Live Streaming for Learning & Development
People who watch live streams say that it fosters a sense of connection. They feel that the presenter is more authentic. If somethings goes wrong, they have to show it and keep rolling. It's not as perfect as content that is highly editing in post production.
And people really do follow their favorite live streamers closely. Ninja, a popular gamer on Twitch, brings in nearly $34,000 a month streaming his game play. He claims to have one made nearly $5 million in a month.
Live streaming-- done right-- converts.
In L&D's case, we're looking for user engagement and buy in, as well as opportunities to distribute content to users in scalable ways. Live streaming is a powerful asset to have in the toolkit.
So let's talk about when to use live streaming, strategies for creating an engaging stream, and tools you can use to go live.
How & When
Live streaming means multimedia content is broadcasted in real time as it is being recorded. It is a fantastic tool to use when you want to control the focus of the discussion. It's also great when you need to reach large audience and when you don't want people seeing the other people who are viewing the content (e.g., Zoom meeting).
There's also live streaming's close cousin, live broadcasting-- think radio shows and other broadcasts where people are invited to interact with the broadcast. Many live streaming products also include features that allow live-broadcast-like features, like seeing viewer comments pop up in real time and displaying viewer questions on screen.
There are many ways to use live streaming to create learning and development content that draws audiences in.
Create touch points
Especially in large companies, people crave access to executives and personnel in other departments. Siloes and corporate hierarchies often limit this access, and live streaming can help people learn from others they normally would never get to hear from. You can have a little fun and create an office talk show, record interviews, let the person talk directly to the audience, or do very brief "on the scene" clips.
Show off new products
If Amazon Live and QVC prove anything, it's that live selling works! Sell your team on your amazing new product by showing it off during a live stream event.
Work out loud sessions
Grab your most experienced team members and have them work while talking through their decisions. It's a way scale shadowing.
Live raffles drawings, scavenger hunt clues, and more-- use your live stream to get everyone playing together and having while incentivizing their work.
There is lots of research out there showing that people who feel acknowledged for their contributions are more likely to stay engaged in the workplace. Take time to publicly recognize your people for accomplishments large and small.
You know how and when to get your people watching a live stream for learning and development. Now how do you make the most of your live stream event? How do you engage viewers?
Let's talk through some simple strategies for making your live streams effective.
Schedule & announce your live stream event
If people don't know you're going live, they won't join you. Nudge them with calendar invites, emails, SMS, and/or other internal communication channels.
Talk to the audience
Make eye contact. Talk to audience members as if you're sitting in the room with them, as if the live stream is a conversation directly with them.
Show & tell
Whiteboards, product demos, storytelling... all great tactics for inviting people into the live stream conversation. But don't go overboard. Remember that many live stream technologies operate on mobile-- meaning tiny screens. Little details won't be noticed and may be distracting.
Cut through the passive viewing experience by asking your audience questions. If you have social features, like commenting, invite them to share their answers. If it's a media-only experience, consider prompts like "write your answer down" to get people actively involved.
Challenges are popular selling tools in the marketing world. Use your schedule live streams to host challenges and announce winners. Is everyone learning about DEI? How about 30 days to a more inclusive team-- with small actions and tips for live streamed at the start of each week for the month?
Set your scene
Ninja's LEDs sparked an entire movement. Gamers' bedrooms around the word are now lit up with color themes. But the lesson isn't go all out with LEDs (even though I just bought a PC with RGBs and a LED office light that changes colors). The lesson is-- pay attention to your surroundings. Minimize clutter. Get the focus on the important things. If you have access to Masterclass, they also have some phenomenal sets for their presenters-- technically not a live stream, but still a great example of sophisticated sets.
Direct them to the next step
Is there a site you want them to log on to? Show a QR code and a link. Is there an activity you want them to sign up for? Remind them to check out the sign up sheet. Is there something you want them to start doing in their work? Give them a call to action.
Tap your Internal Influencers
Who do people want to hear from? When you're starting your live stream efforts, you'll have to build momentum. Tag in people who can get views. Not sure how to identify those folks? Check out this post from the Your ID blog.
Tools You Can Use
Live streaming can be done simply with your phone and the right applications, or you can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars creating sophisticated set ups for production with expensive video, audio, and encoding equipment.
If you're reading this, you're probably in the early days, and I'd recommend keeping it simple-- either use a smartphone with high quality video or invest in a middle of the road consumer grade set up.
I personally use a*:
lighting from Neewer (can only find sets of two now, but I have a three point system)
Streamyard for setting up the production
I recently purchased, but have not yet tested*:
Govee Lyra light for backlighting (and keeping my desk well lit during the day)
To stream the content internally, we use Workplace by Meta. For external use, we do a bit with Facebook and Instagram Live. Streamyard will be adding direct links this year, and I am looking forward to using that feature.
If you're looking for some simple software to produce your livestream content, I can also recommend:
OBS (open source and free, more bells and whistles, higher learning curve)
eCamm (for Mac only)
Streamyard (for PC only)
Finally, while this isn't a technological tool, it's always helpful to have a Live Producer. While you certainly can do a live stream by yourself with the basic tools, it's a clunky experience. The presenter can't focus on speaking to the audience. They have to worry about buttons and having everything in the right place at the right time. If you have a team member who can help-- virtual assistants are great for this kind of thing-- it can really help the presenter focus on creating the best experience for the viewers.
*Note: These are affiliate links, and Your ID may receive some payment should you choose to purchase one of these items. There will be no additional cost to you.
Ready to leverage live streams for L&D?
Let's talk about a social learning strategy that enables your business to scale.