What is a Lectern? - Part 2

Continued from page 1...

Some individuals and organizations rely on highly mobile individuals. There are in fact a number of portable lecterns designed for such organizational structures. To meet basic needs are simple tabletop lecterns, some of which fold or collapse into an easy to carry unit. For larger rooms or public addresses, there are even portable lecterns with sound systems: a table-top lectern, a microphone, a speaker and mini PA that all pack into a single briefcase-sized item. Most tabletop lecterns, however, are not so collapsible. Most are of wood and do not fold. There are also some clear acrylic tabletop lecterns available. Tabletop lecterns tend not to be adjustable in terms of height, but many of them have placed on the front for a logo or seal.

In situations where space and duration can afford larger lecterns, many organizations opt for the more ‘official’ and ‘traditional’ looking wooden lecterns. Such lecterns come in a variety of wood types and stains. In addition to reinforcing an image of confidence and authority such large and rather cubic lecterns tend to provide cabinet space for whatever materials or equipment one wants or needs to store inside. Lecterns of this type sometimes also come with an attached microphone and a speaker on the front panel.

Some presenters or organizations prefer lecterns with a more contemporary look. Often made of aluminum or a design incorporating aluminum and wood or aluminum and acrylic, these lecterns tend to look much less ‘boxy’ than the more ‘traditional’ ones mentioned just above. Curves and odd (though still symmetric) angles, transparent acrylic, and aluminum truss motifs define the ‘contemporary’ style of the lectern.

It is in choosing between ‘traditional’ or ‘contemporary’ style lecterns where the image begins to overtake function as the primary concern. Some organizations feel that truss and acrylic type lecterns look more sophisticated and ‘forward thinking’, and reflect a ‘thinking outside of the box’ mentality embraced by many corporate cultures at the present time. Often a large organization will hire, at least temporarily, an image consultant who specializes in constructing the right look for large or important public speaking events. The lectern, where all the talking will be done, is by default the centermost decoration. A lot of thought and consideration that will often go into the selection of a lectern. Moreover, since the nature of events evolve and change as do the image or ‘branding’ of a company, it is often the case that a particular lectern is rented as opposed to purchased.

There is, of course, more that could be discussed about lecterns, such as which specific organizations use which style of lecterns and why. There are also a number of styles less common, but which could be found should one wish to look around or get creative. Summarized here are only the most common varieties and distinguishing characteristics as well as some of the most basic functions and features they include and allow. Even only a cursory glance on the web at the number of lecterns available is enough to see the incredible variety available today.

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