Ten Tips On How To Get Over The Fear Of Going Live On Social Media

4 Min Read

Have you noticed how more than ever — as we look for ways to safely socialize at a distance — people are going "live" on their Instagram or Facebook? Whether for personal reasons or business, it's a big fear for a lot of us. I was terrified too, until I bit the bullet and finally clicked that "live" button. Turns out, it's not as scary as I thought! So I decided to put together a few tips that I thought might be helpful for getting over that anxiety and fear.

1. Look Good To Feel Good

Planning helps — and it also helps you stay confident.

First things first, we all know that when we are looking our best, we in turn feel better and are more confident. So take the time to ensure you're looking and feeling your best before even getting close to that camera.

2. Lighting And Location

These are super important. Now let's set the scene. Pick a cute, decorated area of your home that shows off your personality, preferably next to a window. Even grabbing a houseplant to have in your backdrop can be a nice splash of color! I recommend going "live" during the late afternoon for the best lighting. Natural light is always the best on phone screens. If you have a ring-light by all means, bust it out and set it up! And if you're serious and want to take your Instagram game to the next level, invest in one.

3. Friends

Whether you have a friend join the conversion or a dedicated guest, having that support can make things more comfortable — especially in the beginning of your "live" career. (Reassure them it's not that scary!)

4. Research

No matter who you're going live with, even if it's a friend, do your due diligence and research them. You want to give them a gracious (and informed) intro. You'll want to be able to hype them up — they are your incredible guest, after all! The more research you do the less "caught off guard" you'll be, and the more professional you'll come across, and the more you'll have to gab about. It adds to the comfort level when you're well prepared.

5. Keep It Quick

Live streams can get boring super quickly. You've got one shot to grab the attention of your audience while live. My advice is to make it quick. Fifteen minutes, twenty tops! Go in with a plan, strategy, or even a script. Quality over quantity!

6. Mute 'Em If You Don't Want 'Em

The topic of "comments" could be the subject of an entire article. But for now, as it relates to this specific topic, if you don't want to see them or they become distracting to you, "mute" the comments. I had to learn this the hard way, so trust me. The bottom line is that there is a full spectrum of personalities out there and you should always expect some of the less-favorable types to join. So, if you prefer to not have that element in your live stream, just hit "mute comments".

7. Pin It

Another aspect of comments is being able to pin them. My recommendation is: before you go live, type out your room subject and copy it to your clipboard. Then "paste" it as a comment as soon as you go live. Once you've posted that comment as being the "Room Subject," hold down on the comment to "pin it." This lets everyone know what's happening and can even act as a call to action!

8. Share

Don't forget to save and share when exiting the live stream. Follow up with a new post or story thanking everyone that joined you. And if you had a guest, shout them out again while letting everyone know that it's available for 24 hours! From there, you can add your live session to IGTV as long as it's not too long. Get the most mileage out of it while you can!

9. Planning

This has been touched on in a couple of the prior points, but I'm going to expand on it here. Have you ever asked yourself: How do they make it look so easy? Everyday, we watch our favorite people on Instagram and Facebook looking confident, speaking clearly, and looking cool. But we've also seen people staring blankly at the camera saying, "Ask me some questions guys" over and over. Planning helps — and it also helps you stay confident. Put together a script or rough outline of your intro, some questions you might want to ask, and talking points you want to touch on. It will be worth the time. Trust me. And make sure your device is fully charged!

10. No Shame In A Burner Account

This is a great way to test your backdrop, lighting, set up, script, pinning comments, and more without the added pressure of figuring it all out in front of your followers. Practice makes perfect! Reviewing everything in front of a camera is a great way to build yourself up, see what's working, get more comfortable, and edit your ideas. From there, you can ask a friend to join you for a test run to help you gradually meet your goals!


I was terrified too, until I bit the bullet and finally clicked that "live" button.

