Leadership in Focus: Teleprompter Advice

November 15th, 2016 Vern Oakley

I wonder if the teleprompter had anything to do with the outcome of the election? I know from experience that putting leaders in front of a teleprompter can sometimes help and sometimes hinder in getting the message across.

It’s a difficult thing to make it appear natural, but practice makes perfect.
→ The Leadership in Focus Video Series covers multiple topics from the interviews. Be sure to view the rest of the series.

Transcript follows:

David Brancaccio: Certainly not everyone has to use a teleprompter, but if there is something very specific that has to be said, where every nuance matters, sometimes teleprompter is unavoidable, what do you do?

Vern Oakley: Practice. Practice makes perfect. You know, it’s like skiing. If you’ve never skied before, and you put on your skis, you expect to get to the bottom of the slope not falling down? Also, it’s the script. A lot of the scripts that we see on teleprompters are much more like speeches, and they don’t capture the sort of lilts and tone of the conversation, and allowing time. I guess the best person I ever saw, it was like five times on a teleprompter before they sort of got it. You know, a lot of CEOs are so accomplished, and so used to winning at almost everything they do, that, you know, by the time they do something like being on a teleprompter, and they haven’t done it before, that’s when they’ll go like, “Oh, well I’ll get it right the next time.” People have a thirst to connect with a leader, so even if they’re not perfect, you know, even if they’re reading off a teleprompter, at least they’re putting that communication out there.