Lectern or podium?

Lectern or podium?  There is a difference but most people incorrectly say podium when they mean lectern.   This is a pet peeve of mine like  anxious vs. eager.

Let’s look at the two words.

PODIUM:  A raised platform to stand on.  For example, someone giving a speech or an athlete receiving an award would stand on a podium.   

It comes from Latin word pes, pedis that means foot.  Just remember to relate it to podiatrist or pedal. It is also used by band and orchestra conductors, directors of choirs and by the clergy in some churches.

One stands on a podium. 

LECTERN: A lectern is upright piece. It is freestanding, and one stands behind it.  IT usually has a slanted top for note or books.

The origins is from the word lectere, meaning to read. Think of the word lecture.

Toastmasters International is where I learned (among other things) the proper use of lectern and podium.   If you use the correct one, you will be ahead of most people.  Many in the news business talk about a speaker approaching the podium when they really mean lectern.

(For information on local Toastmaster’s clubs, see www.d26toastmasters.orgThey will help you improve your speaking and leadership skills.  My wife and I were member for more than 16 years. Great people!

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