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Whether you’re giving a big presentation at work or trying to shoot YouTube videos, a teleprompter can help you give your best performance but only if you know how to use one.
A teleprompter works by reflecting the words in a monitor to allow you to simultaneously read them while allowing a camera to film you through the screen.
When used effectively, teleprompters allow you to remember long speeches, but there are some teleprompter tips you need to be aware of.
Teleprompter Tips for Beginners
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Write Everything Out
It’s pretty simple to begin relying so heavily on your teleprompter that you are focusing more on your delivery of the words than on the words themselves.
This is great so long as you are a good copy editor. But, if for example, you use roman numerals or numbers in place of phrases, you can accidentally confuse your audience.
You can also catch any potential errors with your teleprompter text by running through it once or twice (or more) before recording.
The old saying that “practice makes perfect” definitely applies here...the more you practice, the more natural you will sound.
Believe What You’re Saying
There’s no better way to immediately confuse your audience than by preaching something you don’t believe in. Teleprompters are already unnatural enough, so by only writing things you completely stand behind you can make your delivery more realistic.
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Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse
It’s easy to think you’re going to look natural on screen, but there’s no way for you to become familiar with your text if you don’t practice beforehand. As I said before, practice makes perfect!
Focus on your Presentation
The words are not as important as your energy or your body language. Practice eye contact and natural hand movements.
Also, practice including inflections and emphasis into your teleprompter text. For example, underline words you want to emphasize and include an ellipsis where you need to dramatically pause.
Don’t Let Your Teleprompter Set Your Pace
A teleprompter operator’s job is to follow you. If you get into the habit of following your teleprompter, you’re going to be speaking unnaturally fast.
If you’re nervous, you’ll probably already be speaking too quickly, so take a breath and remember that you’re in control.
For some more helpful tips on teleprompter use, check out the video above by Justin Brown-Primal Video.
Things to Keep in Mind About Your Teleprompter Performance
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There are two things to keep in mind while using a teleprompter: your audience and the information you’re trying to convey.
If you’re using a teleprompter for your vlog, are you sure your audience doesn’t want a more natural delivery? You could break your video down into a few segments and piece them all together if that’s the case.
If you’re using a teleprompter for a speech, make sure your audience is large enough and the space you’re in is spacious enough to make the use of a teleprompter more natural.
Also, make sure to use a teleprompter during long speeches or videos, or speeches and videos that require the use of statistics.
If the information you’re conveying is more formal, that’s an appropriate time for a teleprompter. It will help you deliver the information more accurately and you’ll be less prone to conflating numbers and data in your head.
What to Look for When Buying a Teleprompter
The most important thing I look for when I’m purchasing a teleprompter is what devices the teleprompter is compatible with.
In the case of my favorite teleprompter, Ikan’s PT Elite LS, it supports Apple, Android, and Windows tablets between 7.5 x 5 inches and 10.5 x 8 inches (which is essentially every tablet all three of these manufacturers have released in the past 5 years).
You’ll also want to ensure that your teleprompter is light enough to travel with you. This particular model has a lightweight design so it won’t weigh you down when you hit the road. Other features include an adjustable glass frame and a quick-release base plate for fast setup and takedown.
Another useful feature that the PT Elite LS has is it can be mounted on light stands, which is hugely convenient for those of you that already have light stands in your kit.