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Tip – Just Say “No!” to the Podium

By February 1, 2016 February 9th, 2019 No Comments
four podium, vertically shown, different colors with overlay text, Just Say No! to the podium

Have you ever seen a stage without a podium? Likely not. And like most moths drawn to the light, most speakers are drawn to the podium. As speakers, facilitators, trainers, and presenters, you have to ensure you are creating the best possible experience for your audience and for you.

There are five main reasons not to stand behind the podium. They…

  1. Create a physical and psychological barrier between you and your audience
  2. Force you to remain in one spot – behind the podium
  3. Block most of your body and therefore block your body language (anyone below six feet becomes a literal talking head. Ask for a riser or step stool)
  4. Are hand-arm magnets, with most speakers leaning and holding onto the sides (with some holding on so tightly, their knuckles are white)
  5. Minimize your ability to move around, minimizing your ability to connect and engage with your audience members

You should just say “No!” to the podium.

Speakers and Trainers here at The Chief Storyteller® simply ignore it if it cannot be moved.

Well in advance of your presentation or training, coordinate with the event planning team to:

  1. Remove/move the podium
  2. Have a lavaliere (preferred) or hand-held microphone available for you
  3. Have a riser/step stool available if it cannot be moved

A couple of notes to consider:

  • If you are speaking overseas, you should likely speak behind the podium as it might be more culturally/tradition-wise better. Then consider, moving around the stage area once or twice.
  • If you know you must use it, practice then behind it. Get specific feedback from trusted colleagues on your voice, body language, and voice

Did you know?  What we commonly call the podium, is actually a lectern? And what we stand on when speaking, is actually a podium? Read the blog post

Photography Source (Left to Right):  1 Denon, 2 Oklahoma Sound, 3 Amplivox, 4 Amplivox

Ira Koretsky

About Ira Koretsky

Ira Koretsky has built The Chief Storyteller® into one of the most recognized names in business storytelling. He has delivered over 500 keynote presentations and workshops in nearly a dozen countries, in more than one hundred cities, across 30 plus industries. His specialties are simplifying the complex and communicating when the stakes are high. He is also an adjunct professor in public speaking and storytelling at the University of Maryland's Business School. With over 25 years of experience, he is a sought-after global speaker, trainer, consultant, and executive communication coach.