Glossary of Speaking and Meeting Planning Terms for Motivational Speaker, Keynoter, Professional Speakers, Public Speakers, Trainers, Seminar Leaders

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909-398-1228

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Free Articles for Meeting, Event and Conference Planners on HOW TO HIRE A Speaker, Motivational Keynote Speakers, Trainer, Presenter or Seminar Leader

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Avoiding the Problems and Pitfalls, To Create Magical Meetings
Includes the Full Checklist to Insure Meeting Perfection!

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Motivational Keynote Speakers For Events, Conferences and Conventions


Contact Lilly Walters

740 Purdue Dr.
Claremont, CA 91711

909-398-1228

Amazing Motivational Keynote Speakers For Meetings, Conventions, and Conferences

contact Lilly Walters, 909-398-1228


For Meetings, Conventions, and Conferences

To Hire Motivational and Business Keynote Speakers

Free Articles for Meeting, Event and Conference Planners on HOW TO HIRE A Speaker, Motivational Keynote Speakers, Trainer, Presenter or Seminar Leader

Sports Motivational Keynote Speakers

Humorous Motivational Keynote Speakers

Leadership and Management Motivational Business Speakers


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How To Hire A Speaker
Avoiding the Problems and Pitfalls, To Create Magical Meetings
Includes the Full Checklist to Insure Meeting Perfection!

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Motivational Keynote Speakers For Events, Conferences and Conventions


Contact Lilly Walters

740 Purdue Dr.
Claremont, CA 91711

909-398-1228

Amazing Motivational Keynote Speakers For Meetings, Conventions, and Conferences

contact Lilly Walters, 909-398-1228


For Meetings, Conventions, and Conferences

To Hire Motivational and Business Keynote Speakers

Free Articles for Meeting, Event and Conference Planners on HOW TO HIRE A Speaker, Motivational Keynote Speakers, Trainer, Presenter or Seminar Leader

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Leadership and Management Motivational Business Speakers


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How To Hire A Speaker
Avoiding the Problems and Pitfalls, To Create Magical Meetings
Includes the Full Checklist to Insure Meeting Perfection!

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Motivational Keynote Speakers For Events, Conferences and Conventions


Contact Lilly Walters

740 Purdue Dr.
Claremont, CA 91711

909-398-1228

Amazing Motivational Keynote Speakers For Meetings, Conventions, and Conferences

contact Lilly Walters, 909-398-1228


For Meetings, Conventions, and Conferences

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Free Articles for Meeting, Event and Conference Planners on HOW TO HIRE A Speaker, Motivational Keynote Speakers, Trainer, Presenter or Seminar Leader

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Humorous Motivational Keynote Speakers

Leadership and Management Motivational Business Speakers


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How To Hire A Speaker
Avoiding the Problems and Pitfalls, To Create Magical Meetings
Includes the Full Checklist to Insure Meeting Perfection!

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Contact Lilly Walters

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Claremont, CA 91711

909-398-1228

Glossary of Speaking and Meeting Planning Terms

by Lilly Walters (c) 2003, no part to be used without express written permission

This glossary serves two purposes. One - to give you an idea of the definitions of some slang terms in the speaking and meeting industry. (Some of these are not yet in any dictionary.) Two - to give you a history of some of the words we use so freely from the platform: lectern, podium, rostrum, enthusiasm. Often I added the history of the word because it gave the word new meaning and life for me when I realized where it came from. Often you can use a definition and history of a word to begin a presentation or to make a point.
English words often have more meanings per word than any other language. In this little Glossary I have included the meaning of the word or phrase as it applies to those who take the platform.

I am not a linguist nor an expert in the field of word histories. However, I checked most of the words and phrases in this glossary against three sources (all of them against at minimum of two out of three of the following):

1. Random House Unabridged Dictionary Second Edition, CD-ROM Version, ©1993 by Random House;
2. Funk & Wagnals, Microlibrary 1.1, ©1990-1992, by Inductell
3. Webster's Third New International Dictionary - Unabridged, ©1976 G. & C. Merriam, Co.
Enjoy!

A/V: Abbreviation for "Audiovisual. " Refers to all the audio and visual requirements of an event, i.e.: overhead projectors, tape recorders, video players, microphone needs, etc. This term came into usage in 1935-40. (See "sound booth" and "Tech Booth.")
A/V booth, A/V Area: Area of the meeting where the A/V is controlled. (see "sound booth" and "Tech Booth.")
Accolade: Any award, honor, or praise. From the Latin ac-, "at," and collum, -"neck," in the 16th century it became a ceremony which included an embrace to conferring of knighthood, sometimes done symbolically by tapping the sword on each shoulder. When a speaker receives accolades from the audiences it shows they are "embracing" her work.
Acronym: A word formed from the first letter or syllables of the words, as IBM (from International Business Machines). (Also note the difference between this and an acrostic). From acr- from the Latin meaning "topmost" or "extreme," and the onyn meaning "to combine."
Acrostic: A series of words, lines, verses, poem or other composition in which the first, last, or other particular letters when taken in order spell out a word, phrase, etc.. In the example below FEAR is the acronym. False Evidence Appearing Rear is the acrostic. From acr- from the Latin meaning topmost or extreme, and the Greek stichis meaning line, akin to "go to" and "stair".


