CommCore Blog and News
Republican candidates are trying to score political points on President Obama for his oratorical style. The same man who is often lauded for his effective speechmaking is being criticized as president for what political opponents are calling over reliance on the TelePrompter.
We’ll leave the political fight over TelePrompters to the voters. But the dust-up does give us a chance to talk about when and where TelePrompters can and should be used.
When used properly, a Prompter can improve a presentation – particularly to a large audience. Bottom line: very few speakers can memorize a whole text. It’s much better to look out at the audience than to keep looking down at the lectern. If you believe the audience is important, Prompters allow the speaker to focus on his/her listener, emphasize key words and messages without looking at notes, and better vary pitch and cadence. The TelePrompter gives a speaker the opportunity to concentrate on the performance aspect of the speech.
Here are some of the TelePrompter tips we provide to our clients:
1. Don’t try to “keep up” with the Prompter operator. The Prompter operator will adapt to your pace.
2. Change panels at the end of a thought or idea. Don’t bounce back and forth (the “tennis match syndrome”) excessively. When you move from one panel to the other, insert a short pause and refill your lungs with air.
3. Format your material on prompter to match your speaking patterns. Underscore key words that you want to hit hard and mark your script for pauses. You can also place key words in the prompter script, i.e. PAUSE, STOP, or signs like ARROWS.
4. Arrange for a rehearsal with the person who will be operating the Prompter at your speaking location. A series of run-throughs will allow the two of you to establish a rhythm and a comfort level working together. Ideally this should be done the evening before and repeated the day of the presentation.
5. Learn (don’t memorize) your speech so you can focus on a powerful delivery. It’s ok to ad-lib a line. The prompter operator will know.
6. Remember that you’re talking to an audience, not to glass panels. Be as passionate and enthusiastic as you would be if the prompter weren’t there. This means that all the good rules about energy and enthusiasm for speaking from a lectern work for a Prompter.
What do you advise your clients regarding use of a TelePrompter? What has your/their experience been? Do you believe President Obama relies on it too much?
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