Improving Speech and Talking to an Empty Chat

The majority of first-time streamers will have an empty chat and it is hard to learn to talk to an “empty chat.” Although your chat and community are real people, it’s a different kind of social interaction that requires practice.

Kiratze wrote an in-depth guide about how to improve your speech and talking while in an empty room. Believe it or not, speaking properly to an empty room is a skill that many new streamers don’t realize they need to practice.

 

Read the full post on Reddit or keep reading here:

~Guide to Speech Improvement and the Monologue Mindset~

1. Confidence

Confidence is the main thing that will be driving your skill, not only as a speaker but a streamer. People are naturally attracted to others with confidence, and when it comes to speaking, a confident speaker can draw people in.

The common phrase “Fake it till you make it” applies here, especially to those who are a bit more anxious or shy. Not everyone is confident, and some people just can’t get over that, but you can’t get into streaming without expecting some hard work. Faking confidence can help build real confidence.

So how do we become more confident? Here are some things to get you started on:

  • Posture/Body Language – It’s easy to start to slouch when spending so much time on the computer. Not only is it healthy to work on a good posture, but it also adds to confidence! Sit up, head up, shoulders back, etc. makes you feel more confident. (Visit THIS PAGE for a great and extensive guide on posture). Additionally, adding body movement to emphasize what you’re saying can help you drive certain points towards your viewers. Streaming is a visual thing, and a streamer who is more dynamic is more interesting to view than someone static. When we get nervous, we get tense, and it can show through our body language. Actively engaging in proper posture also engages our mind more and streaming is a very energy demanding task so you’ll be able to focus more on chat/gaming by sitting up rather than leaning back in your chair.
  • Keep a log of successes – Too much are new streamers focusing on that viewer or follower count. It can lead to feelings of failure or going nowhere. Try to shift that focus on the numbers to a more positive outlook! Whenever you have a great moment while¬†streaming, make a note of it, physical or mental. Doesn’t matter how big it is whether it’s someone stopping by and talking in chat for a bit, or you gained one follower for the stream. Feel free to do this out of streaming as well. Overall positivity in your life is good to increase!
  • Smile! – The physical act of smiling helps us feel better! There are many health benefits to laughing, but it also makes you more attractive (oh my). As viewers, we can tell when a streamer isn’t having a good time, and it doesn’t make it appealing at times. But walk into a stream, and that streamer is smiling, laughing, having a great time playing his/her game? You’ll want to keep watching! A smile can help change not only your mood but your viewers and happy viewers = happy streamers. Even if you don’t stream with a webcam still smile. You’d be surprised as to how it can improve your commentary as well.

Don’t just practice these things during the stream. Confidence is great on AND off stream! It also helps with my next topic:

2. Enunciation/Diction

As someone who used to be quite the mumbler, this is one of the main reasons I started streaming, and it’s helped a ton. Just as speaking confidently is important to attract an audience, as entertainers, we need to be clear as well. When trying to talk to an empty room, it doesn’t matter if you can keep talking nonstop, if people can’t understand you, they’re not going to want to stick around to decipher your speech.

Here are some ways to improve your speech:

  • Listen to yourself – Recording your voice and hearing how you sound to others is the first step to figuring out what parts of your speech need improvement; whether it’s speed, clarity, tone, etc., it’s hard to do when you’re listening to yourself in your head. We all sound differently to ourselves then how others hear us. Recording yourself reading a short story, a monolog, or small passages from your favorite book can help pinpoint things to work on.
  • Tongue Twisters! – Fun to do, and are a great warmup to make sure you’ll end up speaking clearer. Google some tongue twisters, preferably the ones that utilize all the letters of the alphabet. Focus on speaking clearly, and slowly work to speed afterward. That being said, speed isn’t everything!
  • Slow down – For those not used to speaking in front of others, we can get nervous and start speeding up our speech without realizing it. Speed can be our number one enemy to incoherent speech. Clear speech or “diction” starts with slowing down and making sure you’re properly enunciating each word. Now, this doesn’t mean slow it to a crawl but make an effort to take your time and get your message out clearly, and it can improve significantly. Plenty of vocal exercises for this on Google!
  • Clarity/Loudness + Mic Tests – Mumbling can occur without you realizing it. If you’re a bit anxious/shy or not used to speaking to an empty room, you might be quieter than you realize. It can help to speak a little louder than normal. Shouldn’t¬†yell into the mic but try and project your voice a little past your monitor rather than just speaking at the mic. Also, for all that is holy, please do tests with your mic before your stream. Whenever you stream a new game; test on a recording and adjust levels where need be. First impressions are important and if someone walks into your channel and hears you peaking the mic or can barely hear you, it’s very unlikely they’ll stay. Also, Noise Gates are your friend.

