How to Use a Teleprompter

Three Parts:Reading from a TeleprompterKnowing When to Use a TeleprompterTurning Your iPad into a Teleprompter

Teleprompters have many benefits. They allow you to look at a camera without memorizing a text, and they can be used in front of cameras or on stage. In the past, teleprompters tended to be expensive, but with tablet computers, you can create your own teleprompter at home fairly cheaply. However, reading from a teleprompter takes some practice, so be sure to try it out before getting in front of the camera.

Part 1
Reading from a Teleprompter

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    Know your script. You should not be reading the script for the first time on camera or in front of an audience. Read the script out loud a couple of times beforehand.[1]
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    Work through any difficult parts. If you have trouble saying a particular word, don't be afraid to switch it out for another one.[2]
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    Practice with the teleprompter. It's not enough to just read through the script. You need to practice pacing yourself with a teleprompter.[3]
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    Pace yourself naturally. You may tend to speed up when you get nervous so try to slow down. Don't worry about following the teleprompter's pace. The operator should force it to follow your pace, not the other way around.[4]
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    Use contractions. Though contractions are often left out of formal writing, they sound more natural when you're speaking. So don't be afraid to change out "I've" for "I have" or "don't" for "do not."[5]
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    Give a big smile. It will draw your audience in and give you a boost of confidence.[6]
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    Communicate openly with your teleprompter operator. Voice your concerns. If you are not okay with the way the text appears onscreen, let him or her know. The person should be happy to work with you.
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    Don't memorize. Using a teleprompter means you don't have to memorize. Plus, memorizing can give your speech a rehearsed feeling, when you really want a natural feeling.[7]
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    Take a deep breath. If you're nervous when reading the teleprompter, that will show up on screen or to your audience. Try to calm yourself down. You can try a meditation technique before reading.[8]
    • One way to meditate is to choose a simple mantra to repeat over and over. For instance, you could choose the traditional "Om" or try your own, such as "calm and quiet."[9]
    • Another way to meditate is to focus on your breathing. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath in, counting to four. Let the breath out, counting to four. Repeat this process for several breaths.[10]
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    Be energetic. Whether you're on the stage or in front of a camera, you need over-the-top energy. Be more energetic than you think you need to be. You'll come across just fine because both the stage and the camera dampen energy.[11]
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    Don't be afraid to move around, but don't fidget. Hand gestures add to your speech, making it feel more natural. However, fidgeting, such as tugging on your hair or moving from foot to foot, can be distracting.[12]
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    Don't shout. Talk to a single person, instead. You don't need to yell at your audience, whether you're on stage or in front of a camera. If it helps, try picking a person in the audience to speak to or try talking to the person operating the camera.[13]
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    Consider hiring a speech coach. Professional coaches are readily available and are efficient in teaching you how to speak well using a teleprompter. They can also help you develop your pronunciation.

Part 2
Knowing When to Use a Teleprompter

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    Use one for large conference presentations. Teleprompters can help you stay in your time frame, as well as keep you from stumbling through a speech.[14]
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    Employ a teleprompter for consistency. If you're creating multiple takes, a script on a teleprompter helps keep each take consistent.[15]
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    Use teleprompters when accuracy is essential. They are especially good for technical presentations and the like.[16]
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    Read from a teleprompter to keep the focus on you. Note cards and pages can distract your audience. A teleprompter keeps you looking ahead at your audience.[17]
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    Know how a teleprompter works. Traditional teleprompters use a reflective piece of glass or acrylic to project the words for you. The camera is placed behind the glass, but it doesn't pick up the words going across the screen. The idea is you seem to be looking at the camera or the audience, even though you're reading words.[18]
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    Use a teleprompter to focus on your style. Because you don't need to memorize what you're reading, you can pay more attention to how you're delivering your speech.[19]
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    Employ a teleprompter to get it right the first time. With a teleprompter, it's easier to get a clean take in one go. Though you may still need to retake some parts, you'll get more clean readings the first time around.[20]

