Live and let Live

Updated: Apr 19, 2020, 13:41 IST | Aastha Atray Banan | Mumbai

During the lockdown, Instagram is all about going Live. We get the best in the business to tell you how to get the maximum effect with minimum stress

It's the time to stay at home, but that shouldn't stop you from flaunting your skills, and doing it in real time. Whether it's reciting poetry, singing a tune, or just talking about a skill or entrepreneurship idea—Instagram users are using the Live function to keep themselves relevant and entertaining. If you have a skill and don't know how and why you should go Live, listen in to four experts who are showing you the ropes.

'It's cool to show yourself off'

Shaan Khanna, founder, Networking Now India, @networkingnowindia

Khanna goes Live every day, and there is much to learn—how to power dress, how to eat smart during quarantine, or how to host like a boss. She even throws in dance lessons. Her well connected network makes sure she always has a guest. "The messages I've received have been amazing. People are saying they put a reminder and tune is every day at 3 pm to learn something new. I've tried to cover people from all walks of life and talk about a range of subjects to help entrepreneurs learn from each other." She now sees this as a new career opportunity. "I hope I can convert it into an entrepreneur chat show when things are back
to normal."

Top tips
. Don't let the answers and topic fall flat. Always interject if you feel it's getting boring.
. Since it's live and you're probably at home, it's nice to show off some of your own stuff—maybe your work, room, work space. It becomes more personal for your followers.
. 30-35 mins is a good duration.

'Let your audience join you'

Sushant Divgik

Sushant Divgikr, singer and performer, @sushantdivgikr

Divgikr is no stranger to performing. He is lead singer of the band Top Storey and one of India's most popular gay activists. He chats with his followers and sometimes, even obliges them with a song. "What has worked for me is that I reply or at least try and reply to each and every message. If I don't sing, then that will be doomsday."

Top tips
. Make sure you intimate your followers about the time you're going to go live and ask people to tune in, well in advance. And remind them.
. Evenings are best from
6 pm to 8 pm.
. You can also ask people to feature in your Live and accept requests or send requests to those watching.

'Let it be a conversation, not monologue'

Ankit Vengurlekar

Ankit Vengurlekar, tech expert, @gadgetwala

Vengurlekar has been keeping people on his feed entertained by hosting his friends on his Lives. Be it a musician or mental health expert, he has tried to maintain a balance between what matters and what's plain fun. "You've got to be a fun person to have fun on a Live stream. This may be slightly difficult to engineer, if you aren't, but jokes apart, prepare what you want to talk about beforehand. Also remember, to keep acknowledging your audience. Make it a conversation, not a monologue." For Vengurlekar, who has been doing this for a decade, it's personally most entertaining to watch fitness content creators. "I'm also watching a ton of singers and artistes do live acoustic singing sessions. It's like having a private concert, what's not to love! With news being so stressful, this is how I unwind."

Top tips
. If you're going to have a guest, brief them beforehand and discuss the conversation flow.
Read out names of followers who are tuning in, ask them how they are doing and involve them in the conversation.
. Technically, ensure the phone is steady, don't hold it in your hand; you'll tire and it will shake. Use a table, books, for support. Try and keep the phone camera at eye level, low-angle frames look unflattering. Use a good mic, audio is as important as video.
. Dress up, be well-groomed. Choose a well-lit frame.
. Ensure you have a good quality and stable internet connection. Three to five Mbps.
. Choose a time convenient for you, but late evenings work best since most folks have wrapped up dinner and are scrolling through their Insta/FB/YT feeds.

'Have something unique to offer'

Nirmika Singh

Nirmika Singh, writer/poet, @nirmika

Nirmika Singh has been going Live every evening at 5 pm. The poet has a series called Aur Suno, and either recites her own poems, or talks of her favourite writers and reads them out. "Since poetry is essentially a performance art, bringing the #AurSuno series in a Live environment lends it a mehfil feel, which has been appreciated."

Top tips
. You should do a Live if you have something unique to offer.
. The audio must be good. Turn off the fans if needed.
. Think about what the takeaway for the audience is.
. Conduct informal polls before going Live to see what your followers want.
. Avoid rambling.
. Consistency is key. I have been keeping at it daily and it takes effort and discipline, but it's worth it. Creating a unique style (my sarees, the style of reciting) creates a sort of everyday anticipation.

Other absolute must-watch Lives

Miley Cyrus

Everyone from John Mayer, John Legend, Miley Cyrus and even the elusive Chris Martin have been going Live. Cyrus does a show every day, and has called her friends Demi Lovato and Reese Witherspoon on it. And the legendary composer Andrew Lloyd Webber takes requests
on his Live!

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