How To Succeed On Cam Without Really Trying

Live video is one of the most exciting tools our society currently has for communication. Whether in a chat room or a one-on-one conversation, live video can help you better understand and connect to people around the world with the push (or click) of a button. It's that easy.

Well — starting a video feed is that easy. However, simply turning on your camera doesn't guarantee the best experience for you or your viewers. We've all seen too many blurry, boring, or dark cams that quickly lose a viewer's attention. You don't have to rent a studio or hire a professional makeup artist to look good on camera, though. Here are some things to remember to avoid common pitfalls and get the most out of your live video experience.

Sleek and Chic and Magnifique –

Make sure your equipment runs smoothly.

  • Camera
    • Most new computers have a decent built-in webcams. However, for those people who want to look crisp and clear for all their adoring Pals, you can learn about external webcams here. Whatever you choose, make sure your camera is clean and functional, and that you and your space are well lit (your supplies don't have to be this fancy — the rules still work desk lamps!).
  • Microphone
    • As with cameras, the microphones in most new computers are adequate for normal usage. There are plenty of external mic review lists to peruse for those who want their dulcet tones to shine through when singing a tune or launching a well-crafted argument. Regardless of the mic you use, remember that the room around you should minimize white noise, background noise, and echoes.
  • Connection
    • Perhaps the most important aspect of your broadcast from a technical aspect is your connectivity. Broadcasting video requires a strong broadband connection with fast upload and download speeds— the faster your connection, the better your image and sound will reach your viewers. Cams that are pixelated and stuttering are probably having connectivity issues.

It Doesn't Require a Three-Button Suit –

Everybody likes a little primp and fluff.
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Whatever you can see on screen, make it look nice.

  • Personal appearance
    • You don't have to dress up to be on cam, and no one expects you to look like a celebrity or news anchor. You should, however, wash your face, brush your hair (or don’t if you like that tousled look), and wear clothing that is comfortable and clean. As your mother might say, "Look presentable!"
  • Surroundings
    • Again, you don't need to broadcast from a gleaming professional studio, but remember to make sure your space is clean and visually tidy. Pick up your dirty clothes and minimize distractions behind you, like people passing an open door or a perpetually fluttering curtain.

A Combination of Skills –

Tailor your action to your purpose.

  • Room leader – 
    • If you plan to lead the room on cam, whether as the full-time host or on rotating mic, remember to keep your audience engaged and your content consistent. Participate in the chat, ask and answer questions, and know what you are going to say or do. Viewers will lose interest if you ramble, take long pauses, or ignore them completely.
  • Room participant or private chat–
    • If you're camming up for fun (rather than to lead a room), remember the basics. Sit up, be attentive, and look at the cam. Don't leave the cam running while you're away, and remember that when you're on cam, people want to see and interact with you. A blank cam is a boring cam!

Say hello. Stay in frame.

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Live video communication is powerful and it's worth saying that even a poor stream is superior to text chat when communicating personality, inflection, and intent in a conversation. However, there's something truly magical about a clear, crisp, intentional stream featuring an engaging, groomed, and well-lit Pal. 

Have suggestions on other ways to get the most out of a video stream? Know just how to attract those viewers? Share your tips with us on social media!

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