Ad hominem: 1. When you direct your argument to your audience's personal feelings, emotions or prejudices rather than their intellect or reason. 2. When you attack an opponent's character rather than answering his argument. The ancient literal meaning was "to the man".
Ad-lib: To improvise something in a speech, perhaps words or gestures, that were not in the script. From the Latin ad libitum, or "at pleasure". In music an obbligato is the Italian name for something you are "obliged" to play. The Latin obligatus -"bound," gives us the essential meaning (Word Origins and Their Romantic Stories, by Wildred Funk, Itt. D., Bell Publishing Co.. New York, ©MCML. pg. 297). When we ad-lib, we are not bound or obliged; we deliver at our pleasure. (Author note: usually giving good measure of pleasure in return.)
Address: 1. To speak to a group. 2. The speech or written statement itself. From the Latin drescer - "to straighten or arrange things," to set in order. The Archaic meaning was to give direction to aim. When you address a letter, you direct it to a certain party or place. When you address an audience, you direct your words towards the listeners, with the intent of their taking direction from the message.
Adjunct: Something joined or added to another thing, but not essentially a part of it. For speakers this refers to a thought added on. In the 1580- 90, from the Latin adjunctus - "joined to" or "to join" or "to yoke."
Agenda: A list of things to be done; esp., a program of business at a meeting. "Agenda" is the plural of the Latin gerund agendum, and it is used today in the sense 'a plan or list of matters to be acted upon.' Agenda is a singular noun; its plural is usually agendas: The meeting a agenda will be printed in the program. The singular "agendum," means 'an item on an agenda,' is uncommon.
Amateur: One who speaks or practices his or her craft for the love of the craft rather than for pay. In Europe an amateur is often a gentlemen: Prince Phillip is an amateur equestrian. In the USA where we think of things in more monetary terms, an amateur is often perceived to be - often incorrectly - as person with less skill.
Ambiance: The special atmosphere, mood, character, quality, tone, etc., created by a particular environment, especially of a social or cultural nature. From the French equivalent to ambi - "surrounding."
Amplify, Amplified, Amplification: To make larger, greater, or stronger; enlarge; extend. This can apply, for instance, to a speaker's comments, such as when more information is given, or for the method of increasing volume by use of a sound system.
Amuse: To occupy the audience in an agreeable, pleasing, or entertaining way. To cause them to laugh or smile by giving them pleasure. If you amuse your audience you are usually playful or humorous and please their fancy. Now, the history of this has me baffled. It comes from the old French muser - "to stare." HHhhmmm, does that mean in order to divert a person, you needed to have so much concentration on them and their needs that you needed stare? Maybe the French got it from "Muse," as in the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne who presided over various arts. I have often heard it said when you are inspired to speak, dance, write, etc., the "muse" has grabbed you. So, it made good sense to me that "a-muse" meant one of those Muses had grabbed you. This was what I was hoping to prove, but alas, it remains my own little unsubstantiated theory.
Analogy: When you compare the similarities between like traits of two things that are clearly unlike in kind, form, or appearance - like a brain and a computer or the heart and a pump - these are analogous and refer to their similarities. From the Latin ana- "according to" and logos - "proportion."
Anecdote: Anecdotes are short narratives, stories, yarns, or reminiscences of an interesting, amusing or curious incident. often biographical and generally about human interest. From an - "not" and ek - "out" and dotos, "given" - originally items not to be published or given out. We all know the best stories are those we are not suppose to tell!
Announcer: The person who makes announcements. We began using this in 1920-25 in radio, and today we use it often in meetings. Also see: Introducer, Toastmaster, and MC.
Aphorism: A brief statement, tersely phrased, of a truth or opinion stating a general truth, astute observation or principle. Also a proverb, an adage, maxim. For instance, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" (Lord Acton). From the Greek apo- "from" + horizein to divide. So you should obviously use an a aphorism when you want to make a point which divides the fluff from the facts and important stuff.
Apron: The part of a theater stage in front of the curtain.
Argument: 1. This is not just an angry discussion or quarrel. A speaker "argument," like a lawyers, are the reason or reasons offered for or against something. 2. Discourse intended to persuade or to convince. 3. A short summary of a piece of subject matter.
Articulate: Today we often say speakers is articulate (_______ ) if they have presented their case well with good logic, etc. When used as a verb ( _______ ), it also means it means to enunciate words well and distinctly. From the Latin articulare - "to divide into joints," to "utter distinctly." Its original usage meant was when something had a clear definition, as in clear segments, joints. For speech, it came to mean that something was clearly enunciated, with each part of the word clearly segmented.
Attendee/s: a person who is present at a meeting or event.
Attention: The act or faculty of attending, usually by directing the mind to an object or concept. From the Latin roots tendere - "stretch" and attendere means "stretch - to apply the mind to." When a speaker has the audience's attention he gets them to stretch their minds and thoughts towards him.
Audience: those who hear your message, whether it is an assembly of listeners or those who are reached by a book, audio tape, television or radio program, etc. From Latin audire - "to hear," obviously meaning
Audience Participation: When the speaker has the audience do something other than listen to lecture, e.g., discussions, games. See Section ____ for examples. Some will argue that when the audience member is actively listening they are participating.
Auditorium: A room occupied by the audience to hear the speaker. From the Latin root, audire - "to hear" and orius - "a place for."
Autograph: An autograph is a signature written with one's own hand. From auto - "self," and graph - "written."
Autograph Table: Many speakers call the table on which they sell their products at the back of the room the autograph table.
Back-of-Room Sales: Sometimes referred to as BOR sales, when the speaker sells books and other products at the back of the room, usually immediately after the speech.
Bandy Words: A speaker who would "bandy words" with an audience member is hitting the words back and forth; a give and take. Bandy was a game, played with a ball and racket.
Bio: Shortened form of biography. See Biographical Sheet.
Biographical Sheet: Usually referred to as the bio, curriculum vita, CV, or vita. Lists speaker's credits and a brief history of career. For speakers and presenters this is not a job resume. Length can be one paragraph, usually not longer than one page double spaced page.
Biography: A written history of a person's life. A speaker's biography is usually tailored to their experience in the topic area in which they are presenting. From bios, "life" and grapho - "write".
Black & white: See glossy
Black humor: "a form of humor that regards human suffering as absurd rather than pitiable, or that considers human existence as ironic and pointless but somehow comic.( Random House Unabridged Dictionary Second Edition, CD-ROM Version, ©1993 by Random House, Inc.)
Blocking: 1. The way you position yourself, your props, your lighting, and your equipment. 2. The path of action you take to move one spot to another on-stage. If done well, it gives the greatest clarity of movement for the communication.
