Strategies for Combating Stage Fright for Streamers
You’ve built your stream channel. You’ve set up your stream’s social media presence. You’ve built logos and a brand. You’ve conquered all the issues, technical and otherwise, involved in setting up your video game stream.
But there’s just one problem. You’re nervous. In fact, you’re more than just nervous, you’re downright terrified. Stage fright is a common issue for streamers of all experience levels.
That’s right. Even top streamers who average hundreds of thousands viewers each day still get nervous before a live broadcast. However, streaming vets typically combat stage fright using strategies which beginners don’t know about.
Here’s how to deliver a great on-camera performance every stream, even if you’re a brand-new streamer.
What is Stage Fright?
Stage fright is a feeling of extreme nervousness before any type of public performance, including streaming. More than excitement or low-level anxiety, stage fright often includes physical symptoms such as:
- Increased heart rate
- Dry mouth
- Vision changes (“tunnel vision”)
- Difficulty speaking
- Shakiness and increase perspiration
How to Combat Stage Fright
Even though you’re sitting in your home, streaming is still a live performance. Fortunately, theater actors have developed timeless strategies for fighting stage fright. Here are some tips from the world of acting which can actually help when you stream:
Turn Your Fear into Excitement
A Harvard Study discovered something interesting about severe performance anxiety. Specifically, the physical symptoms of fear closely mirror the feelings of excitement. You can actually trick your brain by telling yourself that you’re not nervous about streaming — you’re excited. This mental reorganization can instantly lead to better focus. Anxiety is a general emotion. But excitement has an obvious reason. As your brain shifts from fear to excitement, you’ll be better equipped to process the specifics of the task ahead.
Become Lost in the Moment
Your brain can always find fault with what you’re saying or doing. One effective trick is to not let this doubt get a foothold. Instead of dwelling on the potential reaction of your audience, focus on yourself.
Now, this might sound strange at first, but the audience isn’t there to see you. Instead, they want to see you play a game. Focus on the game itself. This prevents you from dwelling on self-critique.
Prepare for the Worst
You might have heard that you can combat nervousness by staying positive. Turns out, positive thinking isn’t the most effective way to stop stage fright.
Instead, you want to imagine the most likely worst-case scenarios. Then prepare some strategies should the worst occur.
At some point or another, your stream will likely be plagued by technical problems. Streaming is complicated. You’ll have issues with the sound, video, game or something else.
Trying to diagnose an issue while you’re live on the air often adds a layer of confusion. Instead, prepare for technical problems by creating a “Be Right Back” screen which you can cut to when necessary. Many streamers play music if they’re going to away for more than a minute or two.
Play Games You’re Familiar With
One way to increase your comfort level is to stream games you’re pretty good at. This reduces the need to talk because people will primarily be interested in watching high-level play. Plus, sharing game-related tips and tactics will feel easy and natural.
Multiplayer games usually draw a larger audience than single-player games. This is because multi-player games are more unpredictable, which makes for exciting viewing. The best players in the world at practically any multi-player game are also going to have the largest audiences.
Play Games You’re Unfamiliar With
The opposite strategy works well, too. People love to watch someone learn how to play a game. If you can play a new, anticipated game on release day, you can draw a lot of new viewers.
Don’t worry if you’re not very good. People don’t expect mastery from someone unfamiliar with a game. Watching a streamer die again and again in a game can actually be pretty fun. Just remember to keep a positive attitude and laugh at your failures.
Don’t Be Afraid of Failure
Your stream isn’t always going to go smoothly. Technical problems will happen from time to time. Also, sometimes you’ll trip over your words, run out of things to say or otherwise lose your “streaming mojo.”
That’s okay. No viewer expects perfection. Embrace your mistakes, shrug them off and keep going. As you become familiar with streaming, your stage fright will naturally disappear with practice.
Streaming can be a serious career. But that doesn’t mean you need to take every second of streaming seriously. Keep your stream fun, lighthearted and good-natured. This will not only make your stream better but will also help reduce your stage fright.