Streaming might look like an easy job, but anyone who has ever tried it knows that it comes with many challenges. One of the hardest things for new streamers to master is the ability to focus on the game they’re playing while simultaneously responding to the chat. This is especially difficult for people who have a hard time with multitasking, like neurodivergent streamers.. So how can you play your game but still be a good host to viewers watching your stream? Check out our list of ideas below.
Very few people are good at streaming right off the bat. Even if you have experience talking to the camera through YouTube or a similar social media site, talking to a live audience is a completely different story. The ability to multitask doesn’t come easy to some people, and many decide to give up on streaming (or not even try) because they think they can’t do it.
However, multitasking is a skill that can be developed with time and practice. Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t performing as well as you’d like when first starting out. In another article, we talked about recording streams as a way of checking your growth as a streamer. Try analyzing your recordings to see where you can make improvements, as well as to measure your progress. With time, you’ll likely find a balance between gaming and responding to your chat.
Though anyone can improve their multitasking skills to some degree, for certain people (especially those who are neurodiverse), multitasking is counterintuitive. Rather than force yourself to do something that doesn’t work for you, you can simply choose not to respond to your chat or alerts. Try adding disclaimers to your “About” page as well as timed alerts in chat from Streamlabs Cloudbot explaining that you can’t respond while you’re gaming. If you’re upfront and honest with your viewers, you’ll most likely find them to be incredibly supportive.
While it’s true that most streams typically have some back and forth between the streamer and the viewers, there are many streamers who simply don’t (or can’t) respond to their chat. If you’ve hopped into any stream with a few thousand people watching, you’ll know that the chat flies by so fast, it’s basically impossible for the streamer to respond to most comments. Since you won’t have this issue when you’re first starting out, a disclaimer is necessary to convey to viewers that you’re not ignoring them.
If you choose not to read your chat, things may get a little quiet on your stream. People who pop into your chat for the first time aren’t likely to stick around if things are dead silent. To prevent this, try narrating your moves or sharing your thought process aloud. Again, don’t be discouraged if this doesn’t come naturally to you at first. With time, it will get easier.
Narrating your gameplay can provide value to your audience—you don’t need to have action-packed, high-energy streams to draw a crowd. Viewers will be interested to hear why you selected a certain weapon or followed a specific route. Who knows? They might even apply your strategies to their own gameplay.
Mods are the unsung heroes of the streaming world, often doing their jobs for neither payment nor glory. Not only do mods kick out bad guys and spammers, they’re great at keeping the conversation going in chat. Though mods typically operate mostly behind the scenes in order to let the streamer shine, you can instruct them to play more active roles. Mods can welcome new chatters to the stream, thank viewers on your behalf when they follow, sub, or donate (though you should also thank them yourself—more on that shortly), and even provide anecdotes regarding you or your gameplay to interested viewers.
Streamers usually start accepting applications for volunteer mods once their channel picks up a bit of traffic, so start advertising sooner rather than later. You can always recruit a helpful friend or family member too, as the mod position involves a lot of trust, particularly on the streamer’s part. Good mods will allow you to do what you do best, so be sure to take advantage of their incredible skills.
Rather than try to keep up with your chat, you can schedule breaks during your stream to do a quick read-through and respond to questions or comments. Breaks are also a good time to give thanks to anyone who has followed, subbed, or donated. Some streamers have a tendency to quickly rattle off thanks in the same tone that they’d read their grocery list, which can leave viewers feeling unappreciated. Giving a few words of genuine gratitude will go a long way with your audience.
If sorting through your chat’s backlog seems like a daunting task, don’t be afraid to ask your mods for help. Your mods can keep a running list of questions or conversation topics and give you a quick recap during your break. This way, you’ll spend less time scrolling and more time talking with your audience before you get back in the game.
Another way to keep your streams interesting while minimizing the amount of work on your part is to collaborate with another streamer. If you use Streamlabs Collab Cam, you can host a player or fellow streamer (or several) with ease. Streaming co-op or pvp gameplay will allow you to keep the conversation focused on the game while still providing an entertaining experience for your viewers. By hosting guests on your stream, you can have fun and let the conversation flow naturally.
As you can see, there are a lot of different ways to stream that don’t involve constant back and forth between you and your chat. Try a few of the strategies we recommended today and make adjustments as needed. As the streamer, viewers will follow your lead if you tell them that you can’t always respond when you’re focused on your game. Even if you don’t follow the typical streaming etiquette that others do, your viewers will most likely be just fine with that.