Blue humor: Risqué and naughty humor. Near as I can tell, back in the 1300's the meanings of "blue" was to be sick. But in the USA in the early 1800's, "blue" also became a slang adjective for being drunk, possibly because those who over-indulge get a bit "blue around the edges," hence "blue laws" to forbid you drinking during certain days and times. Later that century "blue" came to also mean risqué and naughty. So my theory is: folks tend to get crude when they get drunk, their humor representative of their state of inebriation, maybe this is where we get the term "off-color." Maybe too much black humor and too much blue humor will bruise the audience ... leave them black and blue. (OK, OK, it's weak.)
Bomb: In the USA in the 1960's it became a slang word meaning an absolute failure, or a fiasco, the British also use it to mean an overwhelming success (go figure!)
Bombastic: All the definitions of this in my dictionaries were very negative - "a verbose grandiosity or pretentious inflation of language and style disproportionate to thought." (This seem rather bombastic if ya ask me!). It means a user of language more elaborate than is justified or appropriate, perhaps by using language that's theatrical or stagy. Bombast or bombase was the cotton used to stuff or pad garments. It then came to mean a pretentious inflated style (kinda "stuffy") of speech or writing, in other words, a "stuffed shirt."
Book: To reserve a date for a speaking engagement. The term originally meant to reserve something by entering it in a book of record.
Booking (a): The condition of being engaged to speak.
Bore/boring - to weary yourself or other by dullness, as being long-winded. Once source says it comes from the Old English bor auger - which, more or less, meant a spear, a tool to go through something. Perhaps we use it as we do today because boring your audience is like wounding them .
Break-out Session/s, Break-out: The breakout of the main group into smaller groups. A session at a convention or meeting where attendees are divided into several concurrent sessions to hear special material on differing special interest topics.
Brochure: A presenters brochure usually lists speech titles, past speaking clients of importance, and quotes from clients and/or other famous people about the speaker. From the French brocher to stitch - a brochure often being a few pages stitched together.
Bromide: 1. Not a common term in the USA any longer, but still used in some other countries loosely to mean a photo quality original, mainly to be used for reproduction. (with the development of laser printers terms like "bromide," "velox" and "slicks"- all terms for a photo-quality original - will soon be only historical notations.) (see "camera-ready copy") 2. A person or expression which is flat, dull, trite and/or boring. Bromide is a chemical, a compound of bromine, which is used in film for black-and-white photography. The British chemist and inventor Sir Joseph Wilson Swan, was famous for his work in photography, and patented "bromide" paper in 1879, copies of photographs were often made on this paper and became known as "bromides." Today old photographs are still often referred to as "bromides." "Bromide" as a slang for a bore comes from the fact that "bromide" was also used as a sedative.
Bureau (Speakers): see Speakers Bureau
Buyer: The person or group who signs the contract and pays for the speaker.
By-Line, byline: The line at the head of a news story, article, or the such, in newspaper, magazine, etc., giving the name of the writer. This is a USA term from the 1920's from the world of graphics in journalism, "Well! Where is the line saying who wrote the darn thing?" "The byline is right here Chief!"
Camera-ready: A piece of material that is of a quality ready to be photographed for reproduction by a printing press, copy machine or camera. Presenters are often asked to develop handouts and/or workbooks to supplement their talks and are often asked to supply an "original" (the master image from which identical copies are produced) for event coordinators most coordinators request this master original to be "camera-ready" so they will not need the piece "typeset." Over the years many processes and systems were used for the pre-production composition of a "camera-ready" master - from an inscription engraved in stone to an illustration cut into a wood block or a text stored as digital information in a computer. In this century , once a master is made camera-ready, many methods were employed to make a clear copy that could be used by a printer to make the duplications. With the development of the laser printer, this middle step of creating a clean clear copy for the printer is taken care of by our personal computers and is fast becoming obsolete. Yet the terms still hang-on, don't be surprised when you are asked to submit an original and you hear words that reflex one of the many products or processes used to make those clear copies: "bromide," "velox" "PMT," or "slick". Today these words are usually a request for a "camera-ready" master.
Canned: For speakers it has come to mean a standard speech or presentation. Music from phonographic or gramophone, adopted Circa 1925 from USA.(Partridge's Consise Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, form the work of Eric Partride, ed. Paul Beale, ©1989, McMillion, page 78). Originally referred to music that was recorded and stored in a cylinder, rather than live. The myth is that if a the speech is "canned", the audience is left feeling they were listening to the same old thing, like a recording. This only happens when the speaker loses their enthusiasm for that same old speech and it shows to the audience.
Caricature: A representation ludicrously exaggerating and/or distorting of the peculiarities or defects of persons or things, to produce an absurd effect. From Italian caricare to load, exaggerate, or distort. (also see characterization)
Characterization: Selecting physical mannerisms, tones of voice, rhythm, etc., for the creation and convincing and/or humorous representation of fictitious characters, or personas in your presentation. (also see caricature)
Charlatan: A person who pretends to be more knowledge or skilled at something than he or she is; an impostor; quack. From the old French word ciarla - chat or idle talk. Interesting that a Charlatan is especially associated with those that offer "idle chat." They got it from the old Italian word, cerretano meaning an inhabitant of Cerreto, a village near Spoleto, in Italy. It's archaic meaning was "a baker of dubious remedies." Which just makes you wonder about the guys from Cerreto.
Chautauqua Circuit: 1. " an annual educational meeting, originating in this village (Chautauqua) in 1874, providing public lectures, concerts, and dramatic performances during the summer months, usually in an outdoor setting. 2. (usually l.c.) any similar assembly, esp. one of a number meeting in a circuit of communities. - adj. 3. of or pertaining to a system of education flourishing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, originating at Lake Chautauqua, New York." (Random House Unabridged Dictionary Second Edition, CD-ROM Version, ©1993 by Random House, Inc.) The Chautauqua circuit followed the railroad lines and boasted such celebrities as Charles Dickens, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mark Twain and PT Barnum. (also see Circuit).
Cheap Laugh: 1. A laugh that anyone could get, because it is so obvious or easy, like a sight gag. 2. An unkind, tasteless, or un-sportsmanlike laugh (as in "cheap shot"), as in preying on stereotypes, or sexism: e.g. saying to a woman, "Now clear your mind! … Oh? So quickly!"
"Chestnuts": Stories, jokes or songs that have been overused and are stale. From the 1880's -I found nobody who could tell me why we decided a nut was a synonym for an old tired joke. One guess said, "… one plausible explanation is that is comes from an old melodramas, The Broken Sword, by William Dillion. In the play Captain Zavier is retelling, for the umpteenth time, a story having to do with a cork tree. His listener Pablo breaks in suddenly, correcting cork tree to chestnut tree, saying, 'I should know as well as you having heard you tell the tale these twenty-seven times.' Popularization of the term is attributed to the comedian William Warren, who had played the role of Pablo many times." (Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 2nd. edi. Laurence Urdang, editor, Gale Research Co., Detroit, 1985) My guess is that chestnuts where very, very, common, so a common story got called a chestnut.
