Teleprompter Training – 10 Tips for How to Use a Teleprompter

If you’ve ever had to deliver a statement or script to camera, then you’ll know that nailing the perfect presentation can be an exercise in frustration. We’ve seen many corporate professionals, internet entrepreneurs and business owners waste valuable hours just not getting it right.

That’s why we think the teleprompter is such a valuable piece of equipment, both in the studio and on location. By using a teleprompter you can assure that those key messages are professionally delivered, time after time, giving your production a more polished broadcast look.

Don’t get me wrong . . . there are some great presenters who can deliver sales presentations, corporate messages and new product demonstrations in a manner that seems ‘off-the-cuff’ to many people. You may even be one of them. But with a little preperation, the combination of ad-lib and a teleprompter can turn a so-so presentation into a great presentation.

Here’s 10 tips on how to improve your performance:

  1. Writing Your Script

    Most importantly, write your script to be spoken, not read. Keep in mind that your audience will hear your words rather than see them, so it’s important to write in a way that when spoken it sounds natural. For example:

    Use we’ve . . . not we have
    Use haven’t . . . not have not

    Generally speaking it’s also easier to read a script that’s written in capitals and lower case rather than all in capitals. And write out numbers in full. Write one thousand four hundred and sixty . . . not 1,460.

  2. Practice, Practice and More Practice

    There’s no substitute for practice. The more you practice and personalize the text, the more you’ll put meaning to the words.

    It’s also very important to practice aloud. See just how the words roll off your tongue, and if necessary make changes to the text that will make it easier for you to deliver.

  3. Passion and Energy

    Give your performance passion by upping the energy. Video squashes your energy level. What seems like ‘over the top’ translates wonderfully onto the screen. So ‘turn yourself up’ . . . not in volume, but in emotion, and instantly become more interesting and appealing to watch.

  4. Smile!

    Don’t forget to smile. Smiling is perhaps the simplest way to connect with your audience. The warmth of a smile is a must at the very least at the begining and very end of your performance.

    A smile can also be used throughout the delivery, almost regardless of the subject matter, as though you’re telling a funny story. A smile creates an attitude that’s captivating to watch, although of course there may be some occassions when a smile is not appropriate – you need to guage your audience on that score.

  5. Maintain Eye Contact

    The magic of the teleprompter is that it enables you to look directly into the camera lens, creating the illusion of eye contact with your audience. Take full advantage of this by not looking away. Your continuous gaze really does engage your audience. Eye movements away from the camera can make you look a little bit ‘shifty’.

  6. Use Non Verbal Communication

    Appropriate facial expressions and hand gestures are critical to your performance. Loosen up . . . there’s nothing more distracting to an audience than a ‘rabbit caught in the headlights’ – the person who is frozen except for their moving lips delivering a speech.

    Use gestures and expressions to amplify your words, stress important points to show that you are passionate about what you’re saying. And move your head . . . but not too much!

  7. Don’t Shout

    This is something that radio teaches you . . . address your presentation to just one person. Even if the tape will be watched by a massive audience, your intention should be to connect with each person individually, as though you were speaking only to them.

  8. Don’t Follow the Teleprompter

    Your teleprompter operator is trained to follow you, so deliver your speech with pacing that’s appropriate and comfortable for you. Be confident that the words will always be there. When you pause or even improvise (go off script) your next word will be there on the teleprompter, waiting for you to pick it up.

  9. Don’t Panic

    For many people, the studio or being confronted by their camera and having to perform, can act like a full frontal lobotomy . . . resulting in the loss of speech and all reasonable thought.

  10. Enjoy

    Enjoy the experience . . . after all, it’s only a video!


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