Part 3
Turning Your iPad into a Teleprompter

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    Build a teleprompter kit. You can purchase kits to create the reflective screen needed for a teleprompter. However, you can also build one of your own, using an iPad or monitor as the base.[21]
    • To build one, you'll need a flat monitor or iPad, a picture frame (8 inches by 10 inches), a sheet of plywood (2 feet by 2 feet), a 4-foot pine board (1 inch by 2 inches), small hinges, a dowel rod, 4 shelf hooks, a 1/4-inch screw (long), 1/4-inch wood insert, flannel (1 yard), screws, nails, wood glue, gaff tape, needle and thread, and an elastic band. You'll need certain tools, too, such as a jigsaw, miter saw, screwdrivers, hammer, and a drill.[22]
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    Take out the glass and cardboard from the picture frame.[23] Use a saw to cut into the plywood. Make it about equal to the frame size.[24]
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    Screw in the hinges to the frame. Use a drill to create pilot holes first. Attach the other side of the hinges to the board.[25]
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    Drill holes halfway down the the frame on the inside. Do the same on the wood, making this set at a 45-degree angle towards the frame. Both sets of holes should be 5/16 of an inch wide.[26]
    • Cut the dowel rod to fit the holes. You'll use the dowel rod to prop open the teleprompter. The window needs to be at a 45-degree angle, as well.[27]
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    Measure how big your monitor or iPad is. Mark it on the wood with a pencil, and make four holes, two along the long exposed side and one each on the other two sides. One side will be up against the frame. Attach shelf hooks in the holes to keep the monitor in place.[28]
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    Slice off any extra wood. Leave an inch or two past the shelf hooks, but cut off any extra wood along the edge.[29]
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    Work on the camera mount. Cut the 1 foot by 2 feet into several pieces. Create a stack out of the wood, and use wood glue between each layer. The top piece should extend out past the other pieces. Make it stronger with screws as reinforcement.[30]
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    Cut two small pieces of plywood, similar in size to the 1 foot by 2 feet piece you just created. Cut two other pieces that are the same width but twice as long. Glue each set of pieces together.[31]
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    Screw the long piece to the bottom of the teleprompter plywood. Screw the 1 foot by 2 feet mount off the end of it on the other side.[32]
    • Screw the small set of plywood on top of the to the 1 foot by 2 feet mount. It should be on one end of the mount, perpendicular to how the mount runs. Screw the long 1/4-inch screw facing upwards onto the mount. It should stick out above the wood to screw, where you'll screw the camera in.[33]
    • You can also drill a 5/16-inch hole on the underside of the teleprompter. Insert the 1/4-inch wood insert to create a tripod screw.[34]
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    Create a shade for the camera. Use the saw to cut out two triangles from the cardboard that came in the frame. Nail the into the frame, sticking out towards the camera mount.[35]
    • Stretch flannel across the tops and sides of the triangles, using the gaff tape to stick it down. Create a hole for the camera in the middle by cutting it out.[36]
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    Place the glass back in the frame. Add the monitor, the dowel rods, and the camera, and your teleprompter is complete.[37]
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    Pick an iPad app. From Prompterous by Labotec to IQPrompter by from Ed4U, LLC, you have a number of options that will let you use your iPad as a teleprompter. You also have options for PC apps, such as Prompt Lite. [38]
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    Type in your text. You can copy or type in your script to most programs.
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    Avoid typos. When you're typing out your script, pay careful attention. Any typo or missed word in the script an cause the reader to stumble.[39]
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    Use your teleprompter to create a video. Put your teleprompter to work by creating a new video.

Tips

  • Always do a run-through in front of a friend or family member to practice your speech.

Sources and Citations

  1. http://www.dallasprompter.com/prompter_tips.html
  2. http://www.dallasprompter.com/prompter_tips.html
  3. http://www.videouniversity.com/articles/teleprompter-tips/
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Article Info

Categories: Public Speaking