Recently one of my clients contacted me saying that she was asked to speak to an audience of several thousand as part of her leadership role in her civic group. How exciting is that! Her concern was that she was told she would be using a teleprompter and she was seeking my advice. In this week’s post I want to share some of the highlights of what we covered:
1. Anytime you’re asked to speak and you’re unfamiliar with the equipment, seek professional advice.
2. Ensure you have a written copy of your speech with you in the event that the teleprompter malfunctions. Be sure to highlight essential words you want to emphasize.
3. Create an outline of your speaking points and practice speaking from it (after practicing with your full narrative); this will ultimately be much easier for you and will increase your ability to sound more natural.
4. Use facial expressions, vocal variety and gestures to liven up your delivery particularly because using a teleprompter tends to decrease your ability to connect with your audience (since you become dependent on reading).
5. Make every effort to practice with a real teleprompter if at all possible (we went to a local TV station, which was very helpful).
6. Remember that much like a band that follows the singer, the teleprompter operator should follow the speaker and your pacing; not the other way around. Try to do a dry run in advance to let the teleprompter operator become familiar with your speaking style.
7. Mistakes can and will happen; try to simulate these when you practice so you have a contingency plan in place the day of your event.
Remember that using a teleprompter doesn’t come naturally so take it seriously like my client did and learn the skills you need to succeed.