It became one of the few things about the pandemic and associated lockdown that made us laugh – unplanned interruptions of video conferences by spouses, kids and dogs.
They launched a thousand memes and ‘awww…’ moments, and they also taught us to clear the background before we started a video call or remote presentation. We made sure that our background did not contain dirty laundry (literal and metaphorical), embarrassing family photos or a shelf full of books that we’d rather people didn’t know we read.
Although we are now slowly returning to our offices, the fondness for remote conferencing, video meetings and presentations has, understandably, not faded. We have discovered that we can put on webinars from our homes and offices without much difficulty, increasing reach and market penetration, and these things are here to stay.
While the kids and the dog aren’t likely to put in an impromptu visit in a webinar beamed from your office, caution about your background still needs to be exercised. Is there a whiteboard behind you, and if so, what is on it? Client names, numbers, information, trial plan? A pile of files behind you could breach client confidentiality if the names are readable, let alone the nature of the file.
We have become used to Teams, Skype, Zoom et al, whether meeting with a client or opponent, or being interviewed by local radio about a controversial planning decision. In the old days that might have been via a phone call, or a meeting in the boardroom; now it is happening as you sit in your office – pre-COVID-19, did you ever meet with an opposing lawyer in your own office?
Some apps allow you to superimpose a background to your video, and that is probably a good option; either way, before you turn on the camera, make sure there is nothing behind you that you do not want the world to see.
Video conferencing is wonderful technology, and it gives you a window to the world – and the world a window to your office. Make sure the world only sees what you want it to see.