Each spring, we field frantic calls from colleges and universities asking how stage teleprompters are supposed to accommodate public speakers of all heights.  Students, Chancellors, Provosts, Presidents, faculty and the coveted special guest speaker… peeps ranging in height from 4’8” to 7’2”!

Gone are the days of flipping through the 30+ missorted cue cards or intense speech memorizations.  Let’s face it… It’s not in anyone’s best interest to have a CEO spend his or her time memorizing a 15-minute script. Poetic opening remarks deserve barely a glance down at the podium because eye contact is everything during that critical message.  As one event coordinator for the UC system told us, “We want students to know we’re concerned about them. We don’t want them to have their last memory be the tops of the heads of their leaders.”

Cutting-edge technology dictates that presidential-style speech teleprompters should be used, but what happens when Dr. J approaches the podium after Dr. Ruth’s memorable speech?  And… what happens when each university or college has multiple schools of graduation on different days? Robotics to the rescue!

No longer does anyone have to run onstage to adjust the height of the prompter for the next speaker.  The operator sets the exact height for each performer or speaker in advance and then, as soon as one person is finished, uses the remote control to adjust the height to fit the next person. Our TeleStepper automated rise and fall teleprompting stand automatically positions the teleprompting glass at just the right eyeline, regardless of a person’s height.  When no longer needed (or when Bucky Badger starts his wild Wisconsin stage dance), TeleSteppers disappear from sight.  The same disappearing act also works wonders when a slew of photographers and proud parents are determined to photograph every graduate from every angle as they walk across that stage.

All 2,850 of them 😉

Thom Tanner


It’s no secret the President of the United States relies upon TeleStepper for his weekly prompted speeches, but last Thursday, 23 additional presidents also chose TeleStepper!


CSU 2025 Initiative Conference and Telestepper

Sacramento, California was the site of last week’s CSU 2025 initiative conference, with a goal of boosting graduation rates at all state universities. And as a Chico grad, I was happy to learn the official moderator, Dr. Gayle Hutchinson IS also Chico State’s president!

 In addition to Dr. Hutchinson, Dr. Loren Blanchard, Executive Vice-Chancellor and Governor Gavin Newsom provided closing remarks.  With all 23 CSU University Presidents in attendance, TeleStepper would need to silently adjust to the varied heights of all Presidents and special guest speakers at the two-day conference which represented over 484,300 students!  TeleStepper’s rise-and-fall robotic system quickly and reliably adjusted to all eyelines, controlled remotely with our compact LCD keypad.  During Q &A or when the conference was over, TeleStepper also retracted from view of the press, allowing them to capture better photographs!

 It is an honor for TeleStepper to be chosen as the official robotic teleprompter for this event, but afterwards I received yet another… knowing my alma mater’s President used our product!

 Which took only 29 years after my graduation…

 Dr. Hutchinson and I spoke after the event, and she learned I graduated Chico State in 1990.  She asked several questions about TeleStepper and our involvement in politics and business.  Afterwards, she gave me her business card and said with a big smile, “Email me…I hear a story coming on for our Alumni news!”

 An honor indeed.

Thom Tanner

October 22, 2019


Growing up, the Lincoln Memorial and Capitol Mall was important to me in symbolizing famous speeches and historic events.  In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his amazing “I have a Dream” speech to over 250,000 people.  The mall, viewed from either end is stunning, and has been used in many historic films.

Less than 4 years ago, I quit my 19-year, good paying job to co-develop a product that was eventually selected by the White House Communications Agency for use by the President and Vice-President.  One of my motivators in starting TeleStepper was an old fortune cookie message I kept from college.  It simply read, “Your dreams are your best guide to the future.”

This past weekend I was both gratified and proud to see our TeleStepper used by President Trump in addressing thousands on the historic Capitol Mall.  And later in the day, it was again used at Mt. Rushmore for our nation’s 244th birthday celebration.

While this past weekend was important to our country and history, it was also important to me in knowing our team produced an American-made product that made these speeches possible.

This post is about TeleStepper’s journey in the business world, and a silly fortune cookie message that became a motivator.  Like Dr. Martin Luther King, I also had a dream and I hope others will realize that dreams are worth listening to!

Thom Tanner

July 22, 2020


All eyes were on Washington for Inauguration Day, with our TeleStepper placed front and center!  Only in a pandemic world we would find the “PSG”, a distinctive staff member assigned to quickly wiping down and sanitizing the mic and podium after each speaker left the stage.  The full article can be read at


Today’s business tools are undoubtedly plentiful. From time-saving apps, management software, outsourcing and even office robots, we scramble to judge each by its return on investment- based upon our specific needs. But one tool consistently ranks best across all business lines: effective internal and external communication- no matter what yardstick is used. The best product or service won’t stand a chance without that connection, and we know quite well a satisfied customer is the best businesas strategy of all.

