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78. How I Got Over My Fear of Live Video

78. How I Got Over My Fear of Live Video

Scared to show up on live video? You’re not alone. One of the biggest fears entrepreneurs face is showing up live on social media. It’s easy to get flustered, stumble over your words and mess up. 

But, live videos might just be what your audience needs to feel more connected to you and your brand. Today I’m sharing some of the tips and tricks that you can use to get over your fear of showing up on live video. 

Last week I talked about the retreat I spoke at and how one of the common threads across the attendees, and entrepreneurs that I speak to is that we’re afraid and uncomfortable with LIVE video. 

And I say “we” because not that long ago I struggled with it too. In fact, the very first time I ever went live wasn’t truly live at all. And the first time I REALLY went live was super late at night when the chances of anyone actually being there were slim to none. 

So today I wanted to chat with you about how I got over my fear of live video and some tips and tricks you can use to help yourself do the same. 

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What you can do before you go live

Let go of perfection

Seriously, this is really the most important step. Once you let go of trying to be perfect and just lean into being present with your audience, the entire process gets easier. 

The truth is, nobody cares if you’re perfect or not. When mess-ups happen, you’re more relatable anyway. I even had someone in the eCommerce Badassery FB group say it was endearing—and it is. 

Consumers who want to connect with smaller brands and the CEOs of those smaller brands aren’t looking to connect with you because you’re perfect and have it all figured out. They’re connecting with you because you’re human, have something of value to share, and actually care about what you do. 

Live video is very similar to being in person with someone. When you sit and talk to a friend, do you worry if you mispronounce something or trip over your words? Didn’t think so. And I promise you that your audience will be so forgiving to all the weird tech shit that happens. Because every other live video they’ve ever watched has weird tech shit that happens, or someone who trips over their words, or who gets flustered, etc. 

These things are all normal and no one is expecting perfection except for you!

Prepare an outline of what you’re going to say

It seems simple, but sometimes it’s the simple things that we ignore. While I don’t really read a script while I’m actually on the live video, I do script things out ahead of time, especially if it’s a more complicated topic to make sure I’m not missing any points and what I’m saying actually makes sense. 

Virginia Kerr, a video strategy coach on Instagram, says to always prepare your opening line. She has a lot of great tips about showing up on video, so check her out here. 

Whether I script things ahead of time or not, I ALWAYS have notes with me and bullet points to keep me on track. I even add in the moments where I want to engage the audience or ask them a question to make sure I don’t forget. 

It’s so easy to get tunnel vision while you’re live to just get through your material as quickly as you can, but you want to make sure that you’re talking to your audience as if they are there with you. Ask them questions that prompt engagement through the comments, and then, of course, follow up with their responses, etc. 

In the beginning, this might feel overwhelming, but you’ll eventually get the hang of it, I promise. 

Use a filter if you are self-conscious about how you look

I am in no way telling you to use one of those filters that changes the shape of your face and makes your nose look like a pencil. But if you want to throw on the subtle filter on Instagram, or use a tool like snap camera, or even the skin smoothing on Zoom. If that’s truly the difference between you going live or not, I say just do it. 

I use filters too because, hey, it makes me more confident. It’s always just a subtle touch, nothing crazy that changes the way I look.

It’s essentially just digital makeup because I’m not a huge makeup person. The camera generally washes you out and highlights things like my Italian under-eye dark circles, so those subtle filters just all around brighten you up. 

And like I said, this is not me encouraging people to meet crazy beauty standards or lie about how we look. This is just giving that something extra, just like makeup would. 

Invest in lighting

This is especially important when you’re featuring products or if you want to sell items during these live videos. The customer needs to see what you’re selling—even more so if you’re selling clothing and accessories. 

You can get some inexpensive video lights on Amazon, or if you’re just doing face to camera, being in front of a window and/or a couple of ring lights can make an enormous difference. They’re not that expensive and the right light can soften your skin and make you look more awake and refreshed, which will ultimately make you more confident. 

What you can do to get better on video 

Record videos by yourself

The number one thing I did to truly get more comfortable on video was to record videos by myself. Yep, just like you practiced those speeches in school, I practiced my videos. And I’ll tell you, I have a lot of recorded videos that will never see the light of day. 

This really got me comfortable seeing myself in the video, getting set up and the angle I like, etc. 

It also gave me the opportunity to listen back to it and notice small things like the smacking of my lips when I swallow, or how I’m not always looking at the camera, etc. and not that I never do those things now, but I’m much less self-conscious about it and it doesn’t hold me back anymore. 

Practicing also helped me realize that video has a way of dimming your energy, so you might have to talk with more excitement than you would normally. To the point where it would seem over the top in-person, but on video, it comes out just right. 

It’s kinda like the makeup situation. What looks good on camera looks a little over the top in person.

Create a dummy Facebook group to practice going live in

Yep, create a brand new Facebook group and just go live. This way you can get comfortable with the interface, understand the delay better, and just get the lay of the land. Invite a trusted friend to be on the other side so you can see what it’s like to have someone there and get feedback about your setup, etc. 

If you don’t have anyone to invite, just go to the group on a different device and you’ll be able to see your live video. 

What you can do once you go live

Don’t worry if no one turns up 

One of the biggest hesitations I hear is that you’re afraid if you go live, no one will be there and you’ll just be talking to yourself. 

And yep, that might be the case. You might go live and have literally no one join your video. 

Instead of thinking of it as a bad thing, really it’s no different from when you were recording videos on your own, right? Don’t forget there are likely to be replay watchers, so just because they’re not there live doesn’t mean they won’t be there later on. 

Invite a friend if you’re worried about being alone

If you’re really worried about being on your own, or the content you intend to share requires engagement from the audience, ask a friend, biz bestie or someone to come watch. My first few videos I had my VA there in the audience to ensure there were comments for me to engage with and someone to answer my questions. Even just having one person there can make all the difference. 

Set up the right tech 

If you’re going to go live on Instagram, you, of course, need to use your phone. And you should definitely invest in a tripod. Shaky videos, while it may work for a story, aren’t really great for anything more long-form. Cell phone tripods are so cheap, there’s no reason you can’t get your hands on one. 

If you’re going live on Facebook or YouTube, use a tool like Streamyard. This interface is a lot easier to use than Facebook’s native one, plus you can stream your live video to multiple platforms at once, like a Facebook Group, a Facebook Page, and YouTube. 

The other option is to use Zoom. You can connect Zoom to Facebook and use that platform to go live instead of the native Facebook one. Either of these tools is especially helpful if you need to share something on your screen, as with the Facebook native interface you can’t switch between face to camera and screen. That’s probably not super relevant for you as a product-based business owner, but you should be aware. 

So, how are you feeling about video right now? 

Are you still scared, or do you think with a few of these tips and tricks you might give it a go? Or maybe if you’ve already been doing live video, maybe you’re not super comfortable just yet, maybe this will help you be more consistent with it? Whad’ya think? Come on over to Instagram and let me know. 

I can’t wait to see you out there kicking ass with live video. Tag me when you go live so I can come cheer you on!

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Virginia Kerr | Video Strategy Coach

Hey, I'm Jessica

I support scrappy female entrepreneurs with actionable steps & strategies to grow and scale the traffic, sales & profit in their eCommerce businesses. 

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