Circuit: 1. a periodical journey from place to place. Usually considered to be several presentations at varying locations. 2. just as it is referred to for a group of associated theaters presenting plays, films, etc., a single sponsor may set up a serious of engagements. The term was used by judges to hold court, ministers to preach, or salespeople covering a route. "She is on the circuit this month." For presenters it is most often a reference to the old Chautauqua Circuit days when speakers were sent around the country on a speaking circuit, or on a speaking tour. (also see "Chautauqua Circuit")
Classroom style seating: When the seating for the audience is set up with tables in front of seats.
Cliché: a trite, stereotyped expression, a sentence or phrase. Originally a printing press used wooden blocks, later metal was used to cope with the stress of bigger runs - called a cliché or stereotype. Since a cliché as used over and over, someone clever person used the expression to mean an expression that is used over and over.
Client: Whoever is paying for the service. A company or Association is the client when they buy the speaker. A speakers may be the client of an agent who is paid, or receives a commission of earnings to "manage" them.
Cliques: any small, exclusive, clannish group of people. In an audience, attendees tend to form in, or associate in, little clannish groups, a clique. The learning level in training and seminar settings is considered to higher if attendees are broken out of the cliques they arrived in. From the 1700's possibly a likening of the Middle French clique - latch.
Close to the edge: See the "edge"
Community service speakers bureau: A speakers bureau that sends presenters into a community or industry, usually at little or no cost, to speak on topics that promote the sponsoring company or on public awareness issues.
Compassion: deep sympathy for the needs of another with the desire to help or spare. From the Latin com- together + pati to feel. As a speaker you attempt to bring your own feelings for others "together" with their feelings and needs.
Conclude to bring to an end; finish; terminate. From the Latin com- thoroughly + claudere to close, shut off.
Concluder: In a speech the final remarks said to finish the presentation. A concluder could be used by the speaker to closes a presentation, but it also refers to the remarks the MC or announcer makes to conclude that particular session.
Concurrent (sessions): Concurrent or breakout sessions (see breakout) .
Connection: The bonding, association; relationship - of the presenter with the audiences emotions.
Consult: to seek advice, guidance or information from someone. Refers to giving or asking of advice. From the Latin consulere to seek advice.
Consultant: Person who gives professional or technical advice. Speakers often consult with clients to prepare customized material for programs or workbooks for an added fee. Example might be an expert who sits in on telephone complaint calls in order to prepare material for workshops to train employees in handling problem customers. The term came in usage in the late 1600's.
Content - that which a thing contains like the contents of a box, in our case the subject matter. It is frequently used as, "We want a speaker with content!" Meaning audiences want speakers will usable data and ideas they can apply to their own situations, rather than "fluff."
Contract: A formal legal instrument used to state agreement between speaker and client, and/or bureau. Details the exact terms of payment and performance.
Convey: to communicate; transmit; make known: from the Latin com- together + via road or way. When we teach we use the roadway of words to bring together the minds of the speaker and that of the listener.
Cordless: Slang for cordless microphone; wireless mic. A cordless could be a handheld, or a lavaliere.
Curriculum Vitae or Vita: Also called just plain vita, vitae or CV. A brief biographical resume of the presenters career and training, This term is most commonly used by the academic community. See "biographical sketch"
CV: See Curriculum Vita and biographical sketch
Dais: a raised platform, as at the front of a room where the speaker presents from. Also called platform, podium, riser, or stage. From the Latin discus meaning table.
Dead-pan, deadpan: a completely expressionless face, and a style of comedic technique that uses a completely expressionless face. US. slang from the 1920's - "Pan has been used since at least the early 19th century to mean 'the face,' possibly because the face is 'broad, shallow and often open,' as Webster's suggests, but just as likely because pan meant 'the skull or head' as far back as the early 14th century ad was used by Chauscer." (Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins," Robert Hendrickson, page 153 - 154)
Demo: Audio or visual demonstration tapes. Used to promote speakers' services or speeches to buyers.
Desultory: Jumping from one thing to another; unmethodical, random. Roman acrobats would jump from one fast moving horse to another, they were called desultores - leapers. If you deliver a speech in a desultory fashion you leap from one thought to another.
Diad, Dyad: a group of two; couple; pair.
Digress: When a speaker steps away from the main subject, he 'digresses', or rambles and wanders around in his presentation - not a pretty picture. from the Latin di- away, apart + gradi to go step.
Discourse - To send forth one's ideas concerning a subject, communication of thought by words; talk; conversation. From the Latin dis- apart + cursus a running.
Discuss: To have as the subject of conversation or writing; especially to explore solutions. From the Latin discutere to discuss, dis- apart + guatere to shake. Interesting, as a speaker when you allow them to discuss, they are shaken apart? Or the topic? I rather think both.
Downstage: At or toward the front of the stage. In olden days, theatre was often down in a small ravine. The audience was on one hillside, the stage on the other. "Downstage" being the point that was the farthest down the hill. Upstage was the point farthest up the stage, up the hill. (see upstage) This made it easier for the audience to see and hear. Even today a speaker will say, "Come on down here with me!" meaning, come downstage to where I am.
Dynamic - when a presentation seemed to be filled with energy and/or effective action and forcefulness: from the Greek, dynamis meaning power.
Easel: A folding frame or tripod used to support the flip charts, etc. In Dutch a donkey is called an ezel. A donkey is wonderfully patience assistant who bears his burden without complaint for hours - hence the artists ezel would hold it's burden. Today a speaker has this same faithful friend in most meetings. (Also see flip chart.)
Edge (the): Came into usage in the early 1900's. When you reach the limit of "whatever" - the edge, then go past it, you've gone over the edge. The extreme of what is expected, and/or acceptable to your listener - you go to the edge. Hence the expressions: over the edge, close to the edge, on the edge. A humorist may have the audience rolling on the floor with mildly racy humor (close to the edge), but she may step too far over the edge, that is when the audience starts to think, 'that's not funny, it's just plain dirty/gross/etc.!' The challenge to any presenter is discovering where this undefined edge is for you and your audience.
Elocution: The art, study and practice of public speaking or reading aloud in public, including vocal delivery and gesture. Also refers to your manner of speaking.
Elocutionist: Someone adept at elocution - public speaking, and at voice production. An older term, not widely used anymore. From the Latin e- out + loqui to speak.
Eloquent, eloquence: A speaker who uses expressiveness, the fluent, polished, and effective use of language. The quality of speaking in a moving, forceful, or persuasive way. From the Latin e- out + loqui to speak.
Emcee: Informal way of saying the Master of Ceremonies at a banquet, often spelled M.C. Also see Announcer, Introducer, Master of Ceremonies, MC, and Toastmaster.
