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Episode 20: Learn to Love Going LIVE

See the show notes for this Episode here.

This transcript has been automatically generated.


People truly just want to get to know you in exactly the way that you are in exactly the moment that you're in.

I'm Bonnie Christine, and this is where all things, creativity, design, business, and marketing unite. I'm a mama living in a tiny town, tucked right inside the Smokey Mountains, running a multi seven figure business, doing the most creative and impactful work of my life.

When I first set out to become an entrepreneur, I was struggling to make ends meet and wrestling with how to accomplish my biggest dream of becoming a fabric designer. Fast forward to today, I'm not only licensing my artwork all over the world, but also teaching others how to design their creative life and experience the same success. I'm here to help you spend your life doing something that lights you up.

I'll help you build a creative business that also creates an impact, changes people's lives, gives you all of the freedom you want and is wildly profitable.

Welcome to the Professional Creative Podcast. Earlier this week we talked about having 10 seconds of courage and how courage can really change your entire business and what is possible for you. We also talk a lot about getting comfortable,

being uncomfortable, and one of those things for me has been learning to love going live. You know, when we're creative entrepreneurs, it's often the case that we need to show up on the internet online in so many different ways, and it can be uncomfortable for so many different reasons as well. Maybe we don't have the studio or the space that we'd like, or maybe we're not comfortable with the way that we look, or maybe we don't like the way our voice sounds so many different reasons, but truthfully, when you run a business online, going live is the fastest way to connect with your audience and they don't see all of the things that we see about ourselves or hear all of the things that we hear when we listen back to ourselves.

People truly just want to get to know you in exactly the way that you are in exactly the moment that you're in. And so with that, I began to embrace going live many years ago and it was nerve wracking. I shared with you in the last episode that I don't even like calling in takeout. So going live on video in front of people that I don't even know is incredibly nerve wracking.

I would get so nervous about it and it took many years simply doing it over and over again to get more comfortable with it. Today I can go live with no nerves whatsoever and it's my favorite way to connect with my audience, but that has definitely not always been the case. I'm specifically talking about anytime you're going live in front of your audience. So this could be on Facebook if you're doing Facebook Lives, this could be on Instagram if you're doing Instagram stories or Instagram lives. One of the ways that we do it the most is on Zoom. So we have Zoom meetings, we have Zoom webinars, we do Zoom workshops, big, small and medium of all sizes. We're on Zoom all the time. And then we also use Zoom for our community Q and ass.

And so I'm so comfortable going live now that I almost prefer to go live than to prerecord a big workshop. So I'll teach a workshop live, I'll interact with the audience live, and it's just a really cool way to connect, but it used to be really uncomfortable. And so part of what we're doing here is learning about how to get comfortable being uncomfortable and really embracing vulnerability.

You know, why are we so nervous to go live? I think it's because it feels like a very vulnerable space where there are a lot of unknowns. And so specifically today I'm gonna talk about 20 tips on going live and how you can learn to love going live as well. Things that you can think about in advance that will really help you embrace going live and minimize that feeling of vulnerability.

Something I heard a long time ago was that if you weren't embarrassed at what you were doing a year ago or you're not embarrassed of yourself a year ago, you haven't made enough progress. And I think that videos and going live and seeing yourself and hearing yourself is probably the biggest way that I get embarrassed about myself. A year ago, five years ago, I even have a video of me welcoming members to my membership. That's 10 years ago and my goodness is, is so painful for me to watch. It's through these growing pains that we get to where we need to go, and I'm sure we'll all be embarrassed about what we're doing today in a year from now, right? But that's how we grow.

That's how we can measure progress. Before we dive in, I wanna make sure you know about the freebie we have for you today. We put together an entire live call planner for you to keep by your side that will help you identify your opening call to action, your rituals, any announcements that you wanna mention, and of course remind you of all of my top 20 tips for going live.

So be sure to head on over to the show notes for today's episode. You'll find [email protected] to download your live call planner today. So are you ready to embrace going live? Here are my 20 tips. Number one is to make your live experience feel like an event. So this may not happen if you're just casually hopping on Instagram stories, but if you're teaching a workshop or doing a webinar or doing a q and a, there are some things that you can do to really set it up like an experience. Part of this is to really build anticipation and let everyone know exactly what time and where to plan on attending, but it also has a lot to do with the flow of the call. So I always think about the beginning, middle, and end of a call.

