5 Mistakes Everyone Is Making on Periscope

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Periscope is the new digital platform that’s turned everyone and her mama into a potential broadcast phenomenon. It lets anyone with a cell phone and a data plan (Internet connection) “go live” via video and interact with their followers day or night.

And just like with every other social media network, we’re all fumbling and bumbling right now while we get the hang of this. But there are few thing most people are doing that, quite frankly, can be big turn-offs or are just plain annoying. Don’t make these same mistakes.

1. You don’t know how to use your camera phone and the rest of us are suffering as a result. No one expects you to be Steven Speilberg behind the lens, but get to know your camera phone before you invite your friends, family, clients and the rest of the world to tune in. Make sure you have good lighting so we can all see you well, and be sure to test your audio before getting start. Also, if you don’t have a steady enough hand, try propping the phone up on a steady surface, get a friend to hold it for you or invest in a small tripod for you phone.

2. You wait for a million people to join before you start. Your audience members value their time as much as you value yours. These days, everyone is busy, so the fact that people are giving you some of their time should not be taken lightly. If you told people your broadcast would start at six o’clock, then honor that. If you want to give people a few minutes to join, try to at least stay on topic while you engage them in small talk. For instance, if your broadcast is about 7 Ideas for a Great Party, you might ask your audience to name the best party they’ve ever been to. Interact with the people responding for a minute or two while you wait for more people to join.

3. You give a shoutout to every single person who joins your broadcast. Yes, one of the great things about Periscope is that you can see exactly who you’re interacting with in real time, and who doesn’t like to get a little recognition by name? We all do. But when you stop your message every few seconds to acknowledge each person joining, it takes away from your point and it makes for a poor experience for people watching. Also, listening to you trying to figure out how to pronounce each person’s long screen name is not fun for the rest of us. Give a few shoutouts at the beginning, and get on with the rest of your message.

4. You interrupt yourself to acknowledge every comment. Part of the beauty of Periscope is being able to interact with your audience live, but if you stop talking mid-sentence every time a question is asked or each time someone makes a comment, you’ll likely lose your train of thought and your message will not be as effective. Either finish what you’re saying first, then acknowledge the questions and comments, or ask people to save their questions until the end, just like you might do in an in-person class or workshop.

5. You talk to other people in your immediate surroundings. Treat your Periscope broadcast as if you’re on live TV because essentially, you are. This is especially important if you’re using the platform to get new business. If you’re trying to demonstrate your professionalism, be professional. Don’t interrupt your broadcast to reprimand your kids, let the dog out or take a phone call. Try to find a quiet location where you will be free to talk to your audience and focus on your delivery.

Make these minor adjustments, and you’ll be well on your way to being a Periscope star.

Misty Starks is CEO of Misty Blue Media, a communications agency specializing in content creation, media consulting and corporate communications. She is a television producer and public speaker and has received various awards for communications excellence. Follow her on Twitter @mistystarks.