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Top 5 teleprompter tips for the first-time user

If you are going to use a teleprompter for your first time or asking someone to get in front of a teleprompter here is my Top 5 list of ways to prepare for your video.

1) Write your own script

I’ve found that most business people or execs who show up for a teleprompter shoot for the first time arrive completely un-prepared. In most instances this stems from reading someone else’s script. My advise is to write your own script. If that is not possible then what you should do is take the time to re-write the script in your own words. This will make it easier for you to recall the words when you are in front of the camera.

Change “I will” to “i’ll”. Change “we have” to “we’ve”.

2) Rehearse

Rehearsing is the most important piece of advice I can give. Rehearsal also goes hand-in-hand with writing your own script.

With the script in front of you: read it out loud! A silent reading in your head will not allow you to find the places where your tongue will become tied. As you find the rough spots you should re-write the script to best reflect how you would naturally speak the content. This is also the best way to re-write a script someone else has given you.

3) Be passionate!

I like to have people stand when they are doing talking heads. You’ll have more energy and be able to speak from “your center”. You’ll also be more apt to use hand gestures if that is your personal style. It’s good to try to be a little over the top. When you’re reading you need to do everything in your power to retain your audience’s attention and this includes having them believe the message is from the heart. Be sure to smile, too. This will help you connect with your audience on a personal level. A pause and smile is much nicer than punctuating your video with “ums” and “so’s”.

4) Don’t follow the teleprompter

Use your peripherals! Keep your eyes on the camera. Try to talk as if you are speaking to a person behind the camera. Nothing kills a talking head video faster than when your eyes scan left to right as you are reading the text. Try to keep your gaze in the middle of the screen. This also personalizes your video. You are looking 1:1 with your audience member. Don’t make the mistake of pretending you are presenting to a room of people. You’re tennis-match style gaze will look very silly in the final video. Connect with your audience. Be one with the camera.

5) Relax!

Being nervous or fidgety on camera will look bad. Rehearse enough so that you can walk in and be familiar enough with the script that you can read through it at a normal pace. And remember that you’re lucky enough that you did not have to memorize the whole thing in addition to being in front of the camera for the first time!

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