Emotion - "A strong surge of feeling marked by an impulse to outward expression and often accompanied by complex bodily reactions; any strong feeling, as love, hate, or joy." (Microlibrary 1.1, ©1990-1992, by Inductell which uses Funk & Wagnals Dictionary) From the Latin emotio and onis e- out and movere to move. Which is where the expression "to move an audience" - when we have "touched their emotions" undoubtedly comes from.
Energetic: One has or exhibits energy, when one is powerful in action or effectiveness. From the Greek en- and ergon - work. Interesting that being energetic on the platform can only be achieved by hard work.
Enjoy: to experience with joy; take pleasure in. From the 1350's Middle English enjoyen - to make joyful, who took it from the Old French enjoier - to give joy to. Rather a lovely morale message to realize both roots involve the giving of joy. Perhaps the old guys were wiser than us to know that to get it, you must give it first.
Enthusiasm: a keen, animated interest, an absorbing or controlling possession of the mind by any subject, interest or pursuit. From the Greek entheos, enthous inspired, possessed. Originally this meant people who in religious situations seemed so inspired as to be possessed by god - "theos". The expression has almost lost its religious meaning. Enthusiasm - a passionate elevation of soul. For speakers: we have all felt the wonderful filling up with spirit that happens when we are speaking well, then the joy as that spirit pours from us into our audience and they become filled with enthusiasm - as if filled with god's spirit.
Enunciate: To pronounce words distinctly in articulate or a particular way. From the Latin e- out and nuntiare to announce.
Eulogize: Although often thought of as the address given at a funeral, it actually means to extol and laud, either through speaking or writing a eulogy, a piece of high praise. From the Greek eu- well and legein to Speak.
Expatiate/s: To elaborate at length with copious descriptions or discussion. From the Latin ex- out and spatiari to wander about. The archaic meaning was to intellectually and imaginatively move around.
Experiential Exercise: Audience participation exercise where the lessons learned are derived from experience used to convey the lesson. Example: you touch the hot stove when you are young, you have just learned a lesson from an experiential learning method. (also see Audience Participation)
Expostulate: To reason earnestly with a person against something they were inclined to do. Came into use in the 1520's From the Latin expostulÄtus - demanded urgently, required
Extemporaneous: Prepared with regard to content but not read or memorized word for word. From the Latin ex- out + tempus, temporis time.
Flip Chart: A chart with pieces of paper, usually set on an easel. Used by the speaker to clarify his points. also see Easel
Flippant: remarks given without enough forethought, often characterized by levity.
Flop: To be completely unsuccessful. The entire talk maybe a flop, or just a portion, a joke, anecdote, etc., could "flop." From the late 1890's.
Flop Sweat: 1. fear and trauma of performing 2. actual perspiration when fearful of performing.
Fluent: Capable of speaking or writing with effortless ease as in running freely like a stream of water. From the Latin fluens, and fluere - to flow.
Flyer: A one-sheet piece of printed advertising, letter or legal size. Often produced to promote the presenters program, products or services.
Focus: the concept, ideas on which the mind is concentrated and centered. From 1630's era, from the Latin word for "fireplace." The Roman's had their fireplace as the center of their family life. The root of this same word came to mean the central point for our interest, it has a similar meaning in optics, physics, and geometry. In one of his books, Norman Vincent Peale comments seem to tie fire and focus together, "Walt Whitman said of himself, 'I was simmering, really simmering; Emerson brought me to a boil.' What an apt description of a personality, gifted but lacking in power until the fire of enthusiasm brought it to a the boiling point."
Foil: 1. A person or thing that makes another seem better by contrast, this person could be, but is not necessarily, a "plant." (see plant). When the foil stops being a "good" contrast for the presenter, they would then be categorized as a heckler (see heckler) 2. Term used for overhead slide transparencies, more commonly used in aerospace, high-tech companies, and in Europe. The term "foil" seems to be based on an older method of making overheads from the 1950's where the overhead was produced on foil-like material. Any metal in the form of very thin sheets is referred to as "foil." From the Latin folium- leaf. Later, in Old French, it came to mean to decorate with leaf like designs, often in thin metals.
Forte: a persons strong point, something in which she excels. "He is humorist, but magic is his forte." A two-syllable pronunciation (fÔr´tã) is often heard, perhaps confusing this word with the musical term forte, pronounced in English as (fÔr´tã) and in Italian as (fÔR´te) which similarly means loudly and forcefully. The historical pronunciation of forte is one-syllable (fÔrt) or (fõrt). Both pronunciations are correct. The word is derived from the French word fort - "strong."
Fulminate: As when something, like a chemical explodes suddenly and violently, a speaker fulminates when they make loud or violent denunciations or scathing verbal attacks; or when they give a scathing rebuke or condemnation. From the Latin fulmen, fulminis - lightning.
Gab: To talk, chatter, yak, rap, schmooze or chat idly. Funk & Wagnalls thinks it is probably from the Old Norse word gabba - "to mock." But Random House feels it perhaps comes from the 1540-50, Scottish Gaelic word gob - "mouth." Even the old French word gobe means "mouthful." When you have the "gift of gab," you are gifted with the use of your mouth.
Gag: it means a joke or any built in piece of wordplay or horseplay. It comes to be used by speakers from the theatre. Historian seemed to be puzzled by it's origin. Some speculate it might have meant that a jokester would finally annoy his audience so badly they would want to "gag" him.
Garble: To mix up, jumble or confuse, facts, ideas, stories, etc. unintentionally, or ignorantly; From the Arabic gharbala, to sift or purify. "But by the seventeenth century it had come to mean "sifting" information maliciously – putting together selected bits to distort the meaning. Nowadays, the malice has dropped out, and the information is merely muddled." (from "Loose Cannons and Red Herrings", by Robert Claiborne, Ballantine Books, Oct. 1980, page 111.)
General Assembly (session): A meeting of all attendees at a meeting or convention, usually implies a session other than a meal function. A general assembly often, but certainly not always, follows a meal session, in the same room because everyone is already sitting in that location.
Genre: a class or category of artistic endeavor having a particular form, content, technique, or the like: "the genre of western cowboy comedy, "the genre of a fire and brimstone orator." Comes into usage in the mid 1750's and can be traced to the Latin genus- meaning, race or kind, the same root be get "gender" from.
Gesticulate: use of emphatic or expressive gestures, especially in an animated or excited manner. From the Latin gesticulus, diminutive of gestus which is where we get the word gesture.
Gig: Slang term for booking, or the engagement.
Glib: When you speak fluently but without much thought they say you are a glib talker. More superficial than sincere. from the Middle Low German glibberich - slippery.
Glossary: a list of terms in a special subject area, explaining the technical, obscure, difficult or unusual words and expressions used, or a list of the same at the back of a book, explaining or defining these. From the Greek root glôss- tongue. Easy to see how it came mean a collection of words with which the tongue might have trouble.
Glossy (a): Slang for a glossy photograph. Usually refers to a black and white promotional photograph of the presenter. Also called a black and white, or B.&W.
