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A Public Speaking Platform: Podiums vs Lecterns & When to Use Them
Posted on Monday, December 19, 2022
A Public Speaking Platform: Podiums vs Lecterns & When to Use Them

Can choosing a Podium or Lectern reflect on your next presentation?

Dec. 19, 2022 - When most companies prepare for a guest speaker or next conference, they typically want to have the right platform that matches the general tone of the presentation or their company representation.

Before we dive in - we want you to take a moment to think about the last guest speaker that you saw. Whether at a political debate, your child's school assembly, or a live guest show – most audiences focus on how the speaker speaks. A lot of people do not focus on the platform they use - causing a debate to continue between two platforms that are used: a lectern and a podium.

Merriam Webster challenged that a podium and a lectern are the same, while American Science debates that lecterns and podiums aren't the same. While it is true that in the original English: podiums are an architectural term that was displayed in ancient amphitheaters, however, it can be debated that lecterns and podiums have distinctive characteristics that can attribute to certain fields of expertise.

Let us start with podiums. Podiums are raised platforms where the speaker stands to deliver their speech. The name of the podium is derived from the Greek word pothi, which means 'foot', which is associated with the word 'podiatrist' (foot doctor). Typically, podiums have a larger build that has shelving and storage for notes, computers, and projectors. Most would see podiums being used in college or high school classrooms, conference rooms, or meeting rooms for company presentations.

Meanwhile, a lectern is a raised, slanted stand that allows the speaker to place their notes. The origin of the word comes from the Latin word 'lectus', which means 'to read' and is the same source for 'lecture'. Unlike their counterpart, a lectern is typically built to be smaller and has a microphone for speakers to address their audience. Lecterns are adaptable and can be seen on a stage in front of a large audience or entering a restaurant that tracks guest lists.

You may be wondering how – would a lectern suit my needs? Or a podium?

Some questions that you may want to ask on deciding between a podium or lectern could be:

  • Do I need this portable?
  • Will the event be indoor or outdoor?
  • Do I want a traditional or modern design?
  • Should I have an adjustable height for my podium or should it be fixed?
  • Do I need to have technology integrated?
  • Does my company need it branded?

At Audio Visual Furniture International (AVFI), they have crafted custom podiums and lecterns that have various designs catered to your needs. To find your preferred lectern, podium, or other furniture - check out their products to find your style for any corporate and educational environment.