So the beginning of it, I'm welcoming people, I'm kind of setting the stage for what we're gonna talk about, I'm interacting, and then the middle of the call, I generally go into teaching or q and a where I'm the primary one speaking, and then at the end of the call I like to wrap it up so that it feels like we finished. I'll typically include a next action or call to action for them or sign off in a way that really feels like we concluded the experience.

Sometimes my favorite thing to do is have people come on and unmute themselves and share their biggest takeaways from the call or something like that, but some way to really make it feel more like an experience. If you're like me, I don't feel like I'm an entertainer by any means, but you do want your audience to feel entertained while they're on a call.

This is likely the best way to keep their attention and encourage them to engage in the call and not multitask or step away or turn their cameras off. So you want to make it feel like an event, an experience, and you know, build in as many things as you can to make it exciting. Number two is to greet people by their name.

I love seeing people come into the call and immediately giving them a call to action to write their name in the chat and say where they're coming from or joining from, and this is a way for me to just be able to see them. It gives us a little bit of time at the beginning of the call where you're kind of waiting on people to join and so there's nothing really to say anyways, and so you might as well really interact. So I always welcome people by their name, tell the audience where they're joining from, and this is such a cool way to make people know that you're listening, you're watching that you can see their comments, that you know where they're coming from, and I've had this happen to me as an attendee on a call and there is something so special about hearing your name come across the live call because someone saw your comment in the chat and it just feels like, okay, I'm here. I'm in. They saw me. It's exciting. And so I love to welcome people by name as much as I can. Number three is to, like I said, give them a call to action. Upon arriving, just like you might not really know how to start the call, oftentimes your audience doesn't really know what to do either.

They're just kind of waiting to be told. And so I always say give them a call to action. When they join the call, I ask them to put their name and where they're joining from. Or sometimes I'll ask a different question like, what are you working on this week? Or if we're in a illustration course, maybe I'll ask, what are they drawing this week?

Or what are they doing for, you know, an upcoming holiday or something like that. What's the weather like? Give them a call to action so that you can get the conversation going and people know that they're not there alone, that they are surrounded by people that are in the chat as well. Number four is to get comfortable taking pauses. I think that this is a very much learned behavior.

It doesn't come natural to pause in a live call. It feels maybe awkward for you, the host, like you have to fill the air with every moment, but it is such a nice relaxing breath of fresh air for a listener to see that you're at ease and that you can pause, pause and take a sip of water or pause and you know, collect your thoughts or just take a deep breath. It doesn't come across as amateur. It actually comes across as very relaxing. And so there are a lot of different times, I'll give you some more examples in a few minutes of times where we just need to take a pause and dead air or silence on the call for a few seconds is actually a really welcome thing for the people who are listening.

Number five is to use visuals. I can't tell you how much I love it when I'm watching someone on a live illustrate something like grab a piece of paper and a pencil and sketch out a graph that they're trying to explain or write a word down and hold it up to the camera. And this is a great example of a necessary reason to take a pause.

It can feel maybe awkward to put your head down and sketch out a graph. You know, this might take 15 or 20 seconds and everyone is just watching you, but they're watching and they're holding their breath. They can't wait to see what you're about to show. And so I very much love the dead air, the downtime that it takes for you to draw something, sketch it out, write it out, and then show it to the camera. I always think that it's extra engaging when other people do that. Even if you have a chalkboard or a Flipboard behind you, you can write out if you're teaching, and this is just a really nice, very interactive way to communicate with the audience. Number six is to go get stuff if you need it.

And I'll explain that so many times on a call, something will come up that I could actually show them if I had it, but it's in the next room over or there's a book down the hall that I'd love to show. And so I don't hesitate to leave my chair and just say, oh, I have that book. It's right down the hall.

Let me go grab it and I'll step away from the live call and just go grab it and bring it back again. This is a good time to take one of those necessary pauses. And it's not for long and it, it doesn't even happen on every call, and if it does, it's only once. But it's just this nice way of like, this person is a real human, they're running down the hall to get something or they need a sip of water, they've gotta go grab it. It just brings the humanity back to the call and I actually love it when someone disappears to go grab something and bring it back as an illustration. Number seven is to establish rituals. This one is specific if you are going live on a routine basis.

