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How to ace Autocue

Top tips

Making you look good…

Autocue. It’s reading out loud! How hard can it be? Well, you’d be surprised….

We’ve seen lots of people who are brilliant presenters and speakers, but put them in front of Autocue, and they turn all “Tin man” on us. So here are Dependable Production’s 5 top tips to becoming an Autocue wizard!

Look into the eyes…

1.Know your script. You’ve got your script. Now before you get in front of the Autocue, READ IT OUT LOUD!!. It’s so different from reading in your head and you’ll be amazed how this highlights any tricky words or phrases that look fine on paper. So, read your script aloud and remove or rewrite any stumbling blocks.

2. Be the boss. Your autocue will probably be controlled by an operator. Remember, they are there to make YOU look good and will follow your lead. YOU set the speed you are speaking, not them. Don’t try to beat them, it’s not a race. If you pause, they will pause. You can also ask the operator to set the font size to suit your eyesight.

3. Look into the eyes. Remember, you are not just reading the words on the Autocue, you are also looking directly into the camera and speaking to the audience beyond the lens.  So try to speak to the camera as if it was a person and not a machine. Hold your eyeline and try, if you can, not to track your eyes along the sentence.

4. Get the right body language. There’s a tendency when the nerves set in, to “lock” the upper body and refuse to move it. This NEVER happens when people talk naturally – so why do it now? It will make you look nervous and reduce your credibility. So feel free to move, to gesticulate, to be expressive – just as if you were in a normal conversation.
Set the tone for the piece with the way you move your body. Are you delivering good news? If so – SMILE!  If it’s bad news, show your empathetic side – perhaps a tilt of the head would work. And remember at the end – hold on! So many people finish what they are saying and then straightaway slump and come out of “character” before the camera stops rolling. You need some room at the beginning and the end to edit in and out, so hold the mood until you hear “CUT!”.

5. Critique yourself. Try learning a few lines and then reading them in front of the mirror or on your smart phone. Try different ways of delivery. Reviewing your take can be very revealing. You may notice things like rocking or repetitive actions that you weren’t aware of, but that can distract from the message. If you are not happy, then do it again.

Good Luck!