Every on-air broadcast talent will read from a teleprompter at some point. If you work in a studio during your broadcasting career, you’ll spend many hours reading from a teleprompter. Here are a few useful tips and ideas that will help you deliver material from a teleprompter while appearing natural and still engaging your audience.
Know your material
If you’re the one writing the material, write it to be spoken, not read. If you’re not the one writing the material, prepare in advance and make sure what you’ll be reading is familiar to you. If you’re struggling to read or comprehend the script, it will show on your face.
Look at the camera, not the words
The best part of a teleprompter is that it lets you look directly into the camera. Make sure you do just that. Look at the camera lens, not at the words just beyond it. It’s a small distinction, but if your eyes are flicking back and forth, following the words across the screen, your audience will notice. If you followed the note above and know your material, this won’t be an issue.
Control the pace
The operator should match your pace, not the other way around. Don’t get so caught up trying to read all the words as fast as they come on screen that you go too fast. Deliver the material at a pace that’s comfortable and they’ll follow.
Practice, practice, practice
There is no substitute for practice. A Broadcasting school is a great place to do just this; the more time you spend reading from a teleprompter, the easier it will be. It’s never easy the first time, but practice, practice, practice makes perfect. And yes, there are three of them in that sentence for a reason.
Try to forget you’re reading, and let your natural personality come through. It can be difficult to force yourself to feel natural, but that very skill is important. When you relax and connect with your audience through the camera lens, they’ll have no idea you’re reading from a teleprompter. That’s the difference between good and great.