Show Up and Shine – The Podcast is now LIVE!

The Podcast all about finding your voice, clarifying your messaging and public speaking

In this episode, I chat to Anne Berry who is the owner and teleprompt operator for SpeakEasy Teleprompt Queensland. For over 10 years she has thrived on helping presenters in Queensland look and sound great.
Whether it be a presentation to the camera or to an event audience, her goal is to connect with the person giving the speech and ensure they feel relaxed and comfortable with using a teleprompter.
From the layman to the expert, Anne prides herself on ensuring her client’s presentation is the best it can be, and she does all that she can to enable them!

In this episode with Anne, you’ll learn:

  • The approach she takes to giving her clients a little training on how to get the most from having the words of their speech at the ready and scrolling (by Anne) at their pace and takes the client through rehearsals with tips and suggestions prior to the actual speech
  • How customer service is her priority and how it thrills her to see her client’s reactions to a teleprompter – when they discover how easy it is to work with a professional like myself and how happy they are with the results
  • What she does in her downtime –I’m talkin’ powerwalking, making people laugh, seeking inspiration for interior decorating or dreaming of my next travel destination and learning to fly an ultralight plane during the Christmas holidays (as you do!)

Read the show notes below:

Show Up and Shine Up – Episode 1 – Featuring Anne Berry

Duration: 33 minutes, 33 seconds 

Intro:

Welcome to this episode of show up and shine, a podcast, all about helping busy business people get out of their own way in order to show up fully authentically and shine.

A bit about Bec:

I’m Bec from Bec Djapovic communications – where we help bold business bosses with clever copywriting, high-quality voice overs and speaking coaching, so they can achieve their dreams, business and life without burning out. I’m a former triple threat stage performer, a singer, mum, partner, and all-round creative. 

Introducing our amazing guest:

Joining me today on this episode is Anne Berry. She is the owner and teleprompter operator for speakeasy teleprompt Queensland. For over 10 years, she has thrived on helping presenters in Queensland, look and sound great. Whether it be a presentation to camera or a live event audience, the goal is to connect with the person, giving the speech and ensure they feel relaxed and comfortable with using a teleprompter.

From the layman to the expert Anne prides herself on ensuring her client’s presentation is the best it can be and she does all she can to enable them.

All the juicy bits we’ll be covering in today’s episode:

In this episode with Anne, you’ll hear about the approach Anne takes to giving her clients a little training on how to get the most out of their presentation. From having the words of their speech at the ready, to scrolling at their own pace. Anne takes her clients through rehearsals with tips and suggestions prior to the actual speech. 

You’ll also learn how customer service is Anne’s priority. How it’s real to her to see her clients’ reactions to a teleprompter when they discover how easy it is to work with a professional like her and how happy they are with the results. 

Also covered in this episode is what Anne does in her downtime. We’re talking power walking, making people laugh, seeking inspiration for interior decorating or dreaming of her next travel destination – which we all kind of dreaming about at the moment. We’ll also hear about the time that she learnt to fly an upright plane during her Christmas holidays a year ago, that one sounds really, really interesting. 

The exclusive Anne Berry Q & A:

Q1: So before we dive in, I’m going to put you on the spot – a little bit. I want to know if you were stranded on a desert island, what’s the one thing that you would like to have with you?

Anne’s Answer: A book!

Q2: How nice, and are you reading a book at the moment?

Anne’s Answer: I’m reading a whole collection of short stories at the moment, but my favourite author is Ernest Hemingway. Years ago I bought an early edition of his first 80 short stories, which are a whole compilation of shorter stories. I read them over and over again because I just find his work so invigorating, especially the way he in a sentence can describe something. I find he is fantastic with detail.

I don’t think I’ve ever picked up an Ernest Hemingway book as yet, which is kind of a kick up my butt because you know, he’s one of the greats. We all have our own. We are all unique in our taste.

Q3: Now Anne, the audience wants to know what is a tele-prompted business? What does it do exactly?

 Anne’s Answer: Well a teleprompter business in my case is an independent contractor who goes along to events or camera shoots and scrolls a script for the presenter. I work at large events, small events (of late), virtual events, not surprising. I also do camera shoots for TV channels, for small organizations, more privately for people who are doing something for their websites, and much larger camera shoots that may be a series of webinars, that kind of thing.

