Taming the Teleprompter

As discussed in this space last week, reading a full text speech is hard. What could be even more difficult? Reading from a Teleprompter. Whether it’s your first speech using the device or you’re a Teleprompter veteran, here are some points to bear in mind:

  1. Gain a comfort level with the equipment by doing lots of practice rounds.
  2. If you have not worked with a Teleprompter before, be aware that you will be reading your text from one or more screens that appear transparent to your audience.
  3. Rehearse with the operator who will run the Teleprompter during your speech in order to establish a rhythm that matches your rate and style.
  4. Provide your operator with your text well ahead of time.
  5. Make sure you can read the Teleprompter screens. Know in advance whether you will need your glasses or a larger font.
  6. Rehearse with the actual equipment you will use during your speech. You can do this as the crew conducts light and sound checks.
  7. Notify your operator of any last minute edits. Experienced operators can quickly and easily accommodate minor changes.
  8. Strive to sound conversational.
  9. Don’t stress if you miss a few words. The crowd won’t know.
  10. Remember to make the most of your nonverbal skills. Don’t focus so much on the technology that you submerge your speaking strengths.
  11. If your Teleprompter breaks down while you are speaking, have a hard copy of your remarks ready as a backup.
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