And so for an example, during my course, the immersion course, we do three live q and a calls every week. And so oftentimes I'll start in in those calls very similarly, and that kind of creates just this ritual for people. They know what to expect, it's comforting to hear the call start, it's comforting to hear the call and, and so anytime you can bring in those ritualistic things, people will actually miss it if it's ever not there. And so if you always say the same thing at the beginning of a call and one time you don't, everyone will call you out and and say, you didn't say this, or whatever, which means that they love it. Rituals are something that keep us connected in community, they attach us to what we love, and so we're always trying to think about different ways that we can create consistent rituals that people can really get used to. For example, I've been trying to come up with a proper ending to the podcast for the last several weeks. It feels like I'm done with the podcast and I don't really know what to say, so I'm like, bye. And so I'm trying a new sign off.

This is the second time I'll use it, so you have to wait to the end to hear me say my sign off and you can let me know what you think about it or if you have a better idea, but that's an example of a ritual. Same thing with the introduction to the podcast. It's the same every time. It becomes a ritual, it becomes something that you connect with listening to this podcast and perhaps it gets you excited about what you're gonna learn and you can do the same thing with your live calls. This episode is sponsored by me and my start simple and surface design guide. Truthfully, I will never forget the moment that I learned what surface pattern design is and that it's an incredible career opportunity.

I mean doodle for a living. Yes, please. Surface pattern design is the work of creating artwork in the form of a repeating pattern for products that require it like fabric, wallpaper, gift wrap tape, and any product that you can think of. After working professionally for over 13 years and teaching thousands of others how to create their career, I've made the ultimate Guide to Surface Pattern design and I'm giving it to you for free.

This guide is 44 pages long and it will take you from start to finish on how to jumpstart your career and surface design and get started. You'll learn how to set proper goals, build a solid foundation, find inspiration, work in collections, pitch your work, and create a career while doing something that you love. So don't delay. Go on over to bonnie christine.com/guide

to download your free copy of Start Simple and Surface Pattern Design today. Again, that's bonnie christine.com/guide, B o n n i e C H R I S T I N e.com/guide, and I will see you there. Number eight is to make sure to tell everyone what to expect on the call and perhaps give an outline. So I always like to think about this phrase,

tell them what you're gonna tell them, tell them and then tell them what you told them. And so that really just gears people up to understand where the call is going, what they're going to learn. Then they learn it and then you recap. This is what you learned. I also love to try to let people know how long they can expect to be on the call and try to stick to that as best as I can.

Number nine is to consider time zones. It's difficult when you're an online business and you have an audience that spans multiple countries, and so it's worth doing a little bit of research on your top, let's say five countries. What time is it in your top five countries you can get this data from? Probably Instagram, definitely Google Analytics and consider those time zones because if you are going live when your second biggest country is asleep, your attendance is going to be lower and your people are gonna be more disappointed. So for this reason, we often do our live calls at 3:00 PM East Coast time, and 3:00 PM is actually one of the least convenient times for anyone living on the East coast because typically that's school pickup time. But for our European friends and our Australian friends, it's typically the best time that will allow everyone to be able to attend, even though it's late and very early, it's still in generally waking hours. So just pay attention to time zones and your top countries and make your live calls as nice as you can. Now, a couple of years ago, I found myself getting really nervous before doing Q and As, and I had to really think about why, and I finally figured out that it was because I was taking questions live and this felt really vulnerable.

Like what if a question came in that I didn't wanna answer, or maybe a question would come in that I didn't know the answer to. And so I just felt like it was adding this layer of unknown ness to the call, and so I made a switch, and now we only take questions in advance, which gives me some time to review them before I go live.

Now, I'm never afraid to take a question that I don't know the answer to and just let everyone know I don't know the answer to this. I actually think that that's really life giving. Sometimes to realize that the people we're learning from don't necessarily have the answers to everything and they were still able to get to where they are, right? But having questions submitted in advance gives me time to review them, gives me time to maybe combine two that are very similar, maybe find the answer to some of them if I didn't have it off the top of my head, or maybe even take some of them away. You know, a lot of times we'll get 80 questions for a q and a when I only have time for 20. So this allows me to really sort them and answer the ones that I think will be most beneficial for the group at large.

