Speaker Meet Your New Best Friend: The Lectern

by drjim on November 19, 2013

Speakers need to learn to not fear the lectern

Speakers need to learn to not fear the lectern
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As a speaker, almost every speech that you give will be different from the speech that you gave last time. However, there is one thing that will be common from speech to speech – you’ll probably find yourself standing behind a lectern. This means that you’re going to have to learn how to use this important speaking tool and not allow it to take away from your next speech.

Is It A Lectern Or Is It A Podium?

All too often when we start to talk about a lectern, we speakers find ourselves getting all tangled up in a long an involved discussion over the importance of public speaking and whether or not we are talking about a lectern or a podium. In all honesty, it really doesn’t matter for this discussion, but just to set the record straight a lectern is the stand that holds your notes and a podium is the raised platform that you stand on.

No matter what you choose to call it, it’s how you approach it when you are coming to the front of the room to give your speech that really matters. When you’ve been introduced, make a bee-line for the lectern and don’t waste time talking to people on your way up.

Once you arrive at the front of the room, take the time to shake the hand of the person who has introduced you. This is a clear sign to your audience that you are now taking control of the lectern. Step behind the lectern, place any materials that you’ve brought with yourself on it and then you’ll be ready to deliver your speech.

How To Take Control Of The Lectern

I don’t like to think of the lectern as being a lectern. Instead I like to think of it as being a great big ship’s steering wheel. With such a wheel, you’d never leave it alone because the ship could run aground. Likewise, during your speech you never want to leave the lectern unattended because your speech might run aground.

As you “steer” your presentation using the lectern, you are going to want to be careful of a few things. The first is that you don’t want to hold on to the lectern – this is something that is very easy to do and far too many of us do it. Instead, just before you start to speak, take a step back and make sure that you can’t easily reach the lectern with your hands. This will prevent you from making this mistake.

Finally, your speech will eventually wrap-up. When this happens, don’t leave the lectern unattended. Instead, “remain at the helm” until the person who is running the meeting comes to the front of the room. Turn control of the lectern over to them by shaking their hand, and then you can go sit down.

What All Of This Means For You

As speakers we need to realize that most speeches that we give will require us to stand behind a lectern while we are giving our speech. In order to ensure that our speech is as effective as it can be, we need maximize the benefits of public speaking and discover how to make the most of the lectern.

The first thing that we need to realize is that we’ll have to approach the lectern as though we are in charge. Simply by standing behind the lectern we take control of the room and that is a good thing for us as speakers. This means that we need to ensure that we keep control by not grabbing on to the lectern or leaving it alone when we are done with our speech.

A lectern is a part of life for a speaker. We need to understand how to make the most of this speaking tool and to not allow it to take away from our next speech. It turns out that this can be simple to do if we take the time to correctly approach the lectern at the start of our speech and then make correct use of it while we are speaking.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: What should you do if you find yourself grabbing on to the lectern?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As a speaker the one thing that we want to accomplish during every speech that we give is to make an impression on our audience. We’d like to be able to convince them of the importance of public speaking and share with them some ideas that they can take with them and use even after our speech is over and done with. In order to make this happen we sometimes provide our audience with a handout. This is where things can start to get very confusing very quickly…

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