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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I think we shot at least 50 videos in one day, which to me was amazing. That was probably the thing I was most nervous about when you said we were going to shoot 50 videos, I thought we would be here until midnight and it’s well short of midnight when we finished. So I’m really pleased with the amount of work that we got done in one day.
I would say call Gerry. He’ll spend the time with you on the phone to talk to you about what he does. It’s not a hard sell.

Stephen Hamilton
Law Office of Stephen Hamilton