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Lectern Etiquette: Everything You Need To Know

Presenting and standing at a lectern can be a nerve-wracking thought - but it doesn’t have to be! Being prepared is key, and knowing your audience and material will all help in giving you confidence. But first, is there a proper way to use a lectern?

Proper lectern etiquette takes into account your posture, composure and projection. These are all factors in using a lectern properly. Make sure the lectern is set up for you comfortably, you have your notes or readings prepared and you stand straight with a good view of your audience. 

Read on to find out more about how to use a lectern correctly and how it can help boost your confidence when speaking and presenting.

What Is Lectern Etiquette?

Lectern etiquette is the art of effectively conveying your message to your audience while maintaining the correct stance and projecting your voice and tone. To keep your audience's attention you should:

  • Maintain eye contact - When speaking to an audience you should stay engaged with them and not be engrossed in your notes or readings too heavily.

  • If using a microphone - Ensure that your microphone is not positioned too high or low and is not in a position to cover your face. 

  • Stay focused - Nerves can sometimes get the better of us and we can begin to fiddle with something such as paper. Try and concentrate on your delivery and avoid fidgeting where possible. 

The best thing to do is prepare. Before you are set to use the lectern, test it. Check that you can stand comfortably behind it, and ensure that your microphone (if you’re using one) is the correct height for you. 

If you are using a device for your notes, make sure you can clearly read it and that lights are not positioned in a way that will cause a glare on your screen. Former US President, Barack Obama is known for his powerful speeches, and lots of preparation goes into this. Read more about his presenting style to get some helpful lectern etiquette tips.

How Do You Stand at a Lectern?

Keep yourself upright and try not to lean on the lectern. Leaning on the lectern looks casual and can reduce your audience's trust in you. It can be difficult if you are standing for long periods of time. Instead, try to stand where it feels natural and where you can easily carry out your speaking. Wearing comfortable, yet professional-looking shoes may help improve comfort. You can place your hands on the lectern but try not to grip it.

Is It Appropriate to Move From Behind the Lectern?

This depends on what you are using the lectern for. It may be appropriate if you are public speaking to walk around the stage with a microphone. If you are swapping places with someone it is better to step backwards from the lectern so you are not crossing paths.

Why Should a Speaker Avoid Standing Stiffly Behind the Podium?

Standing stiffly can make you look awkward and convey that you lack confidence. You want your audience to pay attention to you, but also to trust in what you are delivering. Having confident body language can also relax the audience allowing them to pay better attention to what you are saying. To learn more about confidence when speaking, take a look at this article on speaking from a podium.

What Are the Manners and Etiquette When Using a Podium?

When using a podium to speak from it is important to:

  • Be prepared - Should this be a presentation, a reading or a speech. Have your notes prepared and organised in order of when you need them. Don’t forget to practice beforehand!

  • Handing over - If you are handing the speech over to another person, introduce them and be polite. Know where you need to go afterwards, are you standing to the side? Do you have a dedicated seat?

  • Audience manners - As mentioned, always try and maintain eye contact with your audience and don’t turn your back on them. After all, they are here to see you and are investing their time being there!

High-Quality Lecterns & Pulpits From Nova Lecterns

At Nova Lecterns, we provide the highest quality lecterns and pulpits available in the UK. We’ve been making lecterns as a family-run business since 1984, and all of our products are made in our factory in Warwickshire, England. 

As members of the Guild of Master Craftsmen and the FSB, we use time-honoured skills with over 60 years of experience in design and fabrication. Get in touch with us today to find out more about our wide range of lecterns. Get in touch with our team for more dedicated advice, or for help choosing your lectern.

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