Why Using a Teleprompter is Bad For Lawyers Who Create Video to Market Their Law Firm

prompterWe’re lawyers, dammit! We’re not newscasters.

Having said that, you’d think that since we use the written word every day, we’d have no problem using a teleprompter to get our message out onto video.

First, a teleprompter is simply a glorified laptop that spits out a verbatim transcript of what you want to say. The words are reflected on a piece of glass that sits in front of your camera lens. The camera sees through the lens while at the same time allowing you to read the words. The reflected words you see are invisible to the camera.

There are three huge hurdles to using a teleprompter effectively.

  • First is that reading a script is stilted and unnatural.
  • Second, the technical ability of controlling the speed of the script is challenging, especially if you’re doing this on your own.
  • Third, you must spend the time to write out, word for word, what you want to say and how you want to say it. That involves lots of preparation.

Imagine this scenario…

You’re at trial.
You’re standing in front of the jury about ready to give your opening remarks.
The judge says to proceed.
You grab your note pad and begin reading.
Word for word.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, my name is Gerry Oginski and I have the privilege of representing…”

Imagine if you were to read your entire opening argument from your note pad. How do you think you’d come across to the jury?

Even if you could put that into a teleprompter and practice hundreds of times, how well do you think you’d connect with your jurors?

The reality is that a teleprompter is a crutch. It inhibits your ability to think on your feet. It prevents you from having a ‘normal’ conversation with your viewer.

The key to connecting with your online viewer is that conversational pitch and tone. If you are artificial, that seeps through.

Honestly, I don’t like using a teleprompter and never have. In my own marketing videos for the Lawyers Video Studio, I have used a teleprompter many times. I don’t like it. I do much better without one. I never, ever recommend that my clients use a teleprompter to create attorney marketing videos. It’s not natural and lawyers who use them don’t look comfortable.

Besides, you can almost always tell when someone is reading their content. Watch their eyes. It gives them away.

Instead, I always recommend using outlines. That allows you, the attorney, to have a great conversation with your viewer.

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2 Responses to Why Using a Teleprompter is Bad For Lawyers Who Create Video to Market Their Law Firm

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Gerry Oginski is the master of online video. If you have not seen his videos, you should. He’s done more videos than any lawyer out there. The big edge that Gerry has over his competition is that his videos allow consumers to get to ‘know’ him before they even pick up the phone. His use of video on his website and his video blog is amazing.

Ben Glass
Founder of Great Legal Marketing and a practicing personal injury trial attorney in Fairfax, VA