Mastering the Art of Live Streaming

Getting pressure from the boss to do a Facebook Live or debating whether to live webcast a meeting or an annual event?

The literature is packed with the benefits of live streaming. These range from reaching wider audiences, to cutting travel cost, to increasing productivity, being environmentally friendly and creating a sense of urgency.

Over the last years, we’ve seen how live streaming from a handheld device has “democratized” what was once the monopoly of major TV networks.

For those of us who thought this was a piece of cake, we soon realized that to run a highly effective live streaming gig, we need to properly plan our event and master the use of our hand-held device. And like any other communication activity, we need to figure out:

  • Who the live streaming is for (the audience) and who will be conducting it (the anchor)
  • What is the content and what is the call to action
  • Where (on which platforms(s)) will we be streaming? Does our audience have access to these platforms or the Internet?
  • When will it happen (time and date) and the duration
  • How we will be doing it (with hand-held device or “proper” equipment, in a studio-like setup or outdoors)


When you opt to live stream an event or do a Facebook Live, take a minute to consider the following:

Prep for the event

  • Choose a topic that resonates with your audience
  • Provide teasers before the event to excite your audience
  • Come up with a memorable hashtag. Even better, use an existing one that is well-consolidated
  • Figure out equipment to be used
  • Prep for the event and prep our guest(s). There is nothing worse than watching a live event where the master of ceremony is improvising and the guest is all over the place.
  • Remember, hardly anyone will watch a full day conference on-line. Folks will tune in and out. Make sure you make your conference agenda available on-line and keep to schedule so that people can tune in as appropriate

Audience engagement

  • Promote the live stream on social media channels and on-line
  • Start engaging with the audience by making event material available on-line
  • Ask your keynote speakers and other influencers to “advertise” for your event and use them as influencer to create a buzz
  • Encourage the virtual audience to post their questions on social media channels using the event hashtag and bring their questions to the room

If you are running a Facebook Live or Periscope or SnapChat, keep it short and sweet and make it fun. Use yourself as a benchmark, will you watch a 90 minute Facebook Live or prefer to watch a 90-second one?

After the event, make the recording available and reach out to your audience to find out what worked well and what needs to be improved for next time.

If live streaming does not cut it for you, do not feel obliged to use it. It is much better to post a well-packaged video than try and do a clumsy live stream.

Should you do a live stream, please use this space and share your experience. Good luck.



Image credit: Czuba_Artur

Roxanna Samii

Chief Digital Strategy at UN Environment

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