Social Media is here to stay and more powerful than ever with multiple platforms to navigate. And for business owners, it can be a tool that can help take your brand to the next level—even to the top. So embrace each one and everything they have to offer. Ready to click that LIVE button? If it helps, imagine me holding your hand off-camera to soothe your unnecessary fear! Go!

5 Min Read

Judge Tanya Acker On Overcoming Racial Barriers And Her Rise To The Top

You may recognize Judge, Tanya Acker, from her political and legal commentary on different networks and shows like Good Morning America, The Talk, Wendy Williams, CNN Reports or The Insider. Acker is more than an experienced commentator. She is also a Judge on the fifth season of Emmy nominated CBS show, Hot Bench.

The show, created by Judge Judy, is a new take on the court genre. Alongside Acker, are two other judges: Patricia DiMango and Michael Corriero. Together the three-panel judges take viewers inside the courtroom and into their chambers. “I feel like my responsibility on the show is, to be honest, fair, [and] to try and give people a just and equitable result," Acker says. She is accomplished, honest and especially passionate about her career. In fact, Acker likes the fact that she is able to help people solve problems. “I think that efficient ways of solving disputes are really at the core of modern life.

“We are a very diverse community [with] different values, backgrounds [and] beliefs. It's inevitable that we're going to find ourselves in some conflicts. I enjoy being a part of a process where you can help resolve the conflicts and diffuse them," she explains.

Acker's career has been built around key moments and professional experiences in her life. Particularly, her time working right after college impacted the type of legal work she takes on now.

Shaping Her Career

Acker didn't foresee doing this kind of work on television when she was in college at either Howard University or Yale Law. “I was really open in college about what would happen next," Acker comments. “In fact, I deliberately chose a major (English) that wouldn't lock me into anything [because] I wanted to keep all of my options open." Her inevitable success on the show and throughout her career is an example of that. In fact, after graduating from Yale, Acker served as a judicial law clerk to Judge Dorothy Nelson who sits on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

It was not only her first job out of law school but also one of the formative experiences of her professional life. “[Judge Nelson is] certainly, if not my most important professional influence," Acker says. “She is really the living embodiment of justice, fairness, and believes in being faithful to the letter and the spirit of the law," she exclaims. “She delivers it all with a lot of love." Judge Nelson is still on the bench and is continuing to work through her Foundation: The Western Justice Center in Pasadena, California, where Acker serves on the board. The foundation helps people seeking alternative ways of resolving their disputes instead of going to court.

"I enjoy being a part of a process where you can help resolve the conflicts and diffuse them," she explains.

“It was important to her to try and create platforms for people to resolve conflict outside of court because court takes a long time," Acker explains. “I'm proud to be a part of that work and to sit on that board."

After her clerkship, she was awarded a Bristow Fellowship and continued building her career. Outside of the fellowship, Acker's legal work incorporated a broad variety of matters from civil litigation, constitutional cases, business counseling, and advising. One of her most memorable moments was representing a group of homeless people against the city. “They were being fought for vagrancy and our defense was, they had no place to go," she shares.

As part of her pro bono work, Acker was awarded the ACLU's First Amendment Award for her success with the case. Though, she has a hard time choosing from one of many memorable moments on Hot Bench. Acker does share a few of the things that matter to her. “Our show is really drawn from a cross-section of courtrooms across America and the chance to engage with such a diverse group of people really means a lot to me," she discusses.

How Did Acker Become A Judge?

In addition to Judge Nelson, Judge Judy is certainly among her top professional influences. “I think it's incredible [and] I feel very lucky that my professional career has been bookended by these incredible judges," she acclaims. “I've really learned a lot from Judy about this job, doing this kind of job on television." Before Acker was selected for Hot Bench, she hadn't been a judge. It was Judge Judy who recommended that she get some experience. Acker briefly comments on her first experience as a temporary judge on a volunteer basis in traffic court. “I was happy to be able to have the chance to kind of get a feel for it before we started doing the show," she comments. “Judy is a wonderful, kind, generous person [and] she's taught me quite a lot. I feel lucky."

Judge Acker in white pantsuit with her dog. Photo Courtesy of Annie Shak.

