Woman studying online

PSU Insight

Getting Started Right

Glossary of Terms for Speakers

Like other industries, the speaking and training industry has its own “lingo” (specialized terminology). Many of these terms are borrowed from related fields such as the entertainment industry (like gig and book) or the hospitality industry (staging, striking); others seem to be somewhat unique to the speaking industry (one-sheet).

Whether you're a public or professional speaker, you need to "talk the talk". These are some of the terms that you’ll encounter (and use) within the speaking, training, and presentations industries.

photo of dictionary
American Society of Training And Development
Former name of The Association for Talent Development (ATD). See Association for Talent Development.
Abbreviation for the American Society Of Training And Development, former name of The Association for Talent Development (ATD). See Association for Talent Development.
Association for Talent Development
The Association for Talent Development is the world's largest association dedicated to those who develop talent in organizations.
Abbreviation for The Association for Talent Development (ATD). See Association for Talent Development.
Short for ‘audio / visual’; a general term that encompasses all aspects of a speaker’s presentation which can be seen or heard, excluding the speaker. A microphone is a common A/V tool, as is a PowerPoint presentation.
Short for ‘biography’; a description of a speaker’s major accomplishments and a history of the speaker’s career. Savvy speakers recognize that the bio is more of a marketing tool than a traditional biography.
(1) To schedule a speaking engagement, as in "I'd like to book you for April 1....";
(2) the "holy grail" of many speakers' product lines, as in "When I write my book, then I'll be rich and famous!"
Abbreviation for ‘back of the room’; a general term for product sales occurring within the same room as the speaker’s presentation. Such a capability is frequently located at the rear of the room, hence the name.
A specialized session held concurrently with other such sessions for a subset of an event’s attendees. At a convention, the main keynote (attended by everyone) is sometimes followed by several parallel ‘breakout’ sessions, where attendees can choose which sessions they wish to hear.
Slang term for a presentation or response which has not been customized for a particular audience or situation; generally a somewhat derogatory term.
Certified Speaking Professional
An earned designation from the National Speakers Association, indicating the attainment of professional speaker status.
Classroom seating
A common seating arrangement where the audience is seated at tables with everyone facing the front of the room. Generally used in training environments.
(1) in business, a customer;
(2) in the Internet, the computer that is accessing the Internet. When you are browsing the Internet, your own computer is a ‘client’. See ‘server’.
Cold calling
The process of contacting someone by phone with whom you’ve had no prior contact, for the purpose of soliciting business. See ‘warm calling’.
A speaker’s creative works are protected by international copyright law, and their duplication without expressed written authorization is illegal.
Abbreviation for Certified Speaking Professional. See ‘Certified Speaking Professional’.
Decision maker
The person who renders the final decision on whether or not you will be hired for an engagement.
Demo tape
An audio or video recording which showcases the speaker’s skills.
Direct mail
The process of marketing to large numbers of people by regular mail.
Short for Master of Ceremonies. See ‘Master of Ceremonies’.
A marketing or communications ‘newsletter’ which is distributed via e-mail.
Someone who fosters and encourages communication at a meeting.
Fee schedule
A summary of the fees which a speaker charges for various activities.
Flip chart
A very large pad of paper, often mounted on an easel; an inexpensive and very versatile way of creating dynamic displays at a meeting.
A person whose responsibility is to protect someone else from being interrupted (by cold calls, etc.) In many large organizations, before you can reach the decision maker, you must first get past the gatekeeper.
General Release
Another term for a Talent Release. See 'talent release'.
Slang for a speaking or training engagement.
Handheld Mic
A microphone which must be held in the hand, and relatively near the sound source (your mouth). Compare with ‘Lavaliere mic’.
Headset Microphone
A microphone which is held in place near the speaker's face; generally clipped over one ear, and positioned near the mouth by a small rod. Compare with ‘Lavaliere mic’ and 'Handheld mic'.
Horseshoe Seating
A seating style where the seats are arranged in a “U” (or horseshoe) shape, with the speaker in the center, toward the top of the “U”. Can be used with or without tables.
Short for ‘introduction’. See ‘introduction’.
Short lead-in remarks given prior to the main presentation by someone other than the speaker. Most speakers prefer to write their own introductions. An introduction should ‘set the stage’ for the presentation which follows.
One of the featured speeches at an event. Typically more entertaining or thought-provoking than educational.
Lavaliere mic
A microphone that is attached with a clip to the chest area of the speaker, freeing your hands from holding the microphone. Compare with ‘Handheld mic’ and 'Headset mic'.
A small stand, usually with a sloping top for holding the speaker’s notes. A microphone may be attached.
Master of Ceremonies
Someone who moderates an event, introducing the participants and providing a smooth transition between presentations.
Short for Master of Ceremonies. See ‘Master of Ceremonies’.
Media Kit
