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Why I Don’t Use a Teleprompter (And Why You Likely Shouldn’t Either)

Warning: If you have purchased a teleprompter (or are thinking about purchasing a teleprompter), please read this first.

The goal of a teleprompter is to provide a scripting solution to those who want ultra-polished sales videos.

But what teleprompter companies don’t promote is the time and energy it takes to get them set up and implemented. These costs oftentimes outweigh the benefits.

You see, it’s not as simple as just buying a teleprompter and plugging it in…

3 Things Teleprompter Companies Don’t Tell You

teleprompter-dont-useWhen I bought my first teleprompter (I’ve bought several others since) I figured I would get home, write my script, and record an amazing video.

But not so fast Flywheel. I quickly realized there were added complications.

Since a number of Jive members have inquired in the past few weeks about teleprompters, I wanted to share with you those very real concerns:

1. You’ll need to buy video lighting as the teleprompter glass only lets through about 70% of the light. If you want to use a teleprompter, budget for at least two (if not three) softbox lights (valued at $250 each)

2. You’ll also need to learn how to write scripts for a teleprompter. This script-writing coupled with learning how to read from a teleprompter (which even celebrities, presidents and senators with lots of training have trouble with) is time intensive.

3. You’ll need to learn to start and stop the camera in sync with the teleprompter. This means two remotes. And necessitates editing the footage.

As you can tell, it’s quite tricky! (Watch the video at the top of this post for the full story.)

My Take

If you can talk to your customers in-person and on the phone, without a teleprompter, why do you need one to make your videos?

Especially considering the best kind of video is off-the-cuff?

Teleprompters, in my opinion are for Presidents and Newscasters: they have little utility in the business video world.

Unless you have perfected the usage over many years, they’ll make you sound like a robot— insincere and untrustworthy.

Scrap the expensive teleprompter and learn how to ad lib.

You’ll thank me for it later.

About the Author William Franco

Will is the Managing Director of jiveSYSTEMS and creator of the Digital Handshake™, a digital version of a time-proven tradition that turns tedious follow-up into a closing conversation. Will’s a hands-on guy, with a decade of experience enabling sales teams to leverage video. Will's an instant catalyst for positive change, once you get to know him, you’ll completely understand why.

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  • Jim de Geus says:

    Hey Will,

    Could you provide a link to your Scriptless Scripting technique that you mentioned in the video?


  • Paul says:

    I totally agree! Teleprompters are serious overkill for most people that want to produce videos.

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