If you look and feel like a deer in headlights when the camera starts rolling on your corporate video, then read on.
More and more companies are choosing to make videos, so they can deliver regular updates to their clients and employees on their websites, newsletters and social media. There’s now a growing trend for organisations to put their senior management in front of the camera.
Recently, a lot of my training work has been working with organisations to help people who are business leaders rather than professional TV presenters. I help them look and feel more confident on camera while showing them ways to connect with their audience.
Teleprompters are a great way to save you learning a long script but, as anyone will tell you, reading a teleprompter is a skill and it’s not easy to look natural. We’ve all seen people staring at the lens looking awkward because they’re concentrating so hard.
Here are my top 9 tips to look and sound good using a teleprompter.
We all know the importance of writing a powerful and memorable message, but writing a script for a teleprompter is very different to writing copy for a newspaper article. To make the content seem natural, it needs to be written in conversational way; in other words, the way we speak rather than the way we write.
Also, your video may be for sales people, clients, staff or a wider audience, so consider your tone and vocabulary carefully to make sure it suits your needs.
Keep it short and simple. People will often watch your videos on their phones or tablets, and won’t be prepared to watch long boring videos, so keep the message short, simple, upbeat and clear.
Don’t Stand Too Close.
The closer you stand to the prompter the more the camera will be able to see yours eyes shifting back and forth. This will give away the fact that you are reading, so to avoid visibly moving eyes, try standing further away. If necessary use a larger font so you might have to experiment, but it will make you look much more professional and confident. Talking of font size, make sure that you’re comfortable with the size that’s been set and ask for it to be adjusted if necessary.
Contractions are often left out of formal writing, but we use them all the time when we’re speaking, so, instead of I have try I'veand instead ofdo not use don't, etc.
To give you more vocal variety, I suggest making key words that you’d like to emphasise bold or italicised; this will really help with the flow of the script. I also suggest putting in commas where you’d like to take a breath as this will help stop you speaking too fast and they'll remind you to pause.
Use lots of paragraphs to help you transition from one thought to another, you’ll sound more conversational and you'll speak with a more even pace.
You're Talking to a Person
People often sound a bit monotone when they read a teleprompter because they’re simply reading text rather than delivering it. It’s not easy talking directly to camera, but try and imagine it’s a person you’re having a conversation with.
The biggest tip I have is to take your time, because we all tend to speed up when we’re nervous. Try and use regular pauses and remember to breathe.
I often recommend standing when talking to camera as it’ll make it feel more like a presentation, but keep your legs slightly apart so you don’t lean to one side.
Whether your hands are in or out of shot – use them! This will bring more energy to your voice and delivery as well as helping you feel more natural.
Once you’ve written and scripted your presentation, print it off and make sure you practice. Also, when you rehearse, make sure you do it out loud and in real time.
Finally, Teleprompters will typically display between 4 to 6 lines of text at a time, so most people prefer to have the line they’re currently speaking somewhere in the middle of the glass. If it appears too close to the top, you tend to rush to say it before the line disappears, and if it’s at the bottom, you’ll worry that your next line won’t arrive in time. Someone once told me that using a teleprompter is a bit like reading music. You read ahead to check your phrasing, and you deliver with rhythm.
With these tips you’ll look more natural and connect better with your audience. If you have any tips on using a teleprompter please let me know below.
In the meantime, if all this looks like a lot to think about, you could always go on one of the Present Yourself Media Courses