Greenroom: Room "backstage" in a theater, broadcasting studio, or the like, where speakers can relax when they are not on-stage, on camera, etc. Random House's dictionary dates it's usage from the late 1600's. The real reason we call it a greenroom is lost to antiquity. One drama friend of mine recalls the possible fable in connection with the with the Globe Theatre in England. The actors performing in Shakespeare's open-air theater, had to face the summer sun all afternoon. So the legend has it that the actor's resting space backstage was painted green as a restorative to the eyes. Another says the terrible glare from the "lime lights" was so harsh that they needed a dark place to rest after a show - hence a room painted dark green. The "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins," by Robert Hendrickson (Page 234, Facts on File, NY ©1987) says, "… probably takes it's name from such a room in London's Durry Lane Theatre, which just happened to be painted green sometime in the late 17th. century Most authorities reject the old story that the room was painted green to soothe the actors' eyes." Hhmmm, note this is 100 years later than Random House sites, but it first appears in print in 1678, so maybe Randown House is right. The Oxford Compain to the Theater also thinks it is most probably is called greenroom as it was originally painted green, but they also note that, "It was also known as the Scene Room, a term later applied to a room where scenery was stored, and it has been suggested that 'green' is a corruption of 'scene'" (The Oxford Compain to the Theater, 4th Ed. by Phyllis Hartnaoll, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1983, page 352). So, only the ghosts of actors past know the truth about "greenroom."
Gross fee: The total fee the buyer is charged for a booking, including agents' fees, excluding expenses.
Hack Writer: one who hires out their services to write - especially for routine work. It often means if the writing is stale or trite by constant use. A hack was a horse for hire, (today in the US. a taxicab a is hack). These horses were often thought of old, and worn-out
Ham: A presenter or an actor who overacts or exaggerates. History of this term is varied. Possibly from actors that were of the "lower order" who removed their make-up with inexpensive ham. However, according to my Random House Unabridged dictionary, "1880-85; short for hamfatter, after 'The Hamfat Man', a black minstrel song." Finally, my nephew thinks it is because a presenter tends to "hog" the limelight, so they are hams.
Handheld: Slang for a handheld microphone. A handheld comes in a cord or cordless version.
Handout: Informative or educational material given to the audience at the speaker's presentation. Often in flyer form, but refers to anything that is "handed out" to the audience.
Hands-Free mike/mic: Microphone that attaches to speaker's clothing.
Harangues: A lengthy, loud, and vehement speech; tirade. From the Old High German hari army, host + hringa ring.
Head Table: Table at the front of the room. Reserved for the key people at a meeting.
Heart Story: a story that touches the heart, spirit or soul of the listener. They are usually thought of as those vignettes that bring a tear to the eye.
Heckle: When the presenter in being annoyed with taunts, questions, etc. "The original verb meant to straighten and disentangle the fibers of flax or hemp, by drawing them through a heavy, sharp-toothed iron comb; later it took on the additional meaning of "scratch." A speaker who's being severely heckler may well feel as if he's being scratched with such a comb.
Heightening: Intensifying the audiences, or the presenters awareness, sensitivity, or understanding of a subject. Presenters heighten themselves when with their presentation create a greater enthusiasm and or a greater dimension through their "connection" to the audience. The audience is heightened if the connection is made and understanding and enlightenment dawn in their minds.
Hem and Haw: when you are at a loss for words, so you say things that really are not saying much of anything, example, "well, ah, you see, um, I was just .... well, I had thought that.... uh." From the 16th Century. When a speaker goes Hmmmmm and then clears their throat - hack.
Hoarse: a husky, gruff, or croaking voice, deep, harsh, and grating in sound.
Honorarium: Payment given speaker. Usually refers to politicians and others in industries where payment for speaking forbids a set fee
House (the): Slang expression for the building in which you are speaking, or for the number of attendees in the building. "How's the house?" means how many audience members are sitting in the venue. "The house is dim", means the room is lighted poorly.
House lights: The lights that illuminate the audience rather than the stage.
Humor: The quality of anything that is funny or appeals to the comic sense. From the Latin umere to be moist. Today means The quality of anything that is funny or appeals to the comic sense. But In ancient physiology, one of the four principal bodily fluids (cardinal humors), blood, phlegm, choler (yellow bile), and melancholy (black bile), which, according to their proportions in the body, were believed to influence health and temperament.
I.P.A: The International Platform Association. A USA based association for public speakers.
Idiom/s: 1. An expression peculiar to a language, not readily understandable from the meaning of its parts, an expression whose meaning is not predictable from the usual meanings of its constituent elements, examples "to put up with", "kick the bucket", or "hang one's head," 2. a language, dialect, or style of speaking peculiar to a people or region. 3. The special terminology of an industry, class, occupational group, etc. From the Greek idios -one's own.
Impresario: A producer or director of rallies or programs to the public, opera, concert, or musical comedy. Programs organized by impresarios for speakers are usually in large sports arenas or auditoriums.
Improve: From the OF en- into and prou profit. To become or to make better. To raise to a higher or more desirable quality, value, or condition.
Improvisation: 1. to compose and perform or deliver a speech (or music, verse, drama, etc.) without previous thought or preparation From the Latin in- not + provire - to foresee.
In-House: When the audience is composed of only employees of the same company.
Influence: the power to produce effects on the actions or thoughts of others. From the Latin in- in + fluere- to flow.
Inspire: To have an invigorating influence on someone, to move them to a particular feeling, idea, etc.. To breathe life into an idea in their minds. From the Latin in- into + spirare -to breathe.
Instruct: To impart knowledge or skill. To build a new knowledge base within their minds. From the Latin in- in + struere to build.
Interact: To act on each other. Refers to the audience and/or the presenter communicating with each other in verbal or non-verbal manner.
Interpretation: the presenter or the audiences explanation and/or understanding of the meaning of the ideas under discussion.
Intro: Slang term for an introduction.
Introducer: The person who introduces the speaker and usually leads the audience into a look within the speakers history. Also see Announcer, Emcee, Master of Ceremonies, MC, and Toastmaster. From the Latin intro- within and ducere - to lead.
Introduction: A carefully written opener about the speaker used by Introducer at the beginning of your speech. A "halo," with your credits, achievements and honors. Explains, "why this speaker, for this crowd, on this date, for this audience."
Irony: A sarcastic or humorous way of speaking, where you say the opposite of what you mean, as when "Isn't that sweet?" means "That's hideous". (see sarcasm)
Juice (the): electricity or electric power.
Keynote: Originally meant the fundamental point of a speech, today refers to main speech at a meeting. One of the featured spots at an event. Usually connected with a prime time at the event, such as a meal function or to open or close an event, to the entire convention in the main room. Often the celebrity speaker. Sets tone of convention, and carries out theme.
Laugh: 1. Refer to methods of expressing mirth, appreciation of humor and merriment, etc. 2. Something that causes laughter, eg., a joke, gag, anecdote, "I get the laugh by doing a prat fall as I enter."
