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Dec 21, 2023
4 mins read

The 4 Most Common Types of Teleprompters: How They Work and When to Use Them

The 4 Most Common Types of Teleprompters: How They Work and When to Use Them

The teleprompter: a remarkable tool that has transformed the art of public speaking, broadcasting, and presentation. Its ability to provide speakers with a seamless cue of their script has made it indispensable in various communication settings. From presidential addresses to YouTube videos, teleprompters ensure that the message is delivered flawlessly. However, not all teleprompters are created equal. There are several types, each serving distinct purposes and setups. In this article, we will explore the four most common types of teleprompters, demystifying how they work and guiding you on when to use them.

1. Camera Mount Teleprompters

How They Work: Camera mount teleprompters, the most recognized type, are positioned directly in front of a camera lens. They utilize a piece of clear glass or a beam splitter tilted at a 45-degree angle. A monitor below this glass displays the script, which is then reflected on the glass surface. From the speaker’s perspective, the text appears directly in front of them, allowing for direct eye contact with the audience (or camera). The camera, however, does not capture the reflected text due to its position behind the glass.

When to Use: This type is ideal for newscasts, professional video shoots, and any scenario requiring direct camera engagement. It’s perfect for individuals aiming to maintain eye contact with their audience while delivering a speech or presentation.

2. Presidential Teleprompters

How They Work: Presidential teleprompters consist of two clear glass panels positioned on either side of a podium. Much like camera mount teleprompters, these panels reflect the script from a monitor placed at the base. The glass is designed to be nearly invisible to the audience, creating an illusion that the speaker is engaging without any aids. A controller or an app can adjust the speed of the scrolling text, allowing for a seamless flow of speech.

When to Use: As the name implies, presidential teleprompters are a staple in political speeches but are also prevalent in keynote presentations and any situation requiring a more formal and direct audience engagement. They are perfect for speakers who need to move freely without being bound to a podium yet still require access to their notes.

3. Floor or Stand Teleprompters

How They Work: These prompters are positioned on the floor or on a stand, slightly below and in front of the speaker. Unlike the camera mount teleprompter, they may not be directly in the camera’s line of sight, depending on their positioning and the setup’s specifics. They still utilize a reflective glass angled to display the text from a monitor positioned below.

When to Use: Floor or stand teleprompters are versatile and can be used in various settings, from live events to lecture halls. They are particularly useful for speakers who prefer a less intrusive prompter setup and for venues where mounting a teleprompter on a camera or setting up presidential-style systems is not feasible.

4. Tablet or Smartphone Teleprompters

How They Work: Utilizing the same principle of reflection, tablet or smartphone teleprompters are compact and highly portable solutions. They often consist of a small rig where a tablet or phone is placed below a piece of reflective glass or beam splitter. There are numerous apps and software available that transform these devices into effective teleprompters. This method provides a cost-effective and highly accessible teleprompter setup that can be used in various environments.

When to Use: This type is ideal for content creators, educators, and anyone on the go needing a prompter for blogs, online tutorials, and informal presentations. Given its portability and affordability, it is an excellent choice for those just beginning their foray into using teleprompters or working with limited budgets.

Choosing the Right Teleprompter App or Software

Regardless of the teleprompter type you choose, the effectiveness of the prompter greatly depends on the app or software you select. Look for a prompter app that allows for easy script uploading, customizes text size, and adjusts scrolling speed. Some software also offers remote control functionality, either through another device or a foot pedal, allowing for seamless speech delivery.

Tips for Using Teleprompters in Public Speaking

  1. Practice: Familiarize yourself with the teleprompter setup before your actual presentation. Practice will make the use of the device seem natural.

  2. Maintain Natural Eye Movement: Avoid the temptation to read word-for-word in a monotone voice. Practice varying your gaze and speaking as if you’re conversing with someone, maintaining natural eye movement.

  3. Adjust the Speed: Work with your prompter app or program to find a scrolling speed that matches your natural speaking rhythm.

  4. Know Your Speech: Even with a teleprompter, it’s vital to know your material. This familiarity will help you recover smoothly should you lose your place or in case of technical difficulties.


Teleprompters have revolutionized public speaking, offering speakers the ability to deliver messages with confidence and precision. Whether you’re delivering a keynote address, filming a video for online audiences, or presenting in a classroom, there’s a teleprompter setup that fits your needs. By understanding how the different types work and when to use them, you can enhance your communication skills and make your presentations more effective and engaging. Always remember, the key to successful public speaking, even with the assistance of technology, lies in the marriage of thorough preparation and genuine connection with your audience.