Teleprompter Trouble – Common Mistakes

First, let's banish a common misconception. There are several systems that display text in front of the camera lens for the presenter to read. Autocue is a brand name, like Hoover. The generic name is rolling script or teleprompter.

Here are the top three mistakes we've observed, and the lessons you can learn from them:

Write your script to be read aloud

In our experience, many people forget the spoken word is different from the written word. It's vital to make your teleprompter script conversational, using the words I, we and us.

Complicated words are a barrier to communication. If you stumble over any tricky words or phrases, change them to a simpler version, or rewrite the section using shorter paragraphs and shorter sentences.

Often, the script is written by someone else, and the first time the presenter sees it is 5 minutes before the recording. They then read it through and change bits to make it more personal and add their own emotion. This makes it better every time.

Ideally, you should practice reading your script aloud before you arrive at the studio. The more you practice, the more the words go into your brain and the more you can FEEL the message. One of the media trainers I work with calls this your 'tongue memory'.

Control your pace

People nearly always talk too fast in presentations, which means their audience struggles to keep up. The trouble is that you know what you want to say, but the viewer doesn't.

The problem can be even worse when you're in front of a teleprompter, because when you're nervous, the natural response is to talk even faster.

People tend to read ahead to the end of the screen before the new words have appeared. Don't worry – the speed of the teleprompter can be controlled.

In over 20 years of camerawork, I've never once had to tell someone to speed up! Yet every week, I tell someone to slow down.

To be understood more clearly, you simply have to slooooow down your pace of reading.

Add energy

Appearing on screen 'flattens' your delivery, so you need to throw 30% more energy at the camera to come across as engaging and a good communicator.

It may seem counter-intuitive to tell you to add more energy while slowing down, but you do need to think where the emphasis should be in the script, and PUSH certain words harder than others.

More information

Those are just a few of the common errors presenters commonly make.

Book us to record your next talking head video, and we'll give you personalised advice so you achieve the best result.

We'll tell you where to stand so it's not obvious that you're reading.

You can operate the remote control to start or stop the teleprompter, or we can run the script for you.

If you have a long script (3 to 5 minutes), we'll record it in digestible chunks to make it easier to edit any sections.

To add colour and interest, we'll include cutaway shots of the presenter at work, in meetings and talking to people.