Lavaliere: A "hands free" microphone that attaches to your lapel or part of your clothing, as opposed to a stationary or hand-held mic. Can be on a cord, or cordless. Originally a "lavaliere" was a pendant, from the French la vallière round or oval ornament worn on a chain around the neck, named after Louise de La Vallière, 1644-1710, mistress of Louis XIV]
Lectern: Small desk or stand with sloping top from which you "lecture at" (see lecture). Sometimes it has a stationery or hand-held mic attached, a shelf underneath, and a light. Sometimes called (many will argue incorrectly) the podium.
Lecture: a discourse given before an audience. The archaic meaning of the word "lecture" is "the act of reading aloud". From the Latin - agere -to read.
Lighting (the) - The providing of light or the state of being lighted. Refers to the way a stage or presentation area is illuminated.
Limelight: "1. Public attention or notice. 2. A bright light used to illuminate a performer, stage area, etc., originally produced by heating lime to incandescence." (Funk & Wagnals, Microlibrary 1.1, ©1990-1992, by Inductell)
Lingo: The specialized vocabulary and idiom of a profession, class, etc.: medical lingo. 1600's an apparent alteration. of from the Latin, lingua - tongue,
M.C.: Pronounced M.C. as it is written, it is an abbreviation of Master of Ceremonies. Sometimes spelled emcee. "Mary is the M.C. tonight." or "John is going to M.C. the event." Also see Announcer, Emcee, Introducer, Master of Ceremonies, and Toastmaster.
Malapropism: The absurd misuse of words.
Master: 1. a person eminently skilled in something, as an occupation, art, or science, as in a master of the spoken word. 2. of or pertaining to a master from which copies are made: in photography a master film (also called a "copy negative"); in recording: an audio or video tape or disk from which duplicates may be made; In printing, the "camera-ready" piece used to make other copies from, for handouts, workbooks or overheads, etc.
Master of Ceremonies: The person who acts as a moderator and connects the separate sessions at a meeting together. Also see Announcer, Emcee, Introducer, MC, and Toastmaster.
Materials - the things you use in your presentations. Handouts, products, giveaways, workbooks.
Media: 1. all the ways of communicating with the public, as radio and television, newspapers, and magazines. 2. An area or form of artistic expression, or the materials used by the artist or speaker. The media a speaker uses would be the "tools" she uses, such as overheads or videos. Dianna Booher, business communications expert says, "… or, used more loosely when referring to speakers, 'media' may refer to pantomime, magic, drama or any other means of conveying a message or feeling other than words." Media is the plural form of medium, it was first used in reference to newspapers two centuries ago and meant "an intervening agency, means, or instrument." Multimedia: The combined use of several media, as sound and full-motion video in computer applications. A speaker may use overheads, videos, live music in a multimedia presentation.
Meeting Planner: Person in charge of all planning of the meeting --logistics, meals, hotel arrangements, room-sets, travel and often hiring of the speakers. Often called just the planner.
Mellifluous: When your words flow sweetly, like honey. From the Latin mel - honey and fluere to flow.
Mesmerize: To hypnotize. A presenter can so captivate an audience they seem to hypnotize. From the 1820's, referring to the infamous Austrian physician who was a rather dubious pioneer in hypnosis, Franz or Frieïdrich Anïton Mesmer who lived from 1733-1815. "Often accused of being a magician and charlatan, Mesmer treated neurotic patients using iron magnets and hypnosis, which he originated. Hypnosis, or 'mesmerism,' later became an accepted psychotherapeutic technique." (The New Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, Release 6, © 1993 Grolier, Inc.)
Metaphor - A figure of speech in which one object is likened to another by speaking of it as if it were that other, where a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance, as in "A mighty fortress is our God," or "He was a lion in battle" distinguished from simile. From the Greek meta- beyond, over and pherein - to carry.
Metaphor, mixed: A mixed metaphor is the use in the same expression of two or more metaphors that are incongruous or illogical when combined, as in "The president will put the ship of state on its feet. 'He kept a tight rein on his boiling passions.'
Mic: (See microphone). slang seen in print for microphone. Pronounced "mike." Mic was considered an incorrectly abbreviation of microphone for many years. But, the brand new dictionaries have finally given in to the influence of the notation on the back of all those tape players, (you know, there by the a hole where you plug in the microphone that says, "mic".)
Microphone: an instrument which causes sound waves to be generated or modulated through an electric current, usually for the purpose of transmitting or recording speech or music. There are many types -- most common for presenters are hand-held - with or without a cord; stationary - usually attached to a lectern or a mic stand; lavaliere or hands-free.
Mike: Slang for microphone. (see microphone)
Module: A self-contained section of a presentation.
muse/Muses: "muse" - lower case M - is the genius or powers characteristic of presenters, poets, thinkers, and the like. Since ancient times these artsy sorts have invoked the appropriate Muse for aid when performing and creating. Although it can refer to any power regarded as inspiring, the original Muses were sister goddesses, originally given as Aoede (song) , Melete (meditation), and Mneme (memory) , but latterly and more commonly as the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne who presided over various arts: Calliope (epic poetry), Clio (history) , Erato (lyric poetry , Euterpe (music), Melpomene (tragedy), Polyhymnia (religious music), Terpsichore (dance), Thalia (comedy), and Urania (astronomy).
Non-verbal: All things that do not use spoken words to communicate. Teaching with the use of non-verbal methods, possibly using pictures, games, site, sounds, feeling, touch, smell.
NSA: The National Speakers Association, (of the United States.) There is also the National Speakers of Australia.
Off-color: Material that is naughty, indelicate or indecent or risqué. Also see "blue humor".
Off-the-Cuff: This term allegedly comes from the practice of after dinner speakers making notes for a speech on the cuff of their shirt sleeve at the last minute, as opposed to preparing a speech well before hand. It originated in America 1930. My mother remembers her Grandfather spoke of this practice. He said they used to have celluloid cuffs that would wash right off after the talk.
On-Site: Where an event is held. Also refers to an event where meeting planners preview a hotel or venue as a prospective meeting location.
Orator: a person who delivers an oration (a speech), usually thought of as someone of great eloquence. From the 1300's and Latin word for speaker.
Over the edge: (see "edge")
Overhead Projector: A projector of images from transparent piece of film onto a screen.
Oxymoron: A figure of speech in which incongruous, seemingly self-contradictory terms are brought together, as in the phrases, in "cruel kindness" or "to make haste slowly." or "O heavy lightness, serious vanity!" From the Greek oxys - sharp and moros - foolish.
PA: The public address system. The loud speaker equipment which amplifies sound to the audience.
Panel: A small group of presenters selected to hold a discussion and a particular subject. Audiences are usually encouraged to participate in a question and answer period.
Pantomime: the art or technique of conveying emotions, actions, feelings, etc., by gestures without speech. A style of a play and a type acting. From the Greek panto(s) - of all + mimos - imitator
Passion: Any intense, extreme, or overpowering emotion or feeling. From the Latin pati to suffer.
