Coach Chris Answers Your Questions

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I want to master the teleprompter?


March 28, 2009
By Christine K. Jahnke

Attempting to "wing it" with a teleprompter is never a good idea. Just ask Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner whose debut before the American people did little to quiet concerns about the struggling economy.

While his boss President Obama has mastered the teleprompter and uses it for nearly all public appearances, Secretary Tim Geithner"s debut performance created a strong first impression, unfortunately all bad. Geithner was roundly criticized for being short on substance and long on a robotic speaking style. Rehearsal time was needed before he ventured onto live television to roll out the nation"s financial rescue plan.

First impressions are lasting make yours a positive one.

The teleprompter can be a tremendous tool that allows the speaker to use precise wording without appearing to be reading. The decision to use the prompter brings a much needed focus on speechwriting. It is nearly impossible to say something well if you haven't written it first. Taking time to wrestle with wording and sentence flow clarifies a speaker's thinking and allows the speech prep team to provide input and guidance. Coordinated team work can produce substantive, memorable speeches.

Woe to the speaker who declines a prompter rehearsal session for the tool can quickly turn into a crutch. Once the script is written, it's time to practice and it takes time to learn how to perfect a seemingly effortless delivery. The trick is coordinating eye contact on the rolling text with body movement and facial expression. The goal is for the audience not to suspect that a teleprompter is in use.

At Positive Communications we can help you be teleprompter ready.

We've helped dozens of business and trade association executives rehearse their teleprompter presentations for industry conferences and corporate conventions.

Every four years the Democratic National Committee hosts its national convention and Chris Jahnke has been a member of the speech rehearsal team since 1996. Chris provides teleprompter techniques to hundreds of Democratic Party leaders, Members of Congress, Cabinet Secretaries, celebrities, and real people, too!


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