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Physician Videos: How to Present Yourself


Before you get those cameras rolling, make sure your video looks and sounds great.

You're ready to roll, literally. But before you get those cameras rolling, consider these tips on how to appear and present yourself in the video:

1. Dress for your target audience. While a physician might present medical findings for a conference donned in a suit-and-tie ensemble, dressing for a video presentation doesn't necessarily have to be so formal. What you wear "depends a lot on who the target audience is," says Salem, Ohio-based family medicine physician Mike Sevilla, who creates videos for his blog FamilyMedicineRocks.com. "For example, if a physician is always in scrubs and then wears a suit, that might come across as a lack of authenticity." If you're targeting a video to a general community that may not know you as intimately and want to be more on the professional side, wear a suit-and-scrubs combo. "There are some docs that don't wear a lab coat, and there's docs like me who do wear a lab coat," says Sevilla. "It depends on what the message is."

2. Don't look scripted. Sevilla was "very scripted" when he started out making his first videos, but eased up as he became more comfortable with the camera over time. If you're not comfortable talking off the top of your head, that's not a problem, so long as you relax, smile, and look professional rather than stiff and scripted. If you do choose to use a script, "be clear, and have a script you're completely comfortable with," suggests San Francisco-based healthcare consultant Laurie Morgan of Capko & Co. Also, try to keep the length short and digestible so potential patients aren't overwhelmed, she adds.

3. Consider sound, lighting enhancements. Fayetteville, Ark.-based hand and upper extremity surgeon Noel Henley, who uses videos to boost his Internet presence and educate patients, perfects his videos' sound by relying on external microphones. "This could be anything from a $30 wired lapel mic from RadioShack to a $100 and up studio microphone sitting on your desk," says Henley. "You can speak and narrate while you're doing the video or record it separately if your face is off camera." Henley has also experimented with a lot of lighting setups. "Sometimes just the overhead fluorescent lights are best when shooting with my handheld pocket HD camcorder or iPhone," he says. "I have used a separate fluorescent bulb fixture to light some of the videos I have on YouTube, especially for a close-up shot."

4. Do retakes. The good thing about do-it-yourself videos is you don't have to worry about getting them done quickly for a videographer to avoid spending too much money. Henley, for instance, likes doing several retakes because delivery improves each time he does it. Providers should remember that practice makes perfect, whether it's a routine surgical procedure or an on-video discussion.

Remember that much of how you appear and conduct yourself on camera depends on the topic. For example, a physician might relay a serious message on cancer differently than a fun or light-hearted topic. "You want to kind of portray your professionalism and knowledge base on the video," says Sevilla. "And it should reflect your personality as well."

* Interested in creating your own practice videos? Read: "How to Create Online Videos for Your Medical Practice."

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