If you are like a lot of martial arts school owners and instructors right now, you have found yourself in the new career of streaming your classes and knowledge online. Let’s be honest, NONE of us thought we would be in this position two months ago, but here we are…
I have spent the past two years streaming online and interacting with an audience almost entirely via one-way communication or with only a chat window for the viewers to communicate. Despite this, I’ve been able to build a sustainable following for my work. I wanted to pass along some tips I found helpful while being a live streamer on the internet to hopefully save you some of the time and mistakes I’ve made along the way.
- Internet connection is the MOST important thing for stream quality. If you can connect to your modem via a direct hard line connection, that is the best. If you need to go wireless, make sure the connection is uninterrupted. I recommend at least 6 Mbps upload speed, and you probably don’t need more than 10 Mbps upload speeds for streaming unless you have other traffic running simultaneously to your camera and audio.
- While camera quality is good, audio quality is best – prioritize audio first! What really helps people focus on your content is a nice, static-free audio setup. Keep your background noise to a minimum and use a headset (AirPods work) or a noise cancelling mic (I plug in the Yeti Blue). Then people can at least hear what you are teaching and make out the video at whatever quality you need to set it at. When you’re ready for a webcam to increase the field of view and overall quality, I personally use two Logitech c922 Pros.
- Put thought into your surroundings. A simple background not only looks clean, but also helps viewers see what you are doing. Make sure lighting is in front of you and not behind you. Back lighting could cause harsh shadows and poor visibility.
- Remember there is a delay! This is for when you’re speaking and moving. Be patient and allow time for what you teach to sink in. Allow your viewers time to respond if you ask for feedback and understand due to upload and download speeds that vary it may take longer for people to hear it, type or say it back.
- If you can, encourage interaction not just with you, but with their peers within the chat or video windows. Have students cheer each other on and help build a community within your streaming space.
- Set a schedule and stick to it. Announce ahead of time before you go live and then again when you go live too. Determine a consistent schedule for your live stream and communicate it everywhere. If you need to cancel, that’s okay—but give them a feeling of normalcy. If it works for regular television broadcasting, it can work for you.
- You are now an entertainer, so entertain. Most of us as instructors are already very charismatic and entertaining, but understand that with streaming there is a lack of real one-on-one presence. Using exaggerations and fun dramatics will keep people engaged and interested. Remember, in this environment they can literally shut you off of their devices.
- Be compassionate, understand their needs and frustrations and take a beat to make sure you let them know that their thoughts and feelings are valid and important.
While there are several other tips on streaming out there, hopefully these help to get you up and running as quickly as possible! You are doing great work in serving your students and keeping your communities healthy. Thank you for all that you and your team are doing in this time of crisis and stay safe, stay healthy!
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