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Friday, September 07, 2012

Lectern Etiquette: 5 Presentation Tips for Speakers

AmpliVox Acrylic Lectern

“Three things matter in a speech - who says it, how he says it and what he says, and of the three, the latter matters the least.” 

This quote, said by English Statesman John Morley, emphasizes an important point: the delivery of your message is just as, if not more, important than the content. 

One way to improve your delivery is to use the lectern effectively.   Here are a few tips:

1.    Podium vs. Lectern - Know the Difference
Most people use these terms interchangeably, but a podium and a lectern are not the same thing. A podium is a raised platform you stand on; a lectern is a reading desk you stand behind.

2.    Preparation Pays Off
Before you begin your speech, spend a couple seconds at the lectern re-adjusting the microphone and organizing your notes. It’s better to delay the speech now than to stumble in the middle and lose your audience.

3.    Stay Visible to the Audience
Ideally, the audience should be able to see your upper body behind the lectern. If you’re short and the occasion allows, stand to the side of the lectern. You can still reference notes if needed. When the audience can see you, they feel more connected to you and your message.

4.    Stand with Confidence
The general rule is to stand about 10 inches behind the lectern. If you need to rest your hands on something, set them lightly on the edge closest to you. Don’t lean on the lectern, grip the edges of it or pound on it to make a point. Your point will come across more clearly if the audience isn’t distracted by unnecessary body movements.

5.    Pass the Lectern Baton
When you’re finished with your speech, wait until the emcee comes to the lectern, then shake his hand and exit the stage. Do not leave the lectern unattended at any point. It looks awkward and unprofessional.

Good luck!

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