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.