Teleprompters are a great tool for speakers to use during big presentations or filming sessions. They take away some of the stress of trying to remember lines during public speaking and are effective when used correctly. If you’re preparing to film a video using a teleprompter for the first time, try these helpful tips for working with teleprompters.
Use the Proper Setup
The first step to successfully using a teleprompter is to start with the right setup. Place the teleprompter at least six feet away from the subject to make sure the movement of their eyes as they read is unnoticeable. Adjust the teleprompter’s height and distance to ensure that the subject has a good sightline. If you’re using lights, audio equipment, or anything else while filming, decide where the teleprompter will go before filming begins.
Practice Before Filming
You might think that if you’re using a teleprompter while speaking, there’s no need to practice your part beforehand. On the contrary, practicing before filming is extremely important! Get a copy of the script to read before filming. A teleprompter only shows you a small portion of the script at a time, so reading the script prior to filming will help you to know what comes next. In addition, practicing your part before filming will help you to feel more confident and sound more natural while speaking.
Set Your Pace
A teleprompter works by scrolling a script across the screen as the subject speaks. That scrolling can be sped up or slowed down to match the subject’s speaking speed. It’s important for both teleprompter operators and speakers to remember the speaker should be the one to set the pace, while the teleprompter operator’s job is to match the scrolling to that pace.
Remember Eye Contact
When you’re focused on tracking the words on a teleprompter’s screen, it can be easy to forget about making eye contact and otherwise engaging with your audience. Know your script well enough that you can deliver your speech without your eyes glued to the screen. If you’re constantly reading the teleprompter word for word, your audience—virtual or in person—will be able to see your eyes moving back and forth across the screen. This can be distracting and dilute audience interaction. Instead, glance at the teleprompter when you need to, but look at the camera or the audience for the majority of your speech.
Following these tips for working with teleprompters will help you deliver your speech like a pro, even if it’s your first time using a teleprompter. Whether you’re working with a presidential teleprompter or an iPad teleprompter, these tips will come in handy.