August 16, 2022
How to Master Reading Off a Teleprompter
Podcasters are using teleprompters to help them stay on topic and reduce mistakes.
Let’s face it: recording your podcast without messing up or saying "Um" a million times is really difficult. Especially if you have to keep looking down while recording to read your notes or visual guides. That's why many podcasters are using teleprompters to help them stay on topic and reduce the number of mistakes when recording. This in turn saves hours in post-production editing and/or several hundred dollars in podcast editing services. However, reading off a teleprompter is not the easiest skill to master. Unless you work in broadcasting or theater, it probably won’t come up very often – but if you're looking to become an expert at content creation, learning to read off a teleprompter can really pay off!
So how do you learn how to read off a teleprompter? It’s actually not as hard as you might think – just a little awkward at first. In this blog post, we will discuss the three primary steps to mastering how to read off a teleprompter.
Step 1: Familiarize yourself with teleprompter basics
First, let’s go over some basic information about teleprompters. When a teleprompter is in use, the script scrolls from right to left in a box that sits in front of the camera lens. The operator sits behind the teleprompter, out of the camera’s view, and uses a foot pedal to scroll the script at a set speed. On TV, the scrolling speed is usually somewhere between 60 and 90 words per minute. You can usually adjust the scrolling speed on the fly, depending on your speaking speed. Many of today's teleprompter apps also work with a remote. You can copy and paste your script into the app, and use your iPad or iPhone as your reading device.
Step 2: Train your eyes to recognize the scrolling words
The most difficult part about reading off a teleprompter is not being able to see the script. Since you don’t have the luxury of looking down at your paper, you’ll have to train your eyes to recognize the scrolling words as they appear. This skill can take some getting used to, but there are a few tricks you can use to make it easier:
Make sure you are in a position that allows you to read with ease. You may feel more comfortable sitting down, standing up straight, or leaning against something.
Start with a familiar script
If you’re practicing with a script you’ve read before, you’ll feel more familiar with the words and have an easier time recognizing them.
Focus on the first line
When reading off a teleprompter, the first line of the script will appear first. Focus on that first line and let the rest of the words flow from there.
Break the script into chunks
Reading entire paragraphs at a time can be overwhelming. Break the script into chunks of about 6 lines at a time and focus on reading one chunk at a time.
Step 3: Practice, practice, practice!
The only way to get better at reading off a teleprompter is to practice. There are two main types of exercises you can do to better prepare yourself for real-life situations:
Start by reading aloud from the script. Begin by reading at a normal pace and adjust your speed as needed.
Next, read aloud from the script but don’t speak out loud. Instead, simply focus on reading the words in your head as they scroll across the screen.
These exercises will help you get used to the flow of the script. You might feel a little awkward at first, but don’t worry – with time and practice, you’ll improve and become a pro!