Patter: 1. Specialized technical phrases and terminology exclusive to an industry. 2. the usually glib and rapid speech or talk used by a humorist magician while performing, 3. any standard material used by a presenter that accompanies their shtick. 4. Speakers might speak or sing a rapid-fire patter song or speech. 5. When you speak in a staccato fashion it can be called patter. Way back when, in the Catholic faith, the priest would speak in Latin. The priests would say their Paternoster in a very fast mechanical manner, and it came to be known as "patter."
Philosophy: 1. The study of the principles of reality in general. 2. The love of wisdom, and the search for it. 3. The general laws that furnish the rational explanation of anything: the philosophy of banking. 4. Practical wisdom; fortitude. From the Greek- philosophos - lover of wisdom.
Photo-quality: See camera-ready copy
Pit (the): 1. the area of the theatre where the musicians are located. 2. The main floor of the auditorium of a theater ,especially the rear part; also, the audience sitting in this section. 3. Great distress or trouble, as when the presenter feels they are doing a poor job, "I'm dyin' up here! I'm in the pit."
Pithy: Forceful; effective: brief, and meaningful in expression; full of vigor, substance, or meaning; succinct, pointed, meaty, concise. A Middle English term from the 1300's. Pith being the important or essential, core or heart of the matter. Archaic meaning was the spinal cord or bone marrow.
Plagiarism: an act of artistic or literary theft. This word goes back to the Latin word plagiarus, meaning kidnapping - especially in keeping and stealing of the child, not the act of holding it for random. So when you use someone else's words or thoughts as your own you kidnap them.
Planner: See "meeting planner."
Plant: A person set up in the audience to help the speaker, by asking a pre-arranged question to warm the audience up, or be part of a pre-designed act. The plant has rehearsed or prepared reactions, comments, etc., to appear spontaneous to the rest of the audience. (see Shill)
Platform: 1. The raised area where speakers stand when they address an audience. Also called dais, podium, riser, or stage. 2. a public statement of the principles, objectives, and policy of a political party. My theory is that since in the past politicians always stated their policy from the platform, so eventually the statement itself became known as the platform.
Plug: An advertisement, not in the form of a formal ad, usually a mention, either given verbally from the platform or written in a publication, to help promote a product or service.
PMT: acronym for "photo mechanical transfer" See "camera-ready."
Podium: Often a riser or risers; a small stage; also called dais, platform, or riser. This word comes from the same root as pedal and podiatrist, (the Greek word, podion - diminutive of pous, podos) meaning foot. So the Pod-ium is the place you step on. But common usage is wearing away at the correct translation of this word. Although not all new dictionaries have given in to those who insist on calling the lectern a podium, sometimes "podium" will be used to refer to the lectern. Both of the Unabridged dictionaries I used here say YES, a podium can be called a lectern, but list it as the third and last definition. However, the abridged, Funk & Wagnals Dictionary, does not list a lectern as a correct choice for a podium. So, you can call the lectern a podium if you like, but those of the old school will raise a condescending eyebrow at you.
Polish: To add those final touches of refinement to your presentation to make it complete and perfect. From the Latin polire to smooth.
Pontificate: Today it means to act or speak pompously or dogmatically, with an attitude of "I don't care to be questioned or challenged, I am the expert!" It also means to perform the office of a pontiff. What is a pontiff you ask and why should you care? Well that's what I asked myself when I read it and knowing does help explain this words history. It refers to the Roman Catholic Church, in ancient Rome, a Pontifex, was a priest belonging to the Pontifical College, the highest priestly ground that had supreme jurisdiction in religious matters. Back then the Church was the final says in all matters, no questions to be asked - or at least appreciated. From the Latin pons, pontis bridge + facere to make. It must have originally meant those who helped our understanding by making a bridge for our minds.
PR: Abbreviation of public relations - promotion, publicity, advertising - all the tools of keeping a speaker in the "public's eye.
Pratfall: Used in theatre to mean a fake fall. Thought of as US. Slang, but some trace it back to the 16th. century, it means a humiliating fall, often on the buttocks. There is an old English word praett, chiefly Scottish meaning a low down trick. Many think this word comes from that. However "prat" is a word from the 1500's meaning buttocks, so perhaps this is where is comes from.
Preoccupation: when the mind is fully engaged, engrossed, energy and attention are fully directed (hopefully at whatever the presenter wants it engrossed with!). From the Latin praeoccupare - to seize beforehand.
Press Kit: A promotional package which includes the speaker's letters of recommendation, audio and/or visual tapes, bio, articles written by and about the speaker, and other promotional materials. The name originates from promotional packages that were originally sent to the "press" - newspapers, media, etc. - to help promote someone.
Problem-solving: a system of teaching through audience involvement exercises that present a problem to the group and or sub-groups for which they attempt to find solutions.
Process: the logical series of steps the listener or the presenter must take to complete an exercise, or to deliver a concept.
Processing: the contemplation of the idea/s presented, the logical series of thoughts the listeners must send through their minds to arrive at a conclusion.
Product(s): Items the speaker has available for sale: usually books, audio cassettes, videos, workbooks, posters, etc.
Production Company: an vendor that help "produce" a meeting or event. A production company might handle the taping, lighting, sound and on occasion, even bring in the speakers and entertainers.
Professional Speaker: A public speaker who is paid a fee for performances.
Project (an idea): To use words or your force of character to send forth a visualized idea or concept into the minds of the listener. From the Latin pro- before + jacere- to throw.
Projection (the voice): To use the voice so it can be heard clearly and at a distance. From the Latin pro- before + jacere- to throw.
Projector: An apparatus for sending a picture onto a screen: overhead projector, slide projector, film projector.
Promotional Package: See press kit.
Prop/s: 1. the dictionary definition is any portable object: projector, overheads, notes, flip charts, marker pens, notepad, calendar, slides, multimedia shows, white board, chalk board, etc. (However, in common usage among professional presenters it gets fuzzy. I did a survey of 75 presenters on this one word trying to get a consensus of what current common usage dictates, and found there is this second, but not universal school of thought.) 2. Some presenters make a distinction between "traditional" visual aids, or learning aids: overheads, flip charts, etc., and less traditional paraphernalia: puppets, musical instruments. This group feels only "less traditional paraphernalia" qualify as "props," and props are 3 dimensional items. Jack Mingo, (famous for his "Coach Potato book) says, " … if I were feeling literal, technical, grouchy and argumentative, I would refer to chalkboards as part of the 'set;' flipboards, slides, chalk and pointers as part of the 'visual aids' (the tools that make the presentation possible); and the stuffed animals, puppets, birds' nests, and other cool stuff as 'props.'" Although "prop" has come to mean anything that "props up" (supports) a presentation, that is a later double entendre, it actually come from the theatrical slang for "stage property/ies."
Prompter: 1. In a theater, one who follows the lines and prompts the actors. 2. an electronic displays a magnified written text so that it is visible to the presenter an a clear screen but is invisible to the audience. The trade name - TelePrompTer - is often used to mