What does it say about you as a speaker when you stand squarely behind a podium or cling to a lectern during your entire talk? We don’t even need to answer that, do we?
Standing firmly in one place – or, even worse, hiding! – doesn’t really advance the cause of connecting with your audience, does it? Any structure between you and your audience is simply a barrier. And it’s a pretty safe bet to figure on it being more than just a physical barrier.

So, what are you supposed to do when a podium or lectern is turned over to you? Step out, people! Go ahead and use it as a prop or as a place to put your “things” (e.g. notes, laptop), but unless you’re addressing a large audience in a large room and the only available microphone is fixed to the podium (the only reason you’d have to stay put!), step out, around and in front. It sends the most important message to your audience … that you’re coming closer to them!

Beth Levine