[346] How to look and feel more confident on live video with Ian Anderson Gray

Would you love to do more live video to promote your business but find perfectionism holds you back? Perhaps you’re worried about making mistakes or looking stupid in front of your friends or colleagues. Or maybe you find yourself making endless excuses not to go live – like telling yourself you don’t have the right equipment, for example.

If any of this sounds familiar, you’ll love this podcast interview with live video confidence expert Ian Anderson Gray.

{Click on the player above to listen to the podcast episode and/or read on for a detailed overview. Scroll down to the bottom to read the show notes including all the links mentioned in this episode}

How fear can hold you back from live video

Ian believes there are a number of ways fear can hold us back from getting in front of the camera. He calls these “the live video syndromes” and they don’t just apply to live video; they can also happen with webinars, Skype/Zoom meetings and recorded  videos.

The first is Feeling Like An Idiot Syndrome. This is when you are so worried about things going wrong and that, ultimately, people are going to judge you for making mistakes, you may feel too scared to go live at all.

If you’re suffering from this, Ian suggests asking yourself why you want to do live video in the first place. If you genuinely want to add value for your audience, it’s worth reminding yourself that it’s actually quite self indulgent to focus on how you look and how you talk. Because ultimately it’s not about you, it’s about your audience.

Another common problem is Comparison Syndrome. Ian explains: “You may have seen some live videos out there from people who have been doing it for years and they’ve got the professional setup and they are so eloquent with their words and you’re thinking: ‘I could never do that.’ Well that’s another thing in your head that will stop you from going live.”

Then there is Imposter Syndrome. This is when you question your ability to help people – even though you have the skills and/or experience to prove it. Ian admits this is something he has suffered from himself at times: “I’ve found myself thinking ‘well I’ve just learned it [live video marketing] all myself over the years and I don’t have a degree in live video so what can I possibly teach people? They’re going to find out that actually I’m a fraud!”

As with Feeling Like An Idiot Syndrome, Ian believes Imposter Syndrome can be a sign you’re thinking too much about yourself rather than your audience. So reminding yourself that you are there to serve your audience – not to be praised or admired – can be a good way to shake off those kind of feelings.

Perfectionism can also be a problem. Ian recalls how he didn’t go live for a whole month because he was so concerned about the background in his office being boring. “And while I was not going live, there was my audience out there, waiting for me to deliver some value and information to them.”

Why we need to fail at live video in order to improve

Ian believes many of our fears about live video go back to childhood, when were were bullied or teased at school. “As adults we’re afraid of the same thing happening if we do live video,” he says.

But just as those early, uncomfortable childhood experiences can help us grow stronger in the long run, our mistakes with live video are a necessary part of our learning.

As a singer, Ian is no stranger to performance nerves and/or anxiety. He recalls an embarrassing incident when his voice cracked in a high-profile performance at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. As an amateur musician and singer, Janet recalls a couple of really bad performances (including a time when she stopped playing in the middle of a piano recital because her mind had gone completely blank).

Both agree that making mistakes – and realising that the world didn’t end as a result- is necessary to grow in confidence as a broadcaster.

When you’re first broadcasting live, your biggest fear can be something going wrong with the tech. But there are things you can do to prepare. Practising to yourself and/or a trusted group of friends can be a good way to get ready. Investing in mentoring/coaching may also be a good idea.

When Janet decided to host a Christmas market for her clients (where they could buy/sell their products service on a daily Facebook Live in the run up to Christmas), she booked a session with Ian to help. Despite being an experienced Facebook Live broadcaster, she had never brought multiple people on and off a broadcast using Ecamm Live. Creating a step-by-step plan she could follow on the day plus hosting a practice run with each of the participants to troubleshoot any tech problems allowed to event to run smoothly.

That’s not to say there weren’t any hitches – that’s all part of the live experience – but preparation meant Janet was able to remain unflustered

Why you shouldn’t aim for perfection in your live videos

Janet also points out that viewers aren’t looking for perfection – they’re looking for characters. Which is why people such as the US president Donald Trump and UK politician Boris Johnson are so compelling to watch. She has delivered tons of radio and TV training and says being likeable and relatable trumps perfection every time.

“I think people often think that in order to be likeable and relatable and for people to enjoy watching you, you have to be word perfect. But actually people love characters and they love quirkiness and actually sometimes your nervousness can be quite endearing.”

Ian agrees: “I think if we do not let our personality shine, if we try and cover up our flaws, if we try to be perfect then we’re just going to be generic when ultimately what we want to do is attract our perfect customer and repel the people that aren’t going to be a good fit for us.”

He quotes the American marketing expert Phillip Cotler who says: “Marketers need to adapt to this new reality and create brands that behave like humans. Approachable and likeable but also vulnerable.  And brands should become less intimidating. They should become authentic and honest, admit their flaws and stop trying to be perfect.”

The tech you need for live videos

It’s easy to put off live video by telling yourself you don’t have the right equipment e.g, camera, lighting, microphones etc.

But if you’re new to live video, Ian suggests starting with your phone. You can always upgrade your kit later. The only other thing you need to be aware of is your internet speed. Ian recommends downloading Speedtest.net for your Android or iPhone, which is free.