Q4: What’s the motivation behind starting a teleprompter business and becoming an owner and operator? Was it the experience of working in marketing and events before? What’s the motivation there?

Anne’s Answer: I was ready to work independently because I’d worked for a whole range of large and small companies for a while.

I’d had a great opportunity to live and work overseas. When I came back to work in the gold coast, there wasn’t a lot of corporate marketing to do here, so I went to Brisbane. I’d worked for a lot of people for a long time and I really felt comfortable and happy and confident in my own skin to say, right, I need a new challenge. 

Luckily this was actually an existing tele-prompter business that I took over and have expanded since. The person I bought the business from had an existing clientele, and she’d actually come from a TV background and then there’s me coming in from an events background. 

This meant that having organized events previously, I knew what it’s like on the day when there’s manic and just so many last minute things that happen – and I could understand why I just needed to be calm in the storm, where everything’s easy going, anything you need I can do. I then realized a big change was needed and I was ready to work for myself.

Amazing! 

Q5: What did you find that surprised you? What did you learn from going from working for other people to then working for yourself?

Anne’s Answer: That I’m a great boss!

That’s awesome, and something we don’t hear too often. I know personally that I’m a really tough boss. I’m so hard on myself to get the standard that I think I can achieve.

Q6: So talk to me about how you’ve become a great boss?

Anne’s Answer: Well I’m very understanding and empathetic, and I have a lot of time to listen.

My boss is my business and I’m the trademark – I am my business. I’m really a person of integrity and I really care about what I’m doing and I love what I do! I want people to get the best experience they can from it. 

I’ve always had that attitude in my other work life, and that came across quite easy and comfortably for me. I’d had a lot of experience working on projects, working with budgets, accounts, and that kind of thing. So as thrilling as that part can be (not), it would mean that I could follow through on that as well.

I really just love helping people. No matter whether it is in life or work, I just love helping people and making them feel great about themselves and great about what they’re doing.

Being in a real full-service role, it just blew me away how much I enjoyed it, and truly because the people I work with are amazing. Like all of the people in the media, the various presenters, the CEOs, the politicians, all the people that I’ve worked with, are lovely. They really appreciate your help and they go out of their way to come and say, thank you afterwards – which I’ve got to say, I didn’t have as much of that in corporate life.

I think having that feedback loop immediately when you’re actually on site with an event, with the team, and with the person that you’re helping, is really valuable. I don’t know a lot of corporate careers have that kind of feedback loop – you’d know that well, but I don’t know. I’ve never really worked in a corporate environment. I spent six months in a corporate business and I was like, “Oh no, this is not for me”.

Just to throw one more thing in – I always hated the dreaded meeting. So when I see these particular events, and I’d be talking to people and they’re like, “Oh, we’ve had another meeting today and we went over all of the same stuff again” – and I’m like “Yes, I’m not in that”!

It seems like meetings happen all the time. When I work with corporate clients or agencies, whether it’s corporate copywriting or whatever, there’s always a meeting in the afternoon – and I’m like, when does any work get done?

I find obviously working for yourself, you get to be more efficient, I suppose. You set your own agenda or your client sets the agenda and then you’re the one who’s answerable.

Q7: So tell me, you’ve mentioned working with different clients, from actors or politicians. Tell me a story about one client that you really, really enjoyed working with, and why that was?

Anne’s Answer: Oh gosh, it’s hard to narrow down one. I’m just looking down my list here, it was a really good exercise. I went through and made a list last night of sort of the key people.

One person who I adored is Julie Andrews. I grew up watching movies like The Sound of music, and she was an absolute delight – as famous as she is and for as long as she’s worked in the business. She was doing a show at Qpac where she was talking about her life. To make sure she stayed on track, she had pointers that I was doing the teleprompter for it – and I must say I was absolutely blown away. I don’t often get really star struck but with Julie Andrews, it was really magnificent. And she’s tiny! She’s an absolutely tiny little lady as well, which I hadn’t expected.

I was trying to come up with small talk to talk to her about, and she was the one asking me stuff, and I’m like, ahhh what do I say?

