For presenters and performers, live events can be both exciting and terrifying. That is why speakers often request a teleprompter or a confidence monitor to help them. If you are faced with the task of delivering a speech to a live audience, which one is better, a confidence monitor or a teleprompter? If you are still on the fence about this, this article will help you decide.
What is a Confidence Monitor?
Some people may call a confidence monitor a teleprompter (and vice versa), but they are two different things. A confidence monitor is not a teleprompter, per se, but its purpose is similar, so some people interchange the terms.
A confidence monitor is often a TV screen ranging in size from 32″ to 60″ that sits on the floor at the foot of the stage. It allows on-stage presenters or performers to see what slide is on the screens without turning their backs. Some speakers prefer to view one slide ahead, while others will need two or three confidence monitors to see any combination of the current slide, the one after, and possibly some notes.
However, confidence monitors are often used in the singing and performing industry. That is why it’s called a “Rock N Roll monitor.” This is due to the fact that they are best suited for events where speakers and entertainers will move around the stage while facing the crowd. The performers are free to walk, run, and bounce around the stage as they like, and they only need to look downstage to the monitor to see the song lyrics or whatever they need to present.
Confidence monitors come in a variety of sizes to meet a variety of locations and placements, ranging from those tiny enough to fit on a piano’s music rack to bigger monitors that may be put in large concert halls. Another setup option for confidence monitors is to free-stand them at the back of the audience. The only downside to this is that anyone from the audience could just look behind and see the text.
What is a Teleprompter?
Your best option for speaking in front of a live audience while standing on a podium is a teleprompter. A presidential teleprompter, for example, is a two-stand setup that allows a speaker to scan the audience from side to side without them knowing that he’s actually reading from a prompter. Politicians frequently utilize this type of teleprompter when giving speeches.
A confidence monitor works more straightforwardly than a teleprompter, but it’s not like the latter involves rocket science. A monitor is placed at the base of the stand and projects the script onto the beamsplitter glass panels rigged at the top of the stand. The speaker can then see the scrolling text in the mirror and reads the words to the audience.
Another more common type of teleprompter is a camera-mounted teleprompter. Its setup is similar to that of a presidential prompter but generally smaller. As the name suggests, it has a camera mounted behind the glass screen so the speaker can directly look at the camera while reading the scrolled text.
More often than not, presidential prompters are controlled by someone following along the script. On the other hand, camera-mounted prompters can be controlled by the speaker remotely, although he can also delegate that task to one of the staff standing nearby.
Confidence Monitor vs Teleprompter: What’s the Difference?
Many people think a confidence monitor and a teleprompter are the same, but they’re not. Here is a rundown of their differences:
- Teleprompters are best for speeches or informative videos, while confidence monitors are for performers and singers.
- Confidence monitors are typically giant TV screens, while a teleprompter is a setup that includes a camera, monitor, and mirror.
- Confidence monitors do not show a scrolling script as teleprompters do.
- Teleprompters work best for presenters on a podium, while confidence monitors are ideal for performers who move a lot on stage.
- Only the speaker can see the scrolling text on a teleprompter, but it’s possible for the audience to see what’s displayed on a confidence monitor.
Why You Shouldn’t Use a Confidence Monitor When Presenting
As repeatedly mentioned, confidence monitors are perfect for performers who move, run, and jump around the stage. It’s an ideal tool for singers and performers, but it does more harm than good when used in presentations.
Well, at first, the idea of using confidence monitors makes a lot of sense. With these monitors placed in front of the speaker, the presenter can look at the big screen behind him and avoid losing the audience’s connection. He simply looks down and glances at the screen at the foot of the stage.
However, think about this. When giving a presentation to an audience, you want to hold eye contact for as long as possible, explain a point, and then move on to the next person. The presence of confidence monitors, while likely to minimize presentation mistakes, teaches you to glance at the screen instead of looking at the audience. The issue is amplified since the monitor is often lower than your audience, causing you to look down or higher than your audience.
When presenting, remember that the crowd is following you. You are essentially the pied piper up on the stage; whichever way you look, they will most likely follow your gaze. So if you look away from the audience and gaze at the confidence monitor, you will instantly lose that connection with the audience. Suddenly, the presentation doesn’t seem natural.
Therefore, if you have prepared well enough in your presentation, just ditch the confidence monitors and rely on your preparation. Prepare your notes with you, just in case, but unplug or cover the screens so you will avoid falling into the trap of constantly looking at them and risk losing the audience’s interest.
Confidence monitors are great if you’re Adam Levine or Dua Lipa. They are fantastic tools for performers, but they may potentially harm your presentation.
What About Teleprompters?
Teleprompters are great tools in public speaking, but not so much if you need to present slides and charts to a live audience (although you may do so as you choose). However, if you are doing a presentation in the form of an informative video, a teleprompter is a lot better than a confidence monitor. In fact, you should forget about confidence monitors if you’re shooting videos. This technology allows you to read a script in front of a camera so that you can focus without hesitation.
Here are the benefits of using a teleprompter in your videos (and for public speaking):
- You avoid long moments when you have to look down at your notes (or look at confidence monitors).
- You instantly connect with your audience since you’re directly looking at them. This is true for live events using presidential teleprompters or shooting videos with a camera-mounted unit.
- During live speaking events, presidential teleprompters enable you to look to your left or right without missing a beat.
- Your gestures improve significantly when using a teleprompter. You’re only concentrating on your presentation because you don’t have to pay attention to your notes, the paragraph you’re on, changing the pages, raising and lowering your head, and so on. Your hands are now free, and they will also speak for you.
- You wouldn’t forget or say things you don’t intend to.
- The audience won’t see what you’re up to if you’re using a teleprompter. Prompters are more discreet, and the glass panels and poles blend seamlessly with the backdrop. They go overlooked in vast crowds. Nobody knows what it is, even in a small room with people directly in front of the glass.
- Even if you decide against using a teleprompter on the day of your speech, you can practice and prepare with it beforehand. This will help you improve in all areas of your presentation.
- Using teleprompters improves the pace and tone of the presentation. You can change the rate at which the words flow, resulting in varied rhythms and inflections for each section. It also lets you maintain complete control over the pauses during your address.
Confidence Monitor vs Teleprompter: Final Thoughts
Confidence monitors and teleprompters aim to help presenters deliver their lines in the best way possible. However, confidence monitors work best for performers such as singers, while teleprompters are ideal for public speaking and shooting informative videos.
How is that so? Confidence monitors are just huge TV screens situated on the foot of the stage that may contain presentation slides or lyrics. They do not automatically scroll like a teleprompter does. They are also not discreet and still visible to the audience. Therefore, a confidence monitor is more appropriate for singers and performers who run, walk and move on the stage.
On the other hand, teleprompters can automatically scroll text in the pacing that you like. This feature makes it suitable for live speeches and shooting informative videos. Using a teleprompter could significantly lessen mistakes and saves time. Presidential teleprompters, the type politicians and dignitaries use, even allow the speaker to scan side to side without losing eye contact with the audience.
If you’re looking to use one or the other, you may try it out first and decide. As mentioned, you may want to altogether ditch confidence monitors when delivering speeches. However, if you’re performing or singing the lyrics to a song, a confidence monitor will do the trick.