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A lot of speakers struggle to maintain a natural flow while reading from a teleprompter. Even worse, relying on scripted text can sometimes result in a disconnect with the audience. As vocal coaches, we have heard countless stories of how frustrating it can get for speakers to strike a balance between reading from a teleprompter and keeping their audience engaged. 

If this is something you deal with, too, these 5 teleprompter techniques every speaker should know are going to help you sound natural, engage your audience, and deliver impactful speeches even while using a teleprompter.

5 Teleprompter Techniques Every Speaker Should Know

Speakers who learn how to use a teleprompter effectively tend to deliver flawless speeches that keep their audience engaged and entertained. Here are our top five recommendations for become a pro at reading from the teleprompter:Woman reading text from a teleprompter while a man is recording her

Mastering Eye Contact

Maintaining eye contact with the audience is imperative for building rapport and engagement. While using a teleprompter, most speakers often struggle to balance their gaze between the script and the listeners. To maintain better eye contact while reading from the teleprompter, you could:

  • Briefly glance at the teleprompter to capture the next line, then deliver it while looking directly at the audience.
  • Practice reading text from it using your peripheral vision to maintain focus on the audience.
  • Express emotions and connect with the audience through facial expressions and gestures while glancing at the teleprompter sparingly.
  • Reduce head movements by setting the teleprompter to meet your eye level.
  • To keep eye contact during the speech, practice reading aloud.
  • Take brief, spontaneous glances at the audience.


Setting the Teleprompter’s Position

The teleprompter should ideally be positioned slightly to the side of the audience, at eye level. By doing this, you will be able to look your audience in the eye as you read from it. Here are some tips to consider while setting up the teleprompter:

  • Set the teleprompter in a way that helps you read comfortably.
  • Modify its angle to prevent reflections or glare.
  • Try a variety of positions to see which suits you the best. 

Improving Pace and Timing

Timing and pace must be controlled when utilizing a teleprompter effectively to deliver a speech smoothly. When relying on it, speakers may inadvertently rush or lag in their delivery. Consider these recommendations to improve your delivery:

  • To correspond with your speaking cadence, adjust the teleprompter’s text scrolling speed.
  • Use deliberate pauses to draw attention to important details and give the audience time to process the information.
  • Align your tempo with the teleprompter to create a constant pace throughout your speech.
  • Familiarize yourself with the script to anticipate pauses and emphasis points.

Building Confidence

Woman sitting down while preparing to shoot a videoBecoming proficient with a teleprompter requires practice and rehearsal. Here’s how speakers can build confidence in using a teleprompter:

  • Before the presentation, acquaint yourself with the teleprompter’s hardware and software.
  • Practice reading from it while keeping your body language and gestures natural.
  • Read slowly at first from the teleprompter, and then pick up the pace over time.
  • As you would during a speech, practice standing up and reading from it.
  • Try out various scrolling speeds and font sizes to see what suits you the best.


Enhancing Delivery with Body Language

To get your message across successfully, remember to use the right body language and gestures when using a teleprompter. By doing this, you can read from a script while still sounding engaging and natural. Here are some techniques to improve delivery using body language:

  • Use natural gestures that complement your speech and emphasize key points.
  • Incorporate purposeful movement to maintain energy and engagement.
  • Make sure your body language aligns with the tone and message of your speech for a cohesive delivery.

Overcoming Over-Reliance on the Teleprompter

While a teleprompter is a valuable tool, speakers should avoid over-reliance to maintain authenticity and connection with the audience. Here are strategies to prevent over-dependence on it:

  • Familiarize yourself with the content to reduce reliance on it for every word.
  • View the teleprompter as a guide rather than a script to maintain a natural flow.
  • Focus on engaging with the audience and conveying your message authentically, using it as a reference tool.

Embracing Imperfections and Adaptability

When using a teleprompter, authenticity and adaptability are more important than perfection. Here are some strategies for accepting flaws and staying flexible during a speech:

  • Recognize that errors may occur and concentrate on remaining calm and moving forward with assurance.
  • Be ready to professionally and gracefully adjust to unforeseen events or technical difficulties.
  • Give your message with authenticity while staying in the moment and interacting with the audience.

Woman adjusting the settings of the teleprompterRelated Questions

When is it Appropriate to Use a Teleprompter for Public Speaking?

In a variety of settings, using a teleprompter when giving a speech in public is acceptable. It guarantees accurate delivery of scripted content and is especially helpful when giving lengthy or complex speeches. A teleprompter also offers dependable assistance for speakers who must stay within a given time limit or follow a detailed script. 

Should I Practice Without the Prompter in Rehearsals?

It is advised to practice without utilizing the prompter during rehearsals. Even though the teleprompter is a useful tool, depending on it can make it more difficult for you to engage your audience genuinely. You can internalize your material, hone your delivery, and develop confidence in the event of technical difficulties by practicing without the prompter. 

Should I Control the Teleprompter Myself?

That depends on the circumstances and one’s preferences. A dedicated prompter operator can manage the teleprompter so that the speaker can concentrate entirely on delivering their speech, however, some speakers may find it more advantageous to operate the device themselves to retain complete control over the tempo and delivery of their speaking.

Conclusion

Developing the skills to naturally read from a teleprompter is helpful for any speaker looking to deliver consistently impactful speeches. The five techniques we’ve just shared can help you sound more human, maintain an engaging flow, and connect with your audience even if you can’t maintain eye contact throughout your speech. Remember, a teleprompter is there to help you, not be a roadblock in your speech delivery.