PSU Insight

Preparation is the Key

Items to Have at the Lectern

In addition to the venue checklist, you'll also want to have a checklist of essential items to have at the lectern, such as —

  • easy-to-read clock — It's a good idea to have a timing device readily available so that you can keep track of your time. (Don't count on your room having a clock; even if there is one, you may not be able to see it.) A small battery-operated clock works well; nowadays, many people use the timer or clock on their smartphone. (But if you do use your smartphone, be sure it's muted — you don't want the embarrassment of having your own phone ringing during your presentation!) Whatever you use, do not look at your watch while you're speaking!

  • throat lozenges — in case you have a coughing fit

  • your notes — even if you don't plan to use notes, it's a good idea to have them available in case your brain "freezes".

  • meeting agenda — in case you need to refer to it.

  • props — this one should be obvious, but it's embarrassing to forget your props!

  • one copy of your handout — just in case.

  • glass of water (room temperature) — in case your throat gets dry.

  • names (with phonetic spelling) of significant individuals or terms — mispronouncing someone's name is both embarrassing and avoidable.

  • an extra copy of your introduction — this is for your introducer, not you.

Notice that most of these items are to avoid embarrassment. When you're speaking, you're the authority, the person in charge. You want to avoid doing anything that indicates that you're not in control. This can quickly diminish your credibility.