You ask, what is a virtual teleprompter? A virtual teleprompter is a transparent app that was built to address the shift of at-home work due to the pandemic. The app sits on top of all open video conferences, browser windows, and applications. Allowing you to see who or what's behind the screen during online meetings or presentations.
Why a virtual teleprompter for online presentations?
2020 brought about immense change — to say the very least. The global population was and is still embracing a new and ever-changing “normal,” day by day. In the U.S., 42% of the American workforce that was used to “bringing home the bacon,” now do so without ever leaving their home. That resulted in Zoom quickly becoming one of our greatest tools in maintaining face-to-face communication with our colleagues, employees, employers, family and friends, and classmates.
And while virtual presentations bring a host of new challenges to presenting, the biggest question we still face is:
“How do you seamlessly deliver a virtual presentation that is just as engaging as it could be in person?”
That’s where VODIUM, your virtual podium, comes in. VODIUM is a virtual teleprompter that sits on top of Zoom. It enables you to maintain eye contact with your audience while presenting.
First, a little history of the teleprompter.
The teleprompter’s origin dates back to 1948 as a television actor’s tool. Actor Fred Barton Jr., “had an idea of connecting cue cards in a motorized scroll”. And then the teleprompter was born. It began as just a roll of butcher paper and a collection of pulleys, belts, and a motor in half a suitcase. Within only a few years, the in-camera teleprompter was patented (by the producer of I Love Lucy, Jess Oppenheimer). Media historian, Christopher Sterling, said of the first in-camera teleprompter: “Home viewers saw a smoother presentation, with a hell of a lot more eye contact.”
Political communications expert Kathleen Hall Jamieson says of the teleprompter’s effect,
“What the teleprompter did was increase the ability of the speaker to relate to the audience. There is a sense in which the speaker is communicating directly with you when talking to the camera.”
And today, this is exactly what virtual presentations have been missing.
But presenting virtually is just not the same.
Why? Because it’s really hard to connect with people through a screen, much less effectively communicate and make eye contact. It's been studied by communication experts that 70–93% of communication is non-verbal. And since physical human interactions are gone, the only tool we really have to connect with our audience is maintaining eye contact.
It turns out, eye contact and performance are still important virtually . Even if you are wearing sweatpants on the bottom, dress shirt on top. Whether presenting to a crowd of hundreds or speaking to a group over Zoom, eye contact is a signal of readiness for interaction. It allows the audience to fully process and focus on what you have to say.
Okay, okay so why a teleprompter for Zoom?
Well, not only are virtual presentations inherently frustrating, but no one has prepared us for this scenario. For example, how are you supposed to know that looking directly at someone’s video thumbnail on Zoom doesn’t actually mean you’re looking directly at them? Or how do you keep from looking up and down or back and forth at your notes looking incredibly obvious?
Professionals everywhere have had to make do with the technology available to them. And these results range from sticking Post-It notes onto desktop screens. Or putting your Word document under the camera without having any idea what’s going on behind it. It’s no wonder why presenting while making eye contact is so hard and virtual presentations are so frustrating, and unnerving. But it can get better with VODIUM.
By using VODIUM, you can kiss those days of MacGyvering goodbye. Much like physical teleprompters were vital tools in relaying critical information by everyone from high-powered leaders to your favorite local news anchor alike, a virtual teleprompter can help you maintain your presence and credibility and reference your notes or scripts while you present.
The app has your notes scroll just beneath your desktop or laptop camera. That way you can keep your eyes on your audience. You can adjust the speed of your script. And the transparency of the app, so you can see your video conference behind the app.
VODIUM allows you to step up your game. The teleprompter helps you be in control. And it empowers you to connect with your audience, just as if you were in person.