We were walking around the stage and going through her rehearsal, and we walked up into the chairs in the audience in Qpac to make sure that she could see what the angle was going to be like for her. She was the one who was making sure I was, relaxed and calm, and she was exceptionally friendly – asking me questions about me and my life. It was just gorgeous. I mean, you go over and above, for everyone that you work with, but with someone who I admired so much and sang along to all the songs with her for so long it was just beautiful.

It’s absolutely interesting because you have such an array of people that you work with, and they’re all in different industries and with exposure, with a voice, comes a certain power and comes sense of having control. There’s such a difference between the people who take that position and make their ego’s explode, versus someone who’s in such a glorious position, but understands, remembers and stays humble about it. I think that’s definitely something that you would see in the events that you’re doing.

In my career as a performer, the most interesting and wonderful person that I’ve worked with was Hugh Jackman – who’s exactly the same. He is the most humble person who understood that his position was a position of power. He was also in a position to serve others and to work as a connection and to be a role model and understand. He’s gotten where he is not ever by himself, but through the connections and through the things that he’s given to other people as well. That’s just an awesome story about people who are wonderful in their profession and who stay humble.

One more of my favourites was Eric Brenner. He was writing one of David Attenborough’s shows called The Planet, it was a show about travelling around Australia. It was shown at The Brisbane Entertainment Center and he was narrating it. He was lovely, and made lots and lots of jokes, just like having a chat with your next door neighbour. Working with him was a fantastic job with Imagine Entertainment Center and he’s narrating it, but also during the intermission and that segues from one program to the other. 

So all of these wonderful people, the newsreaders that I’ve worked with who bake and bring in cookies for all the crew – They’re just absolute sweethearts. That was the most surprising thing, I thought I might be dealing with egos, but they were just great!

It’s such a good message to all of our listeners who have aspirations about making their way up in the world, in having more influence, stay humble – cause you’ll see Anne and she’ll be holding you accountable..

Q8: Talk to me about how the role in marketing and events helped you understand the stressors in preparing for a day, or an event, and how that helps you be a great support to your clients?

Anne’s Answer: Absolutely, I had worked for a human resources company and we had an annual event, along with other smaller training courses. I organized a major of energy which was a marketing opportunity for a software that we promoted, as well as imparting information about human resources and analytics. Sounds thrilling, doesn’t it!

I was the main person who organized this every year and I had enormous checklists of what needs to be done and there’s so much detail that goes into it. I had a team who sort of dipped in and out in helping me with all of that. I found that incredibly stressful, from the marketing to the venue, through to accepting registrations, et cetera. I was really in the thick of it in organizing this along with other marketing parts to the role. 

Through this I knew what it was like in the lead up to an event. I know how on the day, when we’re taking registrations and running around, I knew what it was like to just be able to talk to somebody and then say, yes, that’s no problem, I can do that.

Taking that onboard, I usually get lots of versions of scripts beforehand, and then I get another version on the day – so it’s always a case of ‘sure I’ll come over’, we’ll just make that change now or just tell me what you want done and I’ll do it. 

Often I get there, I set up, we do a rehearsal, and then I have a lot of spare time. So I’m always going up to the organizer and saying, what can I do? Do you want me to put things out on the table? Can I do anything as far as typing up something for you? Do you need any signs done? Is there somebody I can help pack bags with? You know, so making sure that they’re paying me to be there to be a teleprompt provider, but an extra set of hands never goes astray. Knowing what it’s like to do that job, and that you don’t need somebody to question you just do it!

That customer service piece, you’re going above and beyond for the clients above and beyond and what you’re employed to do, and therefore you’re going to be memorable.

For all of our business listeners, we know that word of mouth is a huge part of business, so showing up and serving people is a great way to remind people about your product and how it stands out from someone else’s services and products.

Along the lines of that, a lot of my events are annual, so as a reminder, if I haven’t heard from the client, when usually they book say three months in advance – I’ll send them a note because I know they’ve got that massive to do list. I’ll just send them a note, after I’ve Googled to see if their event has shown up on a website. I’ll contact them and say, I’m just checking in to see if you want me to come in and help you out this year?, and they’ll be like, Oh, thanks so much. I haven’t got to yet, yes, please book me in.