Your upload speed is the important thing that you’re looking for and ideally it should be four megabits per second or faster. Ian explains: “If you’ve got less than that you could have some problems and that’s going to create some anxiety for you and it also means that people on the other end watching your live videos are not necessarily going to be able to see you or hear you.”

The best kind of lighting is natural lighting, so standing in front of a window is the only tip you need. You can see Janet’s video about this below.

If you’re shooting at night, Ian suggest investing in a ring light for your phone for around £60.

Ian’s pro tip: if you’re wearing glasses, don’t attach it directly to the phone because you’ll get that reflection – just put it off to one side.

The only other investment Ian recommends is a lapel mic. He recommends the Rode Smartlav+. “I think audio is actually more important than video because if people can’t hear you, well, they’re going to switch off,” he says.

A smartphone tripod can also help you avoid a shaky broadcast. Ian recommends a normal camera tripod with a smartphone tripod mount.  

You may also want to check out the iOgrapher phone case which offers stability and allows you to plug in a microphone and lights, again around £60.

How accountability can help you go live

If you’re nervous about going live, accountability can help a lot. Janet recalls how many of the participants in her Christmas Market had never done a Facebook Live broadcast, but committing to take part – and to the rehearsal beforehand – meant they couldn’t make excuses. They all did really well.

This is why buddying up with others who want to do more live video can be a great idea, says Ian. He suggests creating a private Facebook group and making the commitment to go live every day for a set period of time. “It’s a nice safe environment, but you’re all there for each other, you all watch each other and you give some constructive feedback to each other. And because you’ve committed publicly to the group, it will be much more difficult to back out.”

Starting with Instagram Stories – which disappear within 24 hours – can also be a great way to get experience of live video, says Ian. Without the pressure of knowing your first videos will be around forever.

What kind of content to share on your Facebook Live

Ian recommends an approach created by video expert Sam Ashdown who uses the acronym BLAST to explain content planning.

B stands for behind-the-scenes. This could be anything from a tour of your workshop/office to what you got to up at the weekend.

L stands for local. This is where you share what’s happening in your local area .e.g competitions, events, attractions.

A is for A Day In The Life. This can be anything from what you’re doing today to what you’re thinking about or working on.

S stands for sneak peek. This is generally something you’re working on that’s new. This is a great way of making your audience feel special, as you’re only sharing it with them.

T stands for tips and advice. This is generally blog posts, podcasts and videos with valuable content that helps people and/or makes their life easier.

Don’t be afraid to share the not-so-perfect moments in your life/business. Some of Janet’s best-performing social media content  was inspired by mistakes – from the Instagram story she created on her disasterous offerings on pancake day, to dropping out of the London Marathon to accidentally going live on her Facebook page.

In fact sharing your mistakes can help bring your audience closer to you.

And as storytelling Marsha Shandur points out in her podcast interview on how to use stories to attract your ideal clients, when you show people that your life isn’t perfect, that you make mistakes – just like them – it’s much easier for them to connect with you.

Ian agrees: “I’ve been put off some podcasts and live videos where everything has been almost too polished and perfect and I want to kind of empathise with people, I want to see a bit of humanity, so actually, when things go wrong, it makes me trust that person a little bit more.”

In fact, it’s worth saving your ‘blooper’ videos as they can be repurposed into content at a future time.

How to prepare for a live broadcast

It’s not a good idea to make tons of notes for a Facebook Live (seeing someone reading from a wad of notes is not very engaging). But preparation is important.

Ian recommends preparing up to three points you want to share before you go live and making sure you know exactly what you’re going to stay when you press the ‘start broadcast’ button.

The worst thing you can say when you’re waiting for people to join your live broadcast are things like: “Can you hear me? Am I live?”. While this isn’t so bad for live participants, it’s annoying for replay viewers.

Ian always starts his videos by saying: “Hi, I’m Ian Anderson Gray and thank you so much for watching the replay of this video,” before explaining what he is going to talk about it.

While it’s great to welcome ‘live’ viewers Ian advises against spending too long on it – otherwise it can become boring. And while you may have prepared three key points to discuss, you should aim for one big takeaway, which you can summarise at the end of the broadcast.

And if you’re broadcasting regularly it’s a good idea to let people know when you’ll be going live again.

If you want to learn more from Ian, why not come and meet him at Build Your Audience Live where he’ll be speaking about video confidence, but will be available for the full two days of the event to chat to you about all things video.

Podcast show notes

  • Janet talks about a live webinar disaster (7:10)
  • What Ian does and how he helps people (8:55)
  • The fear of live video – what it is and how to overcome it (10:28)
  • Janet and Ian share some broadcast and performance failures they’ve experienced  (14:00)
  • Why you don’t need to worry about being perfect, just be yourself and be likeable (20:30)
  • Live video versus pre-recorded video – what works best? (23:00)
  • Talking tech – what you really need to go live (26:00)
  • How accountability will help you commit to going live (30:50)
  • Content ideas for your live broadcasts (33:16)
  • Top tips for when you go live (42:30)
  • Ian’s forthcoming appearance at Build Your Audience Live (46:50)


Ian’s website

Ian on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn

Episode 324: How to stop talking about video and actually do it with Dan Knowlton

Episode 215: How to tell stories using video with Xanthe Berkeley

Episode 77: How to use video to grow your business with Brett Larkin

Episode 37: How to use video to promote your brand with Amy Schmittauer

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