Many people confuse the words “lectern”, “podium”, “rostrum”, and “dais”. A lectern is the slanted-top high-desk that you as the speaker stand behind and use when reading your presentation notes. It can be placed in the middle of the stage or off to one side. To remember lectern think lecture.
A podium is a raised platform on which a speaker stands during a presentation. To remember podium think podiatrist - which is a foot doctor. You will want to use one, especially if you are short or there are more than three rows of chairs, so as to ensure everyone in the back of the room can see you. Standing on a platform will also dramatically increase your vocal projection.
A rostrum or dais is a larger platform or stage on which a head table might be placed during a formal dinner.
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Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives