Just about all TV news reporters and anchors remember their first live shot. It's both thrilling and terrifying to know that what you're saying into the microphone is being transmitted instantly into thousands of homes for viewers to see. There's no do-overs.
Here are some tips I've learned and am still working on as a reporter in my first job.
Plan How You Want to Use Your Live Shot
While you can't control everything that happens the moment you "go live", you can decide how being live will improve your story.
For breaking news, let whatever is happening behind you be the main part of the focus. Tell and show what is happening.
For events, be prepared for anything to happen and always have extra facts and information in your pocket. Sometimes events don't go as planned but attest you will have a backup.
Talk in an Outline Format During Your Live Shot
Organizing what you want to say is critical in delivering a smooth live shot. Beginners will try to memorize every word, which is dangerous. Forget one tiny part of information and you'll stumble through the rest of your report, or worse, freeze on air without anything to say.
It's better to talk in an outline format. Think of bullet points you want to hit, as if you were giving a PowerPoint presentation to your audience. Hopefully, the words will then naturally fall into place.
If You Stumble in Your Live Shot, Keep Going
We all stumble occasionally when we talk with friends or family, so it's inevitable that you will sometimes stumble while talking during a live shot. Recovery is key because you can't simply start over.
Think of what you do when you stumble on a word in real life. You likely say the word correctly, then continue speaking.
No big deal and no one remembers your brief verbal hiccup.
Strive for a natural recovery in your live shot.
Wrap Up Your Live Shot and Push the Story Forward
The perfect live shot doesn't deserve to wither in its final moments. That's why you must also plan out what you will say at the end, because a good wrap-up is just as important as a good start.