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Podium vs. Lectern

The lectern and the podium are two terms that are erroneously interchanged as relating to the public speaking sphere. It is more common to have people referring to the lectern when in actual sense, they mean the podium but the converse is not as common. It is important to understand the difference between the two to break the cycle of extended vocabulary misuse and maintain the integrity and richness of the English language

The podium is a term coined from the Greek word podos, which means foot. Pod, a derivation of podos, has been used as the root-word for many other words, among them podium. The podium is an elevated surface or platform on which a speaker stands on to increase visibility to the audience during the delivery of a presentation. The podium also adds the advantage of increased vocal projection across an area, ensuring that even those furthest from the speaker hear the message.

A lectern is its most basic form a fixture, usually a high desk or stand with a slanting top that holds the speakers notes and other presentation material. It is a term coined from Greek and Latin words that relate to reading, which are also root words for others such as lecture. Lecterns are differently shaped and sized and usually stand at the center or to one end of the stage. Modern-day lecterns are more sophisticated and may be fitted with ports for laptops and tablets as well as integrated control systems such as lights and sound control that facilitate excellent presentation.

Difference Between Podium and Lectern

The podium is the platform on which one stands for the presentation. The lectern on the other term is fixture behind which the speaker stands. It is much simpler to remember when relating the two to other terms, that is, lecture for lectern and podiatry for the podium. This creates a quick mental picture that will save one the embarrassment of vocabulary misuse.

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