Acker's Time Away From Home

Outside of Hot Bench, Acker took recent trips to Haiti and Alabama. They were memorable and meaningful.

Haiti, in particular, was the first trip she excitedly talks about. She did some work there in an orphanage as part of LOVE Takes Root, an organization that is driven to help children around the world whether it's basic aid or education. “Haiti has a special place in my heart," she began. “As a person who's descended from enslaved people, I have a lot of honor and reverence for a country that threw off the shackles of slavery."

She was intrigued by the history of Haiti. Especially regarding the communities, corrupt government and natural disasters. “They really had to endure a lot, but I tell you this when I was there, I saw people who were more elegant, dignified, gracious and generous as any group of people I've ever met anywhere in the world," she goes on. “I think it left me with was a strong sense of how you can be graceful and elegant under fire." Acker is optimistic about the country's overall growth and success.

“[Judge Nelson is] certainly, if not my most important professional influence," Acker says. “She is really the living embodiment of justice, fairness, and believes in being faithful to the letter and the spirit of the law."

“There are certainly times when people treated me differently or made assumptions about me because I was a black woman," Acker says. “I've got it much better, but that doesn't mean it's perfect...it certainly isn't, but you just have to keep it moving."

Her other trip was different in more ways than one. She traveled there for the first time with her mother as part of a get out to vote effort, that Alabama's First black House Minority Leader, Anthony Daniels was organizing. “It was incredible to take that trip with her [and] I've got to tell you, the South of today is not the South of my mother's upbringing," she explains. Originally from Mississippi, Acker's mother hasn't been back in the South since 1952. “Every place has a ways to go, but it was a really exciting trip [and] it was nice for me to connect with that part of the country and that part of my history."

Overcoming Racial Barriers

As a black woman, Acker has certainly faced challenges based on her race and gender. But it doesn't define who she is or what she can accomplish. “There are certainly times when people treated me differently or made assumptions about me because I was a black woman," she says. “There's no sort of barrier that someone would attempt to impose upon me that they didn't attempt to impose on my mother, grandmother or great-grandmother." In a space where disparity is sometimes apparent, she recognizes that there is no barrier someone would try to impose on her that they didn't attempt to impose on her mother or grandmothers. “I've got it much better, but that doesn't mean it's perfect...it certainly isn't, but you just have to keep it moving," Acker states. The conversation continues truthfully and seriously. Acker shares what it can be like for black women, specifically. “I think we're underestimated and we can be disrespected, whereas other folks are allowed the freedom to enjoy a full range of emotions and feelings," she articulates.

At times black women are often restricted from expressing themselves. “If someone wants to make an assumption or jump to a conclusion about me because of my race or gender, that's on them, but their assumptions aren't going to define me," Acker declares. “If something makes me angry or happy I will express that and if someone wants to caricature me, that's their pigeonholing; that's not my problem." A lifelong lesson she learned and shared is to not let other people define who you are. It is one of three bits of wisdom.

Three Pieces Of Advice From Judge Acker

The Power Of Self-awareness

“It's really important that you have a really firm sense of what you want to do and be, and how you're moving in the world because when people try to sway you, judge you or steer you off course you've got to have some basis for getting back on track."

Know Your Support System

“Have a strong community of people who you trust, love and who love you," she advises. “But also learn to love and trust yourself because sometimes it's your own voice that can provide you the most comfort or solace in something."

Learn From Your Experiences

“Trust yourself. Take care of yourself. Don't be too hard on yourself. Be honest with yourself.

“There are times when it's not enough to say this is who I am. Take it or leave it. Sometimes we've got things that we need to work on, change or improve upon," she concludes.

Acker stands out not only because of her accomplishments, but the way she views certain aspects of her life. These days, she's comfortable accepting what makes her different. “I think there's a time when you're younger when conformity feels comfortable, [but] I'm comfortable these days not conforming," she laughs. She enjoys being a decision maker and helping people work through it on Hot Bench.

This article was originally published May 15, 2019.