3. Talking to/Entertaining an Empty Room

Probably one of the hardest things to start doing as a new streamer. It’s a hard concept to grasp as it is a weird feeling talking to no-one and keeping up a monolog. For most people, it’s difficult to keep up. Your viewers (or maybe lack thereof) aren’t mind readers. Learning to speak what’s on your mind is the first step to entertaining an empty room.

Here are some things I recommend to transition into this “Monolog mindset.”

  • Let’s Plays – Let’s Plays is an excellent way to practice talking to yourself and thinking out loud. Without any chat, you’re forced to keep the “conversation” going and stay entertaining purely by your own drive. It’s also a much better way to develop the skill since making a 15-30 minute video is easier than trying to go right out of the gate and speak to an empty room for 3+ hours. Additionally, YouTube is another great source of content to direct your Twitch viewers too in the future!
  • Find your strengths – We all have something we’re passionate about and can talk about for hours on end. Finding your topical strengths can help keep the ball rolling. Enjoy being very detailed/in-depth about games? Maybe talk about your thought process on strategies and why you’re doing X or Y. Or maybe you are great at telling stories? Find opportunities to go off and tell some stories, whether they’re from personal experiences or maybe just an awesome tale! Even writing down some brief topics before your streams can be good practice for some. These can be stickied as notes on your monitor as backups in case you need something spontaneous to talk about.
  • Assume the room is full – Whether you realize it or not, it’s likely people come in and out of your stream multiple times. The chances of them staying increase significantly if you’re in the middle of talking even if it’s just for the simple fact they’re curious as to what you have to say. I know when I stop by a channel and see someone streaming deadpan, with no talking at all; it’s very unlikely I’ll stick around. That being said, don’t burn yourself out by talking non-stop. It’s perfectly fine to take small breaks from talking. Also don’t be worried if people STOP talking. I’ve had 30+ viewer streams where the chat slowly grinds to a slow crawl. Many lurkers just want to lurk. It’s all good.
  • Answer your own questions/The 5 Ws – This helps to engage yourself in speaking your mind. Using “Who? What? When? Where? Why?” when applicable can get you going much easier as opposed to just thinking of things on the spot. It gives you a focal point to jumpstart a conversation with yourself. Even if you start to go off on some random tangent, it’s gotten you going. Feel free to answer yourself, when no one does. For example, I regularly ask how my viewers days are going. Even if no one replies (which happens often) I’ll just reply with how my day was going, and it sometimes leads to going off on some random story about my day. At the end of the day, it can keep you talking.
  • Stay energized – Eat properly before the stream and make sure to take breaks. Streaming can be quite draining and even more-so when you’re the only one to keep that energy up. Trying to stream on an empty stomach or when you’re super tired means a lesser quality stream. Everyone handles it differently, but from personal experience, I just get un-talkative when I’m hungry. This point can also relate back to confidence; a more energetic, confident streamer is more likely to hold viewers interest than someone who’s not.
  • Voice Acting/Emotion – It’s perfect for those who find they’re a bit deadpan in their VODs (which I urge people to look at after their stream is over so they can critique themselves). It gets you out of your comfort zone a little bit and also exercises your vocal range. I recommend people give it a shot! I frequent website such as BTVA and Casting Call Club for auditions.

Conclusion

To reiterate, none of this stuff will get you viewers instantly, nor does it guarantee stream improvement; at the end of the day, streaming isn’t for everyone. That being said, these skills are building blocks to entertain your potential/current viewers and are useful outside of streaming for everyday use so hopefully some of you got something out of this.