A speaker’s promotional package that can include testimonial letters, speaking topics, a fee schedule, audio or video demo tapes, articles written by (or about) the speaker, and other promotional items. Also called a ‘press kit’. An essential marketing tool in earlier years; now often largely replaced by a speaker’s web site.
Media Release
A short announcement of a newsworthy event, sent to selected members of the media in the hopes of generating publicity for the speaker. Also called a ‘press release’.
Meeting Planner
A professional who organizes meetings, conventions, and other events.
Meeting Professionals International
An international association of dedicated professionals involved in planning, managing and supplying services to the meeting industry.
Common term for ‘microphone’. Pronounced “mike” (rhymes with "like"). Also spelled ‘mike’.
Common term for ‘microphone’. Also spelled ‘mic’ (but still pronounced “mike”).
Abbreviation of Meeting Professionals International. See ‘Meeting Professionals International’.
National Speakers Association
The National Speakers Association is dedicated to advancing the art and value of experts who speak professionally.
Abbreviation of the National Speakers Association. See ‘National Speakers Association’.
A single page summary of a speaker’s topics, credentials, and testimonials.
(1) Verb: the act of explicitly subscribing to an e-zine;
(2) adjective: a description of an e-zine list whose subscribers specifically requested the subscription.
(1) Noun: type of program that automatically ‘subscribes’ members to an e-zine without their authorization;
(2) verb: to remove yourself from an e-zine subscription.
Per Diem
A daily subsistence allowance which covers the speaker’s on-site and travel expenses (hotel accommodation, meals, local transportation).
The stage or platform from which a speaker delivers the program. Commonly used as a synonym for ‘lectern’. See ‘lectern’.
A software program from Microsoft that develops and displays a computer-generated “slide show”; sometimes used as a generic term for any presentation-software package.
Press Kit
The traditional term for a media kit; newspapers originally were printed on presses, so ‘the press’ was slang for newspaper reporters. See ‘Media kit’.
Press Release
A short announcement of a newsworthy event, sent to selected members of the media in the hopes of generating publicity for the speaker. Also called a ‘media release’.
Salable resources, such as books and DVD albums.
A visual device used by speakers to emphasize their points or illustrate their stories. For example, if you’re talking about communication skills, you could use a telephone as a prop.
A small, low platform; a temporary stage can be constructed by placing several risers next to each other.
Q & A
Abbreviation for ‘question and answer session’.
A classroom-type presentation, usually of an educational nature. Seminars are normally more lecture-oriented, while ‘workshops’ are more interactive in nature.
(1) In the hospitality industry, a person who provides food and beverages at an event;
(2) In the Internet, the computer which is the source of a web page or an Internet service. When you are browsing the Internet, the pages you view come from servers. See ‘client’.
Unsolicited and undesired e-mail; or the sending of such e-mail
Speakers Bureau
A company which books speakers for meetings and events.
Spin Off
A speaking engagement that is obtained as a result of someone hearing you at an earlier speaking engagement; speakers bureaus sometimes want a commission on spin-off business as well as the original engagement that they arranged.
The process of setting up the physical environment for an event.
The process of dismantling the physical environment for an event.
Someone who is seen or heard in an audio or video recording; in the entertainment industry, ‘talent’ usually refers to actors, but in the speaking industry, not only are you, the speaker, a talent, but your announcer (see ‘voice over’) is a talent and any of your recognizable audience members whose voices or images are recorded are also regarded as talent. Having any talents sign a ‘talent release’ is recommended.
Talent Release
A contract giving someone the right to record (usually video) and reproduce someone else's likeness. Also called a 'general release'.
A seminar conducted by phone. Also called a "teleconference".
Theater Seating
A style of seating where the chairs are lined up in rows, all facing the front of the room, and without any tables. Usually provides the greatest seating efficiency. Oftentimes used for keynotes and other large events.
Toastmasters International
An international self-help organization dedicated to helping people improve their communication and leadership skills.
A ‘virtual meeting’ where a group of people, not in the same location, communicate with each other by transmitting video, audio and/or data between them.
Voice Over
A verbal enhancement or addition to an audio or video recording; typically the ‘voice over’ introduces the speaker (“Here is John Doe…”) or provides an audio description (“Jane Smith has consulted with dozens of Fortune 500 companies…”) or gives direction (“Please turn to page 7 in your workbook….”).
Warm Calling
The process of contact someone by phone with whom you have had prior contact, for the purpose of soliciting business. Compare to 'cold calling'.
An on-line seminar in which the audio portion of the training is usually transmitted either over the Internet or by phone, and the visual portion of the training is conducted over the Internet.
Wireless Microphone
A microphone which transmits its signals to the amplifier by radio waves instead of an electrical cord.
A classroom-type presentation, usually of an educational nature, Workshops are typically more interactive in nature, while ‘seminars’ are normally more lecture-oriented.
Total views: 137