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The Art of Using a Teleprompter

by PowerSpeaking, Inc.     Feb 27, 2019 1:30:54 PM

How often have you seen public figures like politicians and entertainers trip over words, suffer awkward pauses, or make it obvious they’re reading a script while on camera? Yes, even seasoned speakers and presenters can bungle a talk if they’re not in sync with the words scrolling on that teleprompter screen.

There is a fine art to working with teleprompters, whether you’re being taped for a production video or making a live speech. Our Vice President of Learning and Development, Carrie Beckstrom, learned this lesson well recently, as she stepped in front of a teleprompter for the first time during production of our new program introduction videos. She graciously let us include a couple of quick clips for this blog, to demonstrate a few of the common recording/teleprompter mistakes to look out for.

Teleprompter Outtakes - Blog from PowerSpeaking on Vimeo.

Here are our best tips for making the teleprompter your friend:


  • Make sure your script is written in a conversational tone. Use crisp, vivid language. Vary the length of your sentences to create an interesting rhythm and emphasize important points. Avoid overly long, complicated sentences.
  • Use language that makes your audience feel like you’re talking with them, not at them.  In other words, speak to them as you would to a friend.
  • Include pauses in the script where you want to give people time to digest what you just said, or when you’re transitioning to another point.


  • Rehearse the script out loud several times prior to filming.
  • Practice where and how you’re going to emphasize specific points.
  • Wear clothing that is not distracting to the audience or problematic for filming. Example: wear solid colors that don’t get lost or clash with the background.
  • Whether you sit or stand, make sure you have a comfortable, solid stance.
  • As with any “speech,” use engaging, effective gestures that illustrate and/or support what you’re saying.


These tips are more for the people setting up the room, operating the camera, and managing the teleprompter:

  • Make sure the room/space is distraction-free.
  • Set up good, professional lighting.
  • Put the subject in focus and the background slightly out of focus. This effect gives a more professional look.
  • Use a lavaliere microphone for good-quality sound.
  • Make sure the font size of the script on the teleprompter, and the speed at which it scrolls, makes for easy, natural reading.
  • During filming, use a “director board” to keep track of the best cuts.

Two last tips: keep a glass of water nearby; and if you struggle through multiple takes of a passage, take a break. Walk outside, breathe, stretch. You’ll come back to the teleprompter refreshed.

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Chris Brannen

Chris Brannen

Master Facilitator and Coach, PowerSpeaking, Inc.

Rolf Wolter

Ralf Wolter

Master Facilitator and Coach, PowerSpeaking, Inc.

Nicole Wajer

Nicole Wajer

Technical Solutions Architect, Cisco

About the Author

PowerSpeaking, Inc.

Topics: Style, Delivery Style, Presentation Skills, Presentation Preparation, Tips for Using a Teleprompter, Public Speaking, Effective Presenting, Staging, Teleprompter

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