Podium:“Podium” can mean either a raised stand or platform upon which a speaker stands to make an address, or a stand used to hold notes or books used for a reading. Many public speakers use the latter meaning, while facility managers or event managers use the former term. The grammatically correct plural of podium is “podia,” although “podiums” is more commonly used.
Lectern:A Lectern, sometimes spelled “Lecturn,” is any stand used to support notes or books from which a reading is given. The first lecterns were used in religious environments as stands for readings given from non-sacred texts. Modern lecterns frequently incorporate PA sound systems or speakers.
Pulpit:Pulpits were initially the elevated stand from which a sacred text was read in a religious ceremony. The word has since come to mean any reading stand, elevated or not, from which a reading or speech is given in public, whether in a church or not.
Other Terms for Speakers’ Stands:
- An Ambo (plural: Ambones or Ambos) refers to any raised desk or pulpit used to support reading notes or books used by a speaker.
- A speaker’s platform designed to hold more than one person at a time is called a Dais.
- In current usage, a Rostrum (plural: Rostra or Rostrums) is a raised platform from which a speaker speaks or a conductor conducts. The Rostrum was originally the name of the speakers’ platform in the Roman forum and named for the prows of captured enemy ships (“Rostra”) that decorated it.
- A Shtender (Yiddish for “stander”) is a simple frame or lectern stand designed to hold a book, most often a sacred text or commentary. Although generally full-size, tabletop shtenders are also seen.