PodiumWise | Tips for advanced presentation skills

One of earliest pieces of public speaking advice I received was to stay away from podiums (lecterns) whenever possible.  I was warned that podiums have a way of causing even the most mobile speakers to become stationary.  Lost is that dynamic quality that comes with moving about the stage or floor space while speaking.

I have certainly found this to be true in my own career.  As soon as I step behind even something as unobtrusive as a music stand, I tend to stand still.  I might rationalize that I have to stay with my notes, but it’s really the anchoring effect of the stand that is holding me.

Moving away from a podium, when there is room to do so, takes a conscious effort.  Without such an effort, the podium’s gravitational pull is likely to hold you in one place.  Countering this may take some advanced planning and practice, including reminder notations on your notes.

Of course there are times when the meeting you are speaking at is set up in such a way that you are restricted to the podium.  But even in those situations, some movement is possible, particularly if you have a clip-on microphone.  You can pivot to one side or the other.  You can also step back and then move forward.

The important thing is to recognize the immobilizing nature of a podium and don’t unconsciously succumb to it.

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