Kathleen Shannon owns Braid Creative & Consulting and co-hosts the Being Boss Podcast for creative entrepreneurs. She also hosts live events on Crowdcast. We love her tips on overcoming content roadblocks (“you don't become who you are until you're creating”), so we asked her to share some pointers for new hosts who are struggling to go live.
If you’ve never hosted a webinar or Hangout, the very idea of it might make your armpits a little sweaty. So here are a few tips, tricks and pointers to make your live video event something you can look forward to.
Practice live streaming
I don’t know that you’ll ever get rid of those nervous butterflies before hosting a live video event, but one way you can practice is by hopping on Facebook Live, Periscope or any other live-streaming platform that feels a bit more casual just to get the feel for being on camera and talking to your following.
Recruit a co-host
With both podcasting and live video events, I always feel better when I have a co-host. When I have moments when I’m tripping over my words, at a loss for something to say or unsure of how to answer a question, my co-host always helps fill the space or keeps me on track. Plus, safety in numbers, right?? If you’re new to hosting live videos, ask a friend or business buddy to join you. Just be sure to outline your expectations and share your agenda with your co-host. (Bonus: they can help you promote your event to their audience, too!)
But what do I talk about?
My favorite way to create content is to simply answer questions that my audience is asking. Comb your inbox, the Facebook groups you hang out in or your favorite social media platform for questions that you can answer. I like to create an agenda that usually looks something like this:
- Chit-chat / meet & greet / ask me anything. I usually hop on Crowdcast about five minutes early to make sure my microphone and camera are good to go, and then I take the extra few minutes before the event starts to warm up my audience with a little interaction. I’ll chat about my newest off-topic obsession or ask my audience where they’re tuning in from. This is also a good opportunity to share details on the shade of lipstick I’m wearing or respond to questions about my hair.
- Topic / Question #1. I will have a topic or question written in my agenda with two or three tactics my audience can immediately take action on.
- Q&A. Each topic or question I pose usually creates more questions from my audience. I like to take five to seven minutes to answer those before moving on.
- Rinse & repeat! Depending on how long my webinar is, I’ll go through three to four rounds of sharing my gifts of knowledge, followed up by a Q&A.
- Call to action. Whether or not I have something to sell, or even a fast-action discount, I always let my audience know how they can continue to engage with me and my brand.
Your agenda might look totally different than this. That’s okay! The point is to give yourself a structured outline you can refer to when you go off on a tangent or forget where you are in the conversation.
Ask your audience questions along the way
Interaction with my audience always puts me at ease. So be sure to keep asking your audience questions that are relevant to the topic you’re discussing. It’s also a good way to gauge their level of experience or interest, and speak accordingly with what you’re teaching them.
Pro tip: Try the polling feature in advance of your event. It's an easy way to get your audience engaged and helps you connect before you go live.
Hire a cruise director
My assistant acts as a “cruise director” during my webinars by interacting in the comments, posting to links with any material I reference and helping any attendees with technical difficulties (hit refresh!) You can hire someone to help you with this or recruit a trusted friend who is familiar with your work.
It's okay to make mistakes
The thing about doing a live video is you can’t edit out your “ummms” and your flubs. You might trip over your words or have a moment when you completely zone out of what you were saying. You’re only human. If you can give yourself a little grace and the permission to make mistakes on air, you’ll feel far more comfortable hosting a live video event. Plus, sometimes making mistakes just helps you come across as more “real” in the moment!
In closing, I don't want nerves or stage fright to get in the way of you having the opportunity to authentically connect and share your gifts of knowledge with your tribe (and potential dream clients!)
I also want you to know that being nervous is normal and okay—it may feel as if you're about to be attacked by a saber-toothed tiger, but in reality, the worst that could happen is your Internet connection goes weak.
Pro tip: Don't let your Internet let you down. Read Crowdcast's “5 things to check before you go live.”
Learn more about Braid Creative and the Braid Method branding course at www.braidcreative.com. Listen to the Being Boss podcast, read articles and check out bite-sized minisodes at www.beingboss.club.