And so we just transitioned because I wasn't enjoying taking questions live. And so now I really don't take questions live. I only take questions submitted in advance, and so we'll announce a q and a and then we'll link everyone over to a form where they can submit their questions. The other great thing about this is that they don't have to be live in order to get their question answered, they can just watch the replay. Number 11 is for you, if you ever share your screen in a live call, it's always important to remember to silence your phones and put your computer and do not disturb mode, but it's also important to when you share your screen, to also make sure to just share the window that you're wanting everyone to be able to see.

And the reason is because you'll get notifications, you'll get text message notifications and all sorts of different notifications, swipe in on your screen, and if you've shared your entire desktop, then the people on the call are also going to be able to see the incoming text messages or phone calls that you've missed or notifications. And so in addition to making sure that I'm in do not disturb mode, I also just make it a practice to only share the screen that I want them to see. So if you don't know what I'm talking about, this is an option on Zoom. When you go to share your screen, you can either share the full desktop or you can just share one window, and I always just share the window that I want to actually have everyone look at.

Number 12 is to promptly post the replay if you're offering a replay. So anytime we do a q and a for our membership or our course, we always offer the replay. Sometimes when I'm doing live, this may not apply and it may not apply if you're doing Instagram lives or something like that, but if you're able to offer a replay of a workshop or a webinar or a q and a, people will appreciate it so much. But furthermore, they will appreciate it so much if it's up within a reasonable amount of time. So we typically like to have our replays up same day, but absolutely within 24 hours. Again, this is just a kindness to people who are in different time zones or struggling to meet the live call time and specifically in a course event.

Getting the replays up quickly will help them not feel like they're behind everyone else. Number 13 is to really remember that this is a two-way conversation, even if it really is just you speaking the whole time. You have the attention of people on your live call, and so don't forget to address them, have them engage and read some responses in the comments if you can.

This takes a little bit of experience, and so if you're nervous and you're just starting out, don't worry about trying to read the comments as they come in. But once you get a little bit more comfortable, you can pretty easily scan the comments as they come in and sometimes just reading one or two out loud that contribute to what you're saying or is kind.

Then I think it really sets the tone. Something that I think about is showing people the type of people that we are. So people like us behave like this sort of concept, right? And so anytime a comment comes in that is just really a beautiful example of community or support or encouragement, I try to pull it out and read it out loud.

People like us behave like this. This is a safe, supportive, encouraging, creative community to be a part of. Right? Number 14 is, if possible, include the chat along with the replay. This is gonna be really helpful for any resources or links that were shared in the chat. This is also typically just something that you would do if you're using Zoom, but along with downloading the video, we also download the chat and upload that with the replay so that people can see the resources and things that were shared in the chat as well if they want. Now, number 15 might be my favorite, and it's to have someone on the call as support. So this is typically always someone from my team, but many years ago it was my mom or a friend of mine when I didn't have anybody on my team, I just at least had one person that I knew on the call in order to support. So they're there in support of me and the community. So they're welcoming people, they're helping answer questions in the chat. If I mention a book or a website or a resource, they're going to grab that and add the link to the chat. And it just creates this really well-rounded, supportive experience for everyone who's listening because they know you're not just doing this alone, that you've got someone in the chat that's there for them that's there to help answer their questions and collect those resources. Now, number 16 is to have someone take notes for the replay. This could be the same person who's there for support or it could be someone different, but I found that rather than have to listen to the whole call again later to make notes for the replay, it's really helpful to have someone do this on the live. You could also easily barter this with someone in your community or, or have a community advocate help you do this, but when we post a replay, we often like to recap what we talked about, the biggest takeaways, maybe outline some of the questions and things like that. And so when it's done in real time as opposed to re-watching it and doing it later, it's so helpful. It's such a time saver. Number 17 is to decide whether you're going to do a webinar style call or a face-to-face call. And I can explain this a little bit. Again, this goes back to Zoom because on Facebook it's typically what we call webinar style. So it's just you. You can't see anyone else, even though they're there live.

The same thing typically on Instagram, unless you invite people to join the call with you. But on Zoom, you really have the opportunity to do either. So, you can do a webinar style, which is just you on camera to many people, and so no one else is visible. They can't turn their cameras on, they're just there in numbers.

