The short answer is yes. There’s nothing inherently wrong with a podium or lectern. In some situations they’re necessary. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Move away from the podium when you need to. Purposeful movement (like going to the screen to point something out or moving closer to your audience to emphasize a key point) helps direct your audience’s focus. It can also bring some energy to your presentation (and help you burn up any nervous energy).
When you’re standing behind the podium, keep your stance balanced. Having a solid stance will help you appear confident and professional.
Don’t grip the sides of the podium because you’ll inhibit your gestures. When you restrict your gestures, you will feel and appear uncomfortable. Your goal should be to gesture as naturally as you do in everyday conversation.
If you have notes on your podium, don’t spend too much time looking down at them; it will disconnect you from your audience. Trust yourself to know your material and focus on making quality eye contact with your audience. If you lose your train of thought, refer to your notes and then reestablish eye contact and continue on.
Sarah Stocker graduated from Bowling Green State University with a BA in Communication. After college, she spent the first five years working as a stage manager for various theatres in Ohio. After moving to Chicago, she worked as a contractor for several Chicago companies, first stage managing corporate theatre productions and then as a project and logistics coordinator for customized training seminars. She came to Turpin in 2005 as a camera operator, then progressed to her Workshop Coordinator and Coach roles. Sarah managed the creation of Turpin’s eCoach.