First and foremost: Experiment so you have a sense of yourself from the client’s view. It takes practice to find your visual center, eye contact perspective, and camera position. Invite someone to practice with you, someone that will give you constructive feedback on how you come across virtually.
Background: What is the scene you are showing, what is the backdrop? How much can you move around and still provide a view you would want to share? Your clients are now in your home, and you in theirs. This might be an important issue to discuss directly. It’s a very different level of access.
Lighting: Be aware of the lighting and how it shifts throughout the day, through the session. Lights behind you can blind your clients, and also render you a silhouette. Light can give you a halo, bounce off your glasses so your eyes are not available, or cast strange shadows & beams.
Angle, Proximity, Eye contact: Try to ensure that you are upright and looking straight towards your camera/ client. You don’t want to have your face fully taking up the lens, nor do you want to be so far away as to further create a sense of distance. Looking up into the camera or from above create an odd relational disconnection. I’ve been in several video meetings where I might only be seeing the eyes and forehead or the mouth and neck of someone. Other times when it felt like the other person was looming over me.
When making eye contact, if you are looking at your client’s eyes in the screen, they have the sense that you are not looking at them as your view to them comes from the camera. A wider mid-range scope that puts the gaze toward the space centered between client and camera tends to work.
Be aware that gesturing moves your hands directly toward the camera and can feel really invasive from the other end. Everything is maximized.
Discuss these elements with your client, ask them about their experience with the quality of these environmental aspects, and let them know what might be impacting your ability to connect as well. Share ideas for adjustments you might both need to make in order to enhance connection.
Sound: Background noises and computer feedback are distracting, and at times excruciating. Headphones help. They also provide extra layers of privacy. Not being a tech person, its difficult to identify some of the sound concern sources. I pose the concern without adequate solutions.
Props, Movement, Mirroring: We all have our own styles and tools for our work, we need not abandon them, we need to be resourceful in thinking about adaptations. Helping clients identify items in their environments that can be used is actually a great way to bridge session work into daily life.
While the computer poses some limitations, movement is possible. Altering the visual frame as you move, or disappearing from it altogether in order to get something or practice a body- based suggestion, is fine.