Or you can do a face-to-face call where everyone has the ability to have their cameras on, and you can see everyone face-to-face. I like to use both of these style of calls for different reasons, and so we just need to think about it in advance and then communicate it to the people who are gonna be joining. I always love to know whether I'm expected to be on camera and camera ready, or if it's okay that we're just attending and listening, right? So the other thing to think about is that with Zoom, a webinar style video allows for more attendees than just a face-to-face. Or you can change this by upgrading your plan. We won't get into that, but I like to do a webinar style. So just me, just my face on camera.

Anytime I'm doing a big q and a, or let's say have more than a hundred people on the call, I love to do face-to-face for smaller calls. So anytime my mastermind meets, there's only 30 of us, we all have our cameras on and it feels really intimate, like we're getting to know each other. And so that type of call, I always love to have cameras on and do the face-to-face style.

Again, just something to think about in advance, whether you wanna be able to see everyone or not, and be able to communicate that with them in advance. Number 18 is that I love to make people feel like they're getting a little insider peak at something that's happening in the studio. A little bit of a behind the scenes, maybe I've got, you know, new products to show that I haven't shared anywhere else yet, or maybe I can open my sketchbook and share with them the new work that I'm currently working on, or maybe my kids run in from school and give me a hug and a kiss. I don't know what it is, but I love every time we go live to just try to peel back the curtain a little bit.

Again, show our humanity and let them feel like they're truly an insider. Let them see a little bit of what goes on behind the day-to-day. Number 19 is kind of simple, but so easy to forget. Tell your audience what you want them to do. Oftentimes we just forget that people love to be prompted, and sometimes they need to be prompted.

So don't hesitate to say, Hey, keep your cameras on today. I would love to be able to see you or stay for breakout sessions. If you're about to do breakout sessions, that's when people love to leave the call. So let them know like, Hey, stay for these breakout sessions. I know it's tempting to leave the call, but stay on.

You'll get so much out of it or stay until the end of the call today because I'll be sharing X, Y, Z, right? So many times people just forget to let people know what the desired behavior is, you know, post in the chat or tell me one thing in the chat. Sometimes I'll really use audience engagement, like, do you agree or say yes or no in the chat?

And this just helps engagement, helps people feel like they're a part of the call, and also helps them, you know, know what's expected. You can say, mute yourselves or unmute yourselves, or try to keep your cameras on if you can, or any number of things like that. Just remember that you can communicate with them, communicate the desired behavior and it will be so helpful.

Okay, number 20 is our last tip. And it's just to remember that you are in charge. There's really nothing that can happen on a live call that can get out of your hands as long as you think about it in advance. You know, I think that something that makes us so uncomfortable going live is that vulnerability is not knowing exactly what's gonna happen.

What if someone comes in and starts doing something on a live that you don't want to have happen? Or maybe someone's putting something in the chat that you don't want to have there. Or maybe someone's asking a question that you don't know the answer to. And I think it's just really important to remember that this is your room and you are in charge of it.

You can have admin there, someone who's admin to, you know, remove someone if they needed to be removed. You can even just close the call. You can end the call if you have to, right? You can skip a question, you cannot answer a question. You can say, I don't know the answer to that question. You are in charge of this room.

And I think it's just really empowering to remember that it's your room, it's your rules. You built the room, you get to make the rules, and there's nothing that can happen that will take it out of your control. As long as you think about it in advance, you are in charge. Those are my top 20 tips on really learning how to love going live.

You know, one thing that helped me get more comfortable is by just getting more comfortable grabbing my phone and doing videos. So one way that I've done this is using the app called Marco Polo with just some of my closest friends. But using Marco Polo really got me more comfortable grabbing my phone and just talking on camera and filling up that space because it's not a two-way conversation.

It's not like FaceTime, you know, it's just you with no immediate feedback. So you're learning how to fill space with your voice and your face, and it has been really helpful. And just helping me get more comfortable taking up that space on a live, especially things like Instagram stories that to me still feel fairly uncomfortable. The one thing that I do know is that you won't get better at it,

and you won't get more comfortable at it if, if you don't do it. And again, it is the number one way to connect with your audience most quickly and most deeply. So if you can go live, go live, you are going to love it. You likely serve a beautiful community just like I do, who really just want to see you show up.

Okay, here we go. Thank you so much for listening to another episode of the Professional Creative Podcast. You can get show notes for this episode and all other episodes [email protected]. Work to create the beauty that you want to see come alive in the world. And remember, there's room for you. I'll see you next time. Bye for now.

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I'm Bonnie Christine.


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