Presentation Podiums, Lecterns, and More!

Posted by Kristin Arnold on August 25, 2010

I was recently interviewed on Big Blend Radio when Lisa, the host, questioned the practice of speaking from behind the podium.  Not that I really want to mince words here (so I will!), but she really meant to say  “lectern.”  So here’s the lowdown for those inquiring minds who need to know the difference:

A podium is small, raised horizontal surface upon which a presenter stands in order to be seen by the audience – also known as a riser or platform.  Not to be confused with a dais, which is a platform specifically used for “the head table” or for a set of panelists.

A lectern, on the other hand, is a stand with a slanted top used to hold a book, speech, or notes at the proper height for a speaker to deliver his or her program.  The lectern may be placed on the podium, platform, riser, or dais.

And all of these elements are part of the stage – the floor upon which the presenter stands and delivers a speech.

In today’s vernacular, all  these words have mutated into a common a co-mingled meaning – but a few of us still like to quibble over precise definitions!

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