How to Use a Teleprompter for TV Hosts and Public Speaking
When you’re hosting a show, auditioning for one, or making a speech you may be presented with various ways to talk to the camera.
Learning how to use a teleprompter can seem a bit daunting at first, but once you get some practice, you’ll realize they can make your job easier and take the pressure off memorizing a script.
Let me break down the various opportunities and preparation for the teleprompter.
When you host a show or audition for a show you may be given your script in several ways:
1- Teleprompter – Your script is uploaded on a screen that is directly in your eye view of the camera.
2- Sides – a piece of paper with the script written on it that you can hold and refer to when you need it.
3- Boards – the script is written in large letters on oversized thicker paper and someone is positioned next to or just under the camera. You’ll “grab” a few sentences at a time and talk to the camera. Saturday Night Live has been using boards since it started.
4- Cards – which are index cards usually with the show logo on one side and notes on the other.
As a host and co-host of several shows, I’ve had the opportunity to use a teleprompter and see the benefits firsthand. My time in the TV studio or on location is much smoother and faster.
Tips on How to Use a Teleprompter:
-Prepare your script ahead of time: Write out your script and review it multiple times before you get in front of the teleprompter.
- When the cameraman sets up the teleprompter do a few practice runs before actually taping or being live on camera.
- You’ll be able to determine the font and font size of the script rolling on the screen that works best for you. I suggest you choose as small a size as you feel comfortable with as this will enable you to grab more of the content and verbally express it in a more natural way. If you choose too large a font size the words will be broken up on multiple lines and your delivery of the concept may sound stilted.
-Adjust the teleprompter speed to your liking: The speed of the teleprompter can be adjusted to your reading pace. Make sure it's not too fast or too slow and adjust it if necessary.
- With a teleprompter, you have the opportunity to deliver the script in a conversational tone and add your personality. Don’t feel tethered to read it exactly as written and use contractions.
-Keep the teleprompter at eye level: Make sure the teleprompter is positioned at eye level, so you don't have to look up or down too much while reading. This can help you maintain good posture and avoid neck strain.
-Add subtle head movements as you read the teleprompter, so you avoid it looking like your eyes are moving left to right really reading the material.
Making a speech or delivering a presentation:
Using a teleprompter can be a great way to deliver a speech or presentation smoothly and confidently.
-Practice reading from the teleprompter: Start by practicing your script without the teleprompter, then gradually incorporate it into your practice sessions. Read at a natural pace and be mindful of your tone and expression.
-Maintain eye contact with the audience: While reading from the teleprompter, be sure to maintain eye contact with the audience. Use natural pauses and gestures to engage with them.
-If you're in charge of the teleprompter familiarize yourself with the teleprompter controls including how to start, stop, and adjust the speed. If possible, practice with the teleprompter before your actual presentation.
-Consider using a remote control: A remote control can allow you to control the teleprompter without having to move away from the podium or lectern.
By following these tips, you can use a teleprompter to enhance your delivery and deliver a confident and engaging presentation.
If you want more practice you can download a teleprompter app on your iPad.
Best teleprompter apps:
-Teleprompter Pro Lite
-PromptSmart Lite or PromptSmart Pro
Consider buying a real teleprompter:
There are plenty of budget teleprompters out there, but I recommend the Glide Gear teleprompter. It’s a collapsible teleprompter and works with your iPad for under $200. You will need a tripod and your own camera.
Alison Deyette is a TV host, brand spokesperson, and media training/on-camera coach. She has helped CEOs, executives, on-air personalities, athletes, experts and a long list of Fortune 500 companies develop and express their messaging and content for television, web series, social media, corporate video, public speaking, and presentations. As your media trainer and on-camera coach, she’ll help to transform you into a powerful, confident, and focused speaker or personality. She is the regular lifestyle expert for The Kelly Clarkson Show, KTLA Los Angeles, Inside Edition, Extra, Access Hollywood, Today and regularly works with brands on HSN, QVC and other networks.