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Many people use the words lectern and podium interchangeably. There actually is a difference. A lectern is most commonly defined as a slanted stand that serves as a support for a speaker’s notes. It often has a microphone and a light attached.

A podium is an elevated platform, as for an orchestra conductor or public speaker. However, because a podium is often requested when someone means lectern, it has become a practice in America, especially, to use the two interchangeably. You may want a lectern, but if you request podium, you may get the platform without the stand.
Remember that the lectern often has a slanted top. Because of this, we recommend placing water on an adjacent stand or table, to avoid spilling on notes or laptop.
The lectern may make a speaker feel more secure, as it can be clutched, cover up trembling knees and generally make a speaker feel more comfortable. However, it is a barrier to good communication. It prevents movement, which is used to shift energy, create a mood and connect with the audience.
Just as meeting with someone with an enormous desk between you, does not bode well for effective communication, speaking with a lectern between you and your audience is a true and energetic barrier.
Yes, you do feel and appear more vulnerable when you step away from the lectern. Many professional speakers turn the lectern sideways and refer to notes placed there with a side glance. This allows them the freedom to move around the stage. Some prefer a music stand to hold notes, which does not separate them from their audience.
Today, with great tools such as PowerPoint and Teleprompters, there is great opportunity to stand front and center with your audience and say, “Here I am! I have come to share valuable information with you, that I am passionate about presenting!”  Ah!  Be authentic, be vulnerable, but be polished. Your audiences will love you!

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International speaker-trainer and cross-cultural communication expert,Catherine Mowbray Lorenz sees the potential in every individual and company. Her expert knowledge and training moves possibility into profit! If you are looking for simple, no-cost easy ways to boost your sales and  improve relationships in the overseas market, get your FREE communication and presentation tips now at: www.catherinemowbraylorenz.com.

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