Want to cut your learning curve in half? Take VIDEO of your sets – not just recorded audio.
Set up your phone or an old camera and take video of your sets. The huge benefit here is that you can watch and notice subtleties of the crowd you could never see while your focus is split. You can see EXACTLY how people react to your transitions and song choices. You can think about the context of what’s going on – what time of night it was, what groups left to the bar to what songs, what groups left the VENUE to what songs, what songs got the OHHH, what songs built up the energy, what songs had build-ups that maybe were too long for the crowd, what songs had the crowd singing.
SO much context is missed by just recording internally, and if you’re not already recording every single set, you’re just not that interested. Data is CHEAP. Make it a habit to record every set, despite the fact you’ll never listen to half of them. Because there will be times where you got rolling and busted out a RIDICULOUS set, only to regret not hitting the record button. If you do it EVERY. SINGLE. TIME, you’ll never have missed out.
Yes it can be uncomfortable to watch you slog through a rough night… BUT THOSE ARE THE ONES YOU NEED TO WATCH THE MOST. Analyze your struggles so you know exactly where to course correct.
Getting better is HARD. Hold up the mirror, record your sets, and get better at twice the speed as your competition.
As a member of Toastmasters for the past year, I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t firsthand. Here are a couple of pointers:
Limit the text on your screen! You want the audience to be focused on YOU, not reading a screen while you fight for their attention
Practice your run-through at least ONCE. Have an idea of what you’re going to say at each slide, as well as when you’re going to change slides.
Sprinkle a line or two from your testimonials ‘Salt & pepper’ your presentation with social proof – you don’t want full paragraphs (see above)
Video complicates presentations so so so often If you decide on using it, think about using it as a backdrop that you can easily talk over.
Upgrade your Zoom You’ll be kicked off after 40 minutes!
Practice working with the software Ex. sharing your screen, muting loud callers, sharing video/audio.
If you are recording… Make sure all of yourcallers are aware! This can have legal stipulations based on your state & jurisdiction. Maybe include a note or disclaimer in your signup form and confirmation email.
Have your vendors get in the game Example: Charge participating vendors $5-10 to cover your marketing so they’re invested.
Have a Call To Action at the end of the call “Schedule a call this week with one of our vendors within 24 hours and receive $150 off! Their Calendly links just hit your inbox.”
Send out a $5 Starbucks gift card to your prospects “We normally pick up the tab when meeting for coffee, so here’s a little something on us. (If you’re not a coffee drinker, here’s a link to donate to first responders/healthcare on the front lines)”
Over the past few weeks I’ve been experimenting with streaming my sets live through Facebook and Twitch. Twitch is much more lenient on their music policies but it’s much easier to build an instant audience on Facebook.
What You’ll Need
You’ll need webcams of some kind, either built into your laptop, monitor or plug-in USB webcams.
You’ll also need a USB audio interface. These can be picked up for $10-20, you should also be able to use a mixer you have lying around if it has a USB hookup. Ultimately you’re going to run your master output into the USB audio interface so your computer can see it as a type of microphone input. This is what I used. I have an article here that goes further in-depth on leveraging the most from standalone mixers.
Then you’re going to need software to manage the stream. I used Wirecast in this example on its free trial, but its expensive ($250). OBS is a great free alternative, though it has been known to have issues running on Macs (womp). If anyone finds a cheaper alternative for Mac I’m all ears.
I’m personally pushing my feed to a service called Restream which allows me to forward it to multiple sites (Twitch, Chew.TV, Facebook, etc). When I’m streaming directly to Facebook Live through Wirecast, it does not allow me to also stream to Twitch for some reason, so I use Restream to get around that.
Facebook is also picky about the format it will take. Follow these guidelines in your software settings to ensure Facebook doesn’t reject your feed.
Don’t Get Booted
Once you get your rig setup and streaming, stick to edits and remixes found in record pools – not on iTunes or Spotify!! You want to throw off the algorithm that automatically finds matches based on the waveform. Sometimes it will pick up the lyrics, but I’ve found that parts of the video will simply be muted after the fact, once I’m done live streaming.