Years ago, while attending my state university I noticed our campus was frequently courted by noble, blue-chip companies such as Intel and B of A. With much larger universities at their disposal, I approached the hiring manager for one such corporation and asked him, “Why do you recruit so heavily at Chico State?”

His answer surprised me: “Although your university may be smaller, it has a huge social presence. We desperately need new employees who can communicate, because they become our most valuable asset. Someone who can communicate a good idea is worth more to us than someone who can’t communicate an excellent idea.”

To this day, his sentiments about business communication couldn’t be more spot-on. With 93% of marketing professionals claiming direct eye contact is critical to ensure customer trust and rapport, they also say this key ingredient of improved communication:

  • Creates the most effective client/company partnerships
  • Makes clients feel more secure with their purchases
  • Helps staff feel they’re working towards common goals
  • Boosts client comprehension- which is the ultimate goal of good communication!

So… how DO we create better speakers with improved eye contact- for internal or external audiences? What tool is most effective for those who aren’t public speakers?

Although teleprompters have been around for years, they’ve been utilized mainly by US Presidents and TV newscasters. Looking your best on camera or to a live audience is hyper-critical to these high-profile peeps, and they employ every tool speech Teleprompting offers them.

It’s now 2020, and the savviest marketing professionals and cutting-edge execs are quickly capitalizing upon the benefits of practicing a speech or delivering a live message using a product such as TeleStepper. If your goal is to improve your career and boost message comprehension as quickly as possible, speech teleprompting can be a secret weapon. Financially, it’s extremely rewarding because it helps establish a deep connection and goodwill with your customers.

Teleprompters are a great aid to speakers – whether they are US Presidents or used in business. It takes a special gift to speak extemporaneously. Not everyone is comfortable when speaking off-the-cuff, but that’s not a reflection on his or her intelligence or ideas. TeleStepper allows for rapid eyeline positioning (and compact stowing) of the teleprompting glass when speakers have completed their presentation, and have been a great aid to speakers in business. Compact to fit within the smallest conference rooms but large enough to accommodate auditoriums, TeleStepper’s use in business is well-known. Leaders such as Tim Cook, Brian Underwood, Michael Wirth and many others who demand message impact- and ultimate comprehension now rely upon TeleStepper to communicate their message successfully.

Thom Tanner, January 7, 2020


Well, sort of. It’s just a fancy way of saying we now volunteer to pick up litter on Interstate 80. Some time ago, we decided our company should help beautify the roads and “Make America Glisten Again.”

To become a Cal Trans volunteer, I first had to watch an entertaining safety video and sign several forms swearing that I would NEVER bag things like hazard materials, explosives or dead animals.

I thought for a moment… “I seriously can’t collect dead animals?”

Not five minutes into the training video, I watch a guy sporting a bright neon volunteer vest attempting to fetch a gun from the bushes. A watchful supervisor hustles over, grabs his arm and waves a finger at him like most concerned moms do when their kids are reaching deep into the cookie jar.

Five minutes pass, and the same poor guy is now reaching over to stuff a dead skunk into a bag. Just before he does, the same smart supervisor runs over and sternly waves his finger at him as if to say, “George, that is a BAD habit…you have to stop!”

But George is determined. In the next shot, our dedicated volunteer has decided to grab a huge black jug plastered with skulls and crossbones. A similar scolding scenario unfolds, with George now sporting a puzzled look.

At this point, I’m sitting at the Cal Trans office, laughing. A worker comes over and says, “are you at the skunk or gun part yet?”

My actual experience volunteering to clean highway wasn’t that interesting. There was plenty of litter, and facemasks outnumbered beer bottles eight to one. Styrofoam was the hardest to pick up, because I picked a windy day to participate.

A half mile into the cleanup I spotted a dead vulture. Many ants were feeding upon it, and I realized the irony of the situation. But I restrained myself from taking photos to show my fellow co-workers. At the end of the morning, I collected 6 huge bags of litter, and felt good about my efforts. I hope more people (and companies) see the need to be responsible and will volunteer for a common good.

And in case you were wondering, I did NOT bag the vulture!


The beginning story of TeleStepper.  It is such a great story to tell, on how TeleStepper came to be.  Read the attached article to learn how it all started.

TeleStepper, Inc. changed the business name to PresenterTek, Inc. in 2021 as the company has grown to include multiple teleprompter, presentation and speech products to offer!


Another great interview about our our innovation with robotic presentation and speech equipment!  Check it out here