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Nov 29, 2023
3 mins read

What Are Cue Cards?

What Are Cue Cards? Your Guide to Mastering Presentations and Public Speaking

We’ve all been there - standing in front of a crowd, palms sweating, as we try to remember the next line of our speech or presentation. Whether you’re a seasoned public speaker or someone who dreads the idea of standing in front of an audience, the fear of forgetting your words is universal. Enter cue cards: a simple yet highly effective tool that has transformed public speaking for many. But what exactly are cue cards, and how can they be leveraged alongside modern technology like teleprompters and apps to ensure a flawless delivery? Let’s explore.

The Basics: Understanding Cue Cards

Traditionally, cue cards are small, handheld cards that contain key points or prompts to guide a speaker during a presentation or speech. They serve as a discreet reference point, enabling the speaker to glance down quickly for a cue without disrupting the flow of their delivery. The concept is straightforward, but the art of using cue cards effectively is something that can significantly enhance communication skills.

The Evolution: From Cue Cards to Teleprompters

While cue cards still hold their place in various settings, technological advancements have introduced a more sophisticated tool: the teleprompter. This device displays a script or speech text that scrolls at a controlled speed, synchronized with the speaker’s pace. Teleprompters are especially prevalent in broadcast environments but are increasingly being used in scenarios demanding a professional and seamless delivery of prepared remarks.

For those who might not have access to a teleprompter, fear not. The digital era has provided a variety of teleprompter apps and software that can turn any smartphone, tablet, or computer into a personal prompter. These digital solutions offer flexibility, allowing the user to customize font size, scrolling speed, and even mirror text if using reflective teleprompter hardware.

Cue Cards vs. Prompter Apps: Choosing What Works for You

When deciding between traditional cue cards and modern prompter solutions, consider the context of your presentation and your personal comfort level. Cue cards are portable, require no technology, and can be easily navigated at your pace. However, they can also be limiting in terms of space and may encourage more head-down time, which can disengage your audience.

Prompter apps and software, on the other hand, provide a more streamlined experience, ensuring you maintain eye contact with your audience while still having access to your speech text. These digital solutions are particularly beneficial for longer speeches or presentations, as they can handle extensive text without the need for physical space or the risk of dropping and shuffling paper cards.

Mastering the Art of Cue Utilization

Whether you opt for traditional cue cards or a digital prompter system, the key to success lies in how you use these tools. Here are some tips to mastering the art of cue utilization in public speaking:

  • Practice: Familiarity breeds confidence. Spend time practicing with your chosen method to ensure you are comfortable and can navigate your cues smoothly.
  • Brevity: Whether using cue cards or a teleprompter app, keep your prompts concise. Use keywords or short sentences that trigger your memory without needing to read verbatim.
  • Engagement: The purpose of cues is to aid your delivery, not serve as a crutch. Ensure you are engaging with your audience by maintaining eye contact and speaking naturally.
  • Pacing: Regulate your speech speed and allow natural pauses for emphasis and comprehension. Teleprompter programs often include speed control settings to assist with pacing.
  • Backup Plan: Technology can fail, and cue cards can be lost. Always have a backup plan, such as a printed copy of your speech or presentation notes handy.


In the realm of public speaking and presentations, cue cards have evolved from simple paper notes to sophisticated digital prompters. The choice between traditional cards and modern apps or software largely depends on personal preference, the nature of the presentation, and the speaker’s comfort with technology. Regardless of the method, the goal remains the same: to deliver your speech effectively, confidently, and engagingly. By mastering cue utilization through practice and strategic planning, you can transcend the fear of forgetting your lines and instead focus on connecting with your audience, delivering your message with impact. Remember, in the end, communication is about the human connection, and the tools we use are merely there to support us in making that connection stronger.