So you’re entering the world of livestream. Whether it’s for a business or for a personal interest that (as many podcasts, vlogs, and blogs have) has become a business, you want to look and sound your best, but at the same time you can’t afford to field the telepresence suite that a company with a big budget can manage. The secret is that you really don’t have to. With some simple tips and tricks, and a small budget, you can learn how to broadcast live video without blowing the budget. All it takes is a video conferencing application like Blue Jeans, some equipment, and some practice.
You can have a load of pricy equipment and editing software, but unless you present yourself well, you might as well be talking to a tree. Learning to how to address the camera and the audience beyond it is one of the most important items on the list, but a lot of people never pick up on it. So let’s see what to do before you get to lights, camera, and action.
- Know your equipment and apps. There’s nothing worse than fumbling around to connect, muting in the middle of your talk, or unmuting to let the world hear you blow your nose in the middle of someone else’s. The Huffington Post recommends setting aside at least 15 minutes the day before to familiarize yourself with your device and the application.
- Certain clothing doesn’t do well on camera. Shiny clothing, very bright colors, bold patterns, and pure white or black can cause problems, as can noisy or reflective jewelry. Communications Concepts, recommends that you wear muted colors, and leave the flashy stuff at home.
- Background is key to a quality production. If you don’t have a telepresence suite, then you should have at least a small space behind you that is free of clutter, has no windows, and good lighting. If possible, you should have something like a company logo easily visible on the wall behind you.
- You’re going to want to practice speaking to the camera. You can’t present calm and confidence when your eyes are looking everywhere but at the lens. Odds are that your phone, tablet, or laptop has a video function, so set it up, and in your best natural voice, practice what you’re going to say. Mashable suggests that you speak as if you’re speaking to your best friend in order to get that natural, relaxed speech that can be so effective.
- Focus and engage.
Now that we’ve covered what’s going on in front of the camera, there are some tips and tricks for what happened behind the scenes.
- Keep the seating as close to the presenter’s spot or the monitor as possible, the closer the audience, the better the energy. Nobody wants to talk to rows of empty seats. You can even offer incentives – bribes – to fill up those front rows like treats or prizes. You’d be amazed what some people will do for a chocolate chip cookie.
- Introduce each panelist and give a few quick, relevant facts about them to the audience. It should take no more than a few minutes to make all the introductions.
- Only deviate from prepared questions if it benefits the discussion, and apologize. Panelists often spend a lot of time preparing, and even if the question varies only a little from the original subject, some will see it as a “gotcha.”
- Keeping time is important. Set a time for each section of the livestream and have someone else watching the clock, making a prearranged signal for each party to wind up their remarks. You may have to be an enforcer, so prepare segues to get the event back on track.
- Audience participation is key to having a good show! Have a few questions prepared or seed some questions in the audience. You may have to enforce time limits here, too. Keep things moving smoothly so that everyone can participate.
- At the end of the event, thank everyone for coming and for tuning in. If there are other events coming up, take the time to remind them of the dates and times.
These are just a few tips and tricks that can make your broadcasts really pop. You want to be remembered for interesting, informative, and entertaining presentations, not for the guy who fell asleep and snored into his mic for the last fifteen minutes. Learning the software and gear in advance can help things run smoothly, but there’s always going to be a learning curve. In fact, if you record and archive your events, you’ll be amazed how much improvement you’ll notice after just a few events. Check out those applications and get on the livestreaming bandwagon.