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A virtual picture is worth a thousand words

By Taipan
16 Jul 2020

This year has been a strange one on many fronts, but one of the oddest things we’ve been forced to confront is the virtual meeting.

Our laptop cameras do so much more than connect us across cities and countries. They show our colleagues and clients a piece of our personal lives. Sometimes it’s a child clamouring to get on camera, or a dog demanding attention. Other times it’s a glimpse into the state of order or disorder in a colleague’s personal life.

I can’t say I was surprised to learn that some opportunists in New York are charging for consultations on how to look good on camera, down to the tiniest details like lighting and the placement of objects in the frame. Twitter has embraced the trend as well, rating people’s bookshelf backgrounds as they appear in TV interviews.

Most of my colleagues are admittedly terrible about their backgrounds. Maybe it’s our age, but I’m more focused on keeping the camera from being pointed up my nose than what happens to be behind me.

That said, I couldn’t help but notice that one of my clients had the most wonderful bookshelf behind him during a recent call. I found myself distracted by the leather-bound classics, books on physics and tomes on religion. It was truly the most beautiful and well-rounded bookshelf that I’d ever laid eyes on.

I complimented the man and informed him that he must be the best read person I know. He sheepishly blushed and told me not to think so highly of him. He hadn’t read any of the books on his shelf. In fact, they weren’t even books! The chap had gone above and beyond in faking a background with printed book covers on empty boxes.

Cultured? Perhaps not. But undeniably smart.

By Taipan
16 Jul 2020