Lesson 2. The most important thing in streaming
The streamers most important tool!
We have established a foundation now, core principles you are going to build your streaming career on but now what?
Let’s start talking about the most important asset you have and is critical to your streaming. It is the tool you will always use and need and if it is not working properly, your stream will suffer.
What am I talking about? I am talking about you!
You are the most important feature of the stream and central in every stream so we need first to have a look at yourself and how you work and function in the stream. We will later get to the fun stuff like software and hardware but we must begin with you.
Have you ever stepped out of yourself, so to speak and taken a look at yourself? How you come across and present yourself? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Have you any personality traits that other people like and find attracting and likewise traits that maybe can put people off?
As streamers we need to work with ourselves all the time and it is always a balance between being yourself and presenting yourself in a way that will help the stream and get you views. “Be yourself” is a cliche that holds some truth but not the whole truth. Don’t kid yourself, as a streamer you are a performer and entertainer. You just need to find out what type you are and how to do it in a way that you feel comfortable with. Remember that this can change and should also change as you get more comfortable with streaming and exposing yourself. As you do that, you can start to build on what you have and are and start stepping more out of your comfort zone.
The great barrier!
Most if not all streamers that are beginning will meet a psychological barrier, a voice that haunts you before you start streaming: “you are going to fail! You are going to have a meltdown live and everybody will see it and laugh” and you visualize yourself as you are out of words, start sweating and the panic attack is driving up the alley and parking in front of your brain…
Well you have been there before… we all have. When we had to stand up in front of the class in school or the school play etc etc. And guess what? You are still alive, your friends didn’t leave you and your cat didnt say “thats it! I aint hanging round you anymore… you suck!
My point is that you will overcome that irrational fear that lures back in your head. Just remind yourself why you are doing this and that you are the most awesome person in the world, apart from starman that sits in a Tesla roadster cruising in space towards Mars…. Nothing can top that!
You can do it and you will do it and you will do it again and again and one day you realize just how comfortable it actually is. You are just meeting people… keep it simple and dont overthink it or over analyze yourself.
What type of personality are you?
We now need to look at your personality and how you come across. Is there anything that needs to be changed or are you good to go?
There are so many different type of streamers but there are also several stereotypes that in my opinion you should steer clear from. I will just mention 2 types to make my point.
1. The screamer! You know whom I am talking about and countless of copycats tries to do the same thing. Yell at the screen, insult people in the chat and generally piss on whatever or whomever is being talked about. This is just being a bully and they have nothing to do on my monitor or phone. I didn’t like them in school and they definitely do not deserve to earn money from yelling insults at the world.
2. The “hot” gamer girl
Many girls are both really good gamers and streamers but I have no respect to the girls that seem to think that the more cleavage they show or skin, the better the stream is. It is just sad to see girl streamers that are deliberately taking advantage of the fact that many of their viewers are young boys that find it exciting to watch hot girls. Any girl with self respect will not go down this path.
So who are you? Are you the joyful chatty type or the silent introvert or somewhere between?
What type is better fitted to become a successful streamer? Through the years i have seen and studied countless streamers to see what makes them special and why people are watching their streams and I can tell you that there is no silver bullet or absolute truth too what works best. The streamers and their viewers reflect the beautiful fact that we are all different and have different preferences. It is much more a question of if you can find your target group that enjoys your type of content or like to hangout on stream with exactly the type of person you are.
Having said this there are though few things that applies in general to all successful streamers.
1, Talk to the viewers.
Talk to your viewers even if the viewer counter shows zero or 1! Always talk and if there is no one to talk to in chat, talk about what you are doing in the game. Explain your thought process and why you are doing exactly this thing. Explain game mechanisms or what you want to accomplish or how cool the graphic is. There is always something you can talk about. Practice doing this from day one since it will train you and help you to do it more fluently to the point where it becomes natural for you. Should you talk all the time? Opinions vary on this among streamers but I have seen streams with no voice and no cam and full of viewers!? The reason was the fact that the one playing was so good at the game that he really didn’t need to say anything. BUT!… that is the exception not the rule. And no you don’t need to talk all the time. You can take breaks of course but don’t pause too long since it is possible that people will lose interest unless there is something really engaging going on in the game.
2. Be interested in your viewers.
Viewers appreciate when you show interest in them. This is a principle of life. We as human being are social creatures and people watch stream and chat because they want to interact. So do that. Interact with viewers by asking them questions. Try with just asking them where are they from? You will get an answer… maybe… It doesn’t happen straight away but it will happen and then you build on that. “Oh you are from Hawaii!? Cool, I have always wanted to go there” or ”how is it in Hawaii”? Show interest in your viewers and they will reward you and maybe you will gain a faithful follower. And here i will mention the biggest benefit of being a streamer. You get to meet so many good people via your interactions with your viewers… and some not so good as well 😉 But that is another story I will cover later in another lesson.
3. Show emotions in your stream.
People relate to what you are experiencing and your feelings since they probably have felt similar things as you have. Maybe it is something in the game that triggers it? Positive or negative? Share it with your viewers and let them be part of it. Even ask them something like “Don’t you hate when this happen!?” or “I always get emotional when this happens” “Am I the only one?” Let people in and let them get close to you in that way. Most people appreciate that.
4. Make eye contact with your viewers! You must from time to time look at the viewers to acknowledge that they are there. This is just a basic behaviour we appreciate in all communication. When we talk to people we make eye contact to establish the fact that they are there and that we know that. So practice to have the habit of looking into the webcam from time to time.
I will conclude this lesson with adding that it is also very important that you always maintain a critical mind to yourself and evaluate your performance. I occasionally watch myself after a stream. Not because I love to watch myself but to study myself and get a better picture of where I am doing great and where I am failing. I have learned a lot about myself just by watching my own streams.
In next lesson I will start talking about the actual setup of a stream. Its now that it starts to get messy 😉