Tips for maximizing success in online mediations

So, you’re working remotely and conducting mediations for PI files. How do you make an impact when everyone’s not in the same room? Here are some reminders for making your Zoom zing!

1 – The Camera Never Lies
We all do it – forget about the too-bright window behind you or vase of wilted flowers. First thing is to make your background look great. Rearrange your home office to show off your diplomas, a bookcase of legal tomes, maybe an anatomical model – whatever it takes to telegraph that you’re a serious and professionally-grounded PI litigator. Oh, and remember that your camera may be hi-res – so lipstick on your teeth or stubble on your chin may be clearly in focus to others!

2 – Say What? 
Despite so much current online interfacing, garbled voices continue to be a recurring frustration for all. University students note that audio is the most important factor in effective online learning1. Since remote engagements are here for a while, it’s likely time to invest in a USB-plugin microphone that’ll make others hang on your every word – often for less than a hundred dollars. A headset with mic is okay, but you risk looking like a radio-host!

3 – At the Speed of Light 
If you’re working from home or the cabin, now’s the time to upgrade your internet, so your engagement is crisp, without lags or the dreaded frozen screen. This may entail a new router, hooking up WiFi repeaters, or running a direct-wire internet cable to a newly-created workspace. But the investment is priceless for making your mediations unfold as smooth as silk.

4 – Lights – camera – action 
Professional video bloggers (vloggers) use lighting tricks – and so should you. There are many light fixtures available that’ll cast you in a warm glow and make you clearly visible. A simple solution is a desk lamp with a 40W incandescent bulb (or LED in the 2,700-3,000 Kelvin range) shining towards you from the far side of your screen. Good lighting will make you look fresh, confident and in control.

5 – A picture of health (NOT…)
Video-conference platforms (like Zoom), cry out for visual storytelling. When you have the floor (screen), take control of the session in “presenter” mode, and hold attention by using visuals. They’ll keep your presentation on track and keep everyone focused on the key issues. Use before/after photos of your client, highlighted report excerpts, or shots of the vehicle damage. Once you get comfortable sharing your screen in mediation settings, take it up a notch with more advanced visuals that maximize outcomes – we’ll cover that in Part 2, so stay online…

(1) Findings from informal survey of University of Toronto graduate students in Biomedical Communications.