How to get over the fear of broadcasting live

Oh yes, this is the one where I try to convince you that getting over your fear of live video is an excellent idea. (Spoiler: it is.)

For some people live video is a great way to connect with their audience, but for others (me included!) it’s a one-way ticket to anxiety city.

Last year, shooting video that I edited before it was posted online was SO awkward. Re-take after re-take, and even after it was published I still didn’t feel confident about the finished product. If I couldn’t get it together when it was just me and a camera, how was I going to tackle LIVE video??

But, because trying and figuring out apps and platforms is part of my job, and because I know live video helps to build a connection and trust faster than blog posts and emails ever will, I did it anyway.

And yes, it was hella awkward and my heart was beating out of my chest and I talked so fast someone actually commented telling me to slow down. But after a while people started asking questions and I could focus on being helpful instead of the fact that they could see everything I was doing.

And…I actually started to enjoy it.

Today, after lots and lots of webinars and Periscopes and Facebook Lives, I can actually click the button to go live without a shred of fear. And that is something I didn’t think would EVER happen, so I have 100% confidence that you can learn to be a fearless broadcaster too!

Here are a few tips to get you Facebook Live-ing and Periscoping like a pro!

Remember that people will appreciate that you’re a real person

I can’t say this enough — the more YOU you infuse into your blog or business, the more people will fall for you. Creating video content is one of the fastest ways to build the trust and connection you need to get people to stick around. It’s totally OK if you stumble over your words or forget what you were going to say. It happens to everyone.

Don’t let perfection or the worry of what people will think stop you from sharing what you’ve got. If they showed up, they are already interested in you and what you have to say.

Introduce yourself

You never know who is going to stumble on your video so it’s always a good idea to have a quick ‘about me’ right when you start. I generally say hello as people are joining, then introduce the topic, and then say something like, “If we haven’t met before, I’m Sarah. I run, where I teach no bullshit blog strategy for the daring and driven.”

Choose one topic and give three tips

Deciding what you’re going to talk about BEFORE you go live is of the utmost importance. Most people who are always brilliant when broadcasting are not brilliant by accident. They have a plan, they know what they are going to talk about, and they stay on topic.

So let’s make this easy on ourselves, shall we? You don’t need to turn a Facebook Live session into an hour-long talk. People probably won’t stick around that long anyway. Choose three tips or ideas you can share on a specific topic and add two or three bullet points underneath each. Then just go through the list one by one including examples and your experience as you go.

Don’t worry about how many people show up

Unless you’ve already got a giant audience, your first few broadcasts will probably be kind of quiet. Don’t worry about how many people show up (yes, even if it’s ZERO), just go through the content that you planned (one of the big reasons to plan in the first place). You never know if that one person watching live NEEDED to hear exactly what you were sharing. And if only a couple of people watch live, you’ll still end up with a piece of content you can share on your blog, other social platforms, or YouTube.

Slow down

I have a hard time with this one myself, but I’m getting better! You don’t need to fill the silence and talk non-stop the entire time. Danielle LaPorte is my favorite slow speaker. (And her video on self-doubt is very appropriate to include.) The way she delivers info is so reassuring and calming. You don’t have to sound like Danielle or like me, but don’t be afraid to pause for a moment and find the right words, even if a few seconds feels like an entire week.

Write down your links so people can take a screenshot

This is something I learned while I was mid-broadcast one day. I always create short links with the Simple 301 Redirects plugin or, but while I was live on Periscope someone asked me to write the link on a piece of paper and hold it in front of the camera so she could take a screenshot. Genius! If people are watching on their phone, it’s easier to take a screenshot than to write it down or try to remember.

Ignore questions and comments for a moment and just talk

You don’t have to stop and respond to your audience any time a question pops up. It takes a little practice when lots of commenting is happening, but it makes for a better replay video if you go through the content first and answer questions after. Once you do respond, make sure to repeat the question or comment for those watching the replay that don’t have the comments live on their screen.

Use live video to learn to speak off the cuff

If your future goals include in-person speaking or webinars, then hitting that LIVE button is a great way to learn to speak without a script. Yes, you’ll have your three tips or ideas you want to share, but instead of reading from a prompter you’ll want to be able to come up with experiences and examples on the fly. And yes, this skill can be learned, but you’ll have to practice often to get better. To prep, I like to talk to myself about whatever subject I’ll be covering in the mirror while I’m doing my makeup in the morning so I have a few ideas and anecdotes in my back pocket.

If it’s terrible, just delete it

Let’s be real, the first few times you go live is probably not going to be smooth and brilliant (mine were AW-FUL), so it’s totally OK to hop on Facebook Live or Periscope and then delete the video once you’re finished. (Watch it first so you know what to do differently next time.) Once you know how it works, you will feel more confident and things will run more smoothly (promise!), but like anything else, it takes a bit of practice. Even if it’s not perfect, I actually prefer live video over shooting + editing anyway because it takes a LOT less time. (Like 20 minutes vs 2 or 3 hours.)

And lastly, Facebook vs Periscope

If you’re ready to give live video a shot, you’re now probably wondering…which platform do I use??

One thing I like about Facebook Live over Periscope is that the comments are MUCH easier to read. Facebook allows you to scroll through comments so people can ask questions while you’re speaking and then you can go back and look at them once you’re ready to respond.

On Periscope, questions show on the screen for only a few seconds before disappearing. (Though I wouldn’t be surprised if they adjusted this in the future.) Replay viewers can see the comments, but cannot add their own.

Facebook Live also posts the comments with the video replay so people can continue the conversation afterward and you can respond to any viewers who weren’t able to catch you live.

If you’re planning to re-post the video to YouTube or your blog, it’s important to note that Periscope allows you to shoot video horizontally. On Facebook, your video will be square, which doesn’t look that great on other platforms.

Frankly, the best way to get people to watch you live is to build a reputation for sharing valuable content. If people know they’re going to learn from you in every aspect of your online presence, they’re more likely to show up.

Doing Facebook Live within a private group can be great incentive to get others to join and allows you to send a notification to all the group members when you go live. On the other hand, Periscope allows you to send notifications through Twitter, so if you have a larger following on one platform vs the other, that’s where I would start.

Are you going to start broadcasting live? Facebook Live or Periscope? And if you’ve already gone live, what advice do you have to add?

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