A hundred percent, and that’s kind of the thing. I know when I was learning about PR and trying to move my entertainment business forward (which is, a lot of yourself), they told us that especially if you’re reaching out to press or PR, people are busy and they actually appreciate it if you send a little reminder or a follow-up. You could frame it as doing a service, versus ‘oh, am I being annoying’? Am I bugging them? Is it going to be soon? Obviously don’t do it like every week especially if you haven’t refined your approach either.

Just one other thing, as part of the service, when I receive the script in advance, I spend time going through the content. Some people write scripts and they write it for reading, not for speaking. So often I’ll go through and I may pick up on a few things. I may go in advance, but usually, on the day I would say, ‘Oh, I was just reading through this and I wondered if this is, how you’ve meant to frame it’ Or maybe it reads more like reading rather than speaking. What do you think of maybe expressing it this way, or giving them a chance gently. Sometimes they may say, that’s what I received. Don’t touch it, fine – but otherwise, it’s making sure that they present themselves the best way they possibly can.

Q9: So as you’re saying that, for me, I’m thinking, if that was my script, I’d want it maybe a week before with those thoughts, to reframe it differently so that I could practice. I need to practice the things to get it, you know? So how do they respond on the day? Like you said, some of them say too late?

Anne’s Answer: I would say it to them with as much time prior as possible. To give them a chance to think about it and either change it at that time or come back to me and say, no. As you say, I’ve already practiced it and I want to leave it alone. I may just make a little tweak. That’s a good compromise, but it’s still better than what it was.

Yes because it’s all about framing them to be the best they can be and appear in the best light they can be. That’s lovely. 

Q10: There are lots of apps out there at the moment as people are recording themselves a lot on camera at home, or maybe they’re hiring a studio. Talk to me about the difference between what you do and getting one of those apps?

Anne’s Answer: I would say that an app can’t train you and an app can’t give you advice, it can’t keep you calm, it can’t take you through suggestions on your script. It can’t follow your pace. It can’t set up the look and feel of the words on the teleprompter to make sure that you’re not looking left to right. 

It’s all about the service that I bring around the equipment. My equipment is more sophisticated than what you would get with an app and an iPad. I am there to make you look good, and I have all the knowledge and all of the advice and I can take you through training. I may take you through a first read and I’ll just let you go – so you can get used to seeing the word scrolling up on the screen. Then we may go through the script again, and between the first and second practice, I would’ve given you a few tips and made you feel relaxed. You would then read through the first half and then I’ll come back and probably give you another step.

So I’m not bombarding you with lots and lots of advice, and you’re like, hang on, what was she saying? And what am I doing now? I’ll just take you through things gradually. So you can practice it with each new thing or a couple of things with each run-through. So by the time we get to the actual recording, you’ve got it. It’s like you’ve been reading all the time from a teleprompter.

That’s wonderful, and I think that the key point is that the app can’t do the pacing which is a really nuanced thing. I remember a story when I was recording a video, for a lawyer. It was like a really cool lawyer ad, and it was my first time working with a teleprompter. It was from an acting studio the guy used to work in broadcast journalism, and he had some setup, and I remember that it was so fast. Like as it was going, I thought, this doesn’t feel natural, and we wanted this to be a very natural conversation. As it went through he’s slowed down the pace a bit, but I suppose what you’re saying is that you can change the pace and space between words, and if the person wants to slow down you get a sense about where they’re going and you follow their natural pace. I think that’s really important. That’s a real key part of it.

As part of the briefing, I always say to them that whenever we speak or give a presentation, whether you’re standing behind a lectern or in front of an audience, you’re naturally speeding up and slowing down. When you’re giving emphasis to something you’re slowing down, you may even pause more often to let it sink in before you move onto the next thing. I’ve got a little controller, which has got a wheel on it, so I can just slow and speed up and slow and speed up as you need it. 

So when you’re looking at the screen, you’ll keep your eye line for the camera in particular, and I’ll make sure the words are at your eye level, as you’re saying them. With an app, I had somebody come up to me and say, Oh, I’m pace 4 on the app, and I said well, your pace Anne now aren’t you because you’re actually working with me.

You’re the one who can drive it, but if we do some practices and we find that you’re going too quickly and that, you may want me to slow you down, I can do that too. That way they can feel comfortable that they’re driving the bus. However, if they’re concerned that some people would just speak really quickly and it’s crazy, and you can’t really pick up on what they’re saying and all the details – but because it’s so fast. I can slow them down a little bit, not so that it’s dragging out boring, but slow enough where they still stay at a pace that shows their personality, and it’s easier to listen and hear them.

I love that. 

Q11: You talked about people standing at a lectern verses, standing in a studio behind the camera. What are the kinds of tips that you give for their body language?

Anne’s Answer: Body language standing at a lectern is an interesting one because some people grip onto the sides and white knuckle it – people can come up and think, ‘I just want to get this thing over and done with’. I say to them, whether you go faster or a bit slower, whether you’re nervous or relaxed, it’s going to take about the same amount of time, so relax and enjoy it. Not how you’d stand when you’re standing and talking to a friend, because that might be a bit too relaxed, but how would you normally stand if you’re talking to somebody in the kitchen at the office? You’re not going to be leaning over necessarily, you’re probably going to be standing there, or maybe you’ve got your hand on a chair or something.

So have that kind of comfortable stance that makes you feel relaxed, number one, don’t put your hands on or press your hands repeatedly on the lectern and I emphasize this because that mucks up with the microphone because it’ll come through as a boom on the microphone and it’ll take away from what you’re saying. So try and, press lightly when you put your hands on the lectern if you find that gives you a bit of stability, have your legs slightly apart so you’re not going to start wavering a little bit. If you’re a person who talks through the ‘ands’, then talk with your hands, it’s partly about projecting your normal personality when you’re giving a presentation.

When you’re using a teleprompter at a lectern, you’ve probably seen where it’s got a screen which is on each side, and you’ve got glass panels on each side of the lectern, which is so you can look from left to right. Then if you’re reading on one side, you can pause slightly in the centre and then move across to the other side. They do disappear, I mean part of my job is that I have to be very discrete because a lot of companies and people don’t want it known that they’re using a teleprompter.

I don’t know if I should say this, it’s quite a funny thing. I was working for correction services and they were doing a presentation to their staff. I set up for them and they said that the glass panels around the lectern look like spit guards, or security from prisoners, if they were presented to. I then told them what the glass panels are for and they said, Oh, I’m so sorry, and I said, that is the best thing I’ve heard all day. I love it. So either this spit guard, as in people spitting at them, not them spitting at us, or it’s all for security. So yeah, I just thought that was great.

Q12: So as we’re wrapping up, this has been such a fun and informative conversation. I know I have to let you go because you’ve got a booking on today. But before we wrap up, you mentioned something that was really quite cool. Something that you’re adding to your cap. Tell us what that that is?

Anne’s Answer: Well with COVID, we all have found things that we needed to branch into. So I sort of kept in with the whole event thing, and I’ve decided I wanted to become a celebrant. I’m about to start studying and I think marriage celebrant, not sure about funerals at this stage because I might get a bit upset. So becoming a celebrant and I’m thinking how I could help fathers of the bride and best men give presentations if they use teleprompter – if they’re so inclined, because so often people have said to me, I got so nervous and I just blanked and I couldn’t think of what to say at the wedding.

That crossover is such a great idea and knowing you for a little while now, I think that it would just be such a great role for you. People will be very lucky to have you to support them with all your experience. If you need a writer to help those father’s of the bride’s and best men – I will help out, and a singer!

Isn’t that wonderful. I know you’re going to be right there, girl.

We’ve got so many cross similarities.

Q13: So where can people find you Anne? Where do you live on the web? Where can people connect with you?

Anne’s Answer: They can connect with me through http://www.speakeasyq.com.au/.

I’ve also got a LinkedIn profile, so you can find me at Anne Berry Speakeasy Queensland.

Or please send me an email to speakeasyq@gmail.com 

Yeah, absolutely. I’m sure that there’ll be people listening to this who will be like, Oh, wow. I want to know more about what Anne’s doing and I’ve got this event coming up and this would be really, really helpful.

Thank you so much again Anne and for everybody listening, I just want to remind you to share the podcast with someone else, if you’ve found value in it.

If you like what you’ve heard today, then we’d really appreciate it if you would review the podcast because your positive reviews and recommendations will help us reach more people with this message.