Lose that Lectern

Two lectern lessons from a communications training workshop I once led.

If you don’t plan to use it, lose it. During one part of the program for which we were preparing, there were to be two panelists on stage taking questions from the audience. The set up consisted of a lectern and a table with two chairs. Each panelist was also hooked up with a wireless lavaliere microphone. Rather than sit at the table or stand confidently on the stage, each leaned on one side of the lectern. An image sprang immediately to mind: Tweedledum and Tweedledee. These speakers would have been far better off ignoring the lectern. Remember, it is not a crutch, it is not a piece of furniture to lean on. It is simply a place to put your stuff.
Business Man, Business, Man, Male, Person, Suit, Shirt
If you sense that the lectern is not going to work for you, get rid of it. While confirming the set up of my training room a few hours before another workshop, I asked whether a lectern was ordered. It was. I asked that it be ditched. Why? It was a small group and it would only get in the way. It served no purpose, so out it went.

The broader lesson here: Pay attention to your surroundings while speaking in public and get rid of what you don’t absolutely need.

What excess furniture have you tossed from the stage during your speaking adventures (not in a violent way, and not at your audience)?


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