No matter how much information we gather, the decision-making process is still emotional, not logical, and our assumptions anchor our emotions.

Until the pain of continuing old ways is noticeably less than the pain of trying new and scary things, the human subconscious will continue to pull us back to its safe haven.

Until the embarrassment of our limiting assumptions is greater than our fears of looking foolish and stupid, we’re trapped in the easier route of protecting the old ways.

Until we begin to see our limiting behaviors through the eyes of those who have moved on up before us, we don’t have the awareness of tools and options to free ourselves from the grip of our own self-fulfilling prophecies of failure.


The key to unlock the pathways of change – to convince us to allow ourselves to try something new — is firmly in the hands of those individuals who understand the transformative coaching and mentoring process needed to help people expand their comfort zones and self-confidence.

I’m not talking about the pretend coaches who drop 1:1 mentoring quickly for the 1:many money-making systems, who share information and rah-rah motivational experiences but don’t know a thing about changing assumptions.

No, I’m talking about passionate individuals who are committed to the real mentoring process over time that guides us step by step through a greater awareness of choices, like Socrates did.

The coach who knows that building self-confidence is far more important that the constant blah-blah-blah of a talking face with the curse of knowledge on a subject.

The patient guide – facilitator of the change experience – who knows that with each win comes a boost in our expectation for good, and one more limitation set aside in our progress toward the freedom to be who we really are.

Find yourself such a mentor, and such a path, so you can become fully aware of what amazing potential you have within you, just waiting to be set free.

Even the Biggest Gurus are Cursed by Video Voodoos

Could you be scaring people away with your videos?

You’ve probably seen many presentations online where the presenters (even famous and wealthy coaches) do distracting things that  are “turn-offs” that make us want to go find something more professional. They’re turning YOU off like you could be turning off the people who need you the most.

I’m talking about unthinking practices such as…

  • Delaying the start of a webinar while carrying on a Chatty-Kathy or Talkative-Ken party fest with shout-outs to the speaker’s faithful online roadies…
  • Placing the camera too low and shooting up the presenter’s nose with lots of ceiling in the background…or
  • Cutting to a second camera angle of the speaker, yet he/she is still looking at the first camera…and so on.

I coined the name “Video Voodoos” to describe all such non-professional and distracting behavior – because these unthinking habits can quickly curse your presentations and chase away your ideal prospects.  In fact, I have a short video class that highlights about two dozen of the most common voodoos out there (a story for another time).

Let me briefly explain why each of the three Voodoos above is such a no-no – and  what you can do instead to look and sound like the professional your prospects are seeking.


You’re busy with lots of other things to do, but still you think maybe THIS event will be the one time you get a quick and easy solution to your whatever problem or challenge you’re experiencing.

You register to attend, get the reminder messages, and login right at the official start time.

Then you hear something like this:

“Okay, it’s about time to start…oh, hey, Jill, how have you been? Haven’t seen you since the mastermind last spring!  And Mary Beth, hey girl, thanks for joining us…Bob, missed your party, sorry…(etc. etc. etc.)”

First, shout-outs are a waste of other viewers’ time.  We need a quick fix for our urgent pains, and not party time.

Second, such social “cliquery” doesn’t make anyone feel either welcome or connected to the presenter as the pro who supposedly has a plan to fix my problem.

It’s a red flag right from the start that always makes me wonder how useful the rest of the presentation could possibly be.

The time for such connection with your peeps (if at all) is in the minutes before you start your presentation. Say you’ll take two minutes to acknowledge some folks who are successfully applying the skills and knowledge from your programs – without being overly personal. Frankly, you don’t want to give the impression that you’ve gotten all of your friends to be in the event to make you look good, nor do you want newcomers to feel like outsiders in your “insider circle.”

If you’re going to make personal acknowledgements at all, speak to the strangers in a welcoming way also, so everyone will feel appreciated and glad to be there.

Then when the second hand hits the advertised start time, it’s all solution time from there onward.


You don’t need my four decades as producer/director of film and video to recognize and fix the one common mistake with the biggest ripple effect in cursing your presentations.

I’m talking about unthinking, funky camera position.

You’ve seen the same goofy results of putting the camera too low and shooting upward:

  1. Viewers get to look straight up the speaker’s nostrils, two gaping holes that from now on are all you can think of, and
  2. Bonus:  spectacular view of a not so spectacular ceiling.

So you have a couple of choices:

A – Just turn on the camera and make sure you’re in the shot. Trouble is, this lackadaisical approach is distracting and doesn’t bode well for being seen as prepared and capable of solving your ideal customer’s key needs.


B – Take the time to learn basic video camera setup:

  • Always put your camera on a tripod at eye level so viewers see your face as though talking with you in person. It’s also much easier to avoid reflections in your glasses from the lights than shooting upward from below.
  • Stay back from the lens to a “medium” shot like you see of TV announcers, from waist up, or sternum up at the very closest.
  • Tilt the camera up/down until your eyes are about 1/3 of the way down from the top of the picture. If your hairdo or hat disappear off the top of the frame, you’re too close.

These little but critical adjustments remove distractions and let people concentrate on your face and your message.


You’re watching the speaker looking you in the eye (i.e., at the camera lens).  Then the picture cuts to the same person talking, only the angle is off to the side, and the speaker is still looking at and talking to the original camera position.

Who is he/she talking to now?  Not you, because there’s no more eye contact.

Becoming aware of the production process snaps us out of being immersed in the message and makes you think about the strange shot.

This ill-chosen technique is what’s called in the film and video industry “director’s conceit” – something the director thinks is really cool but doesn’t fit naturally in the situation, thus snapping viewers’ attention away from the story or message.

The hardest challenge in videos and on-camera presentations is to keep people emotionally involved with your core message so they’ll click for a solution.

ANYTHING that distracts from that tunnel-vision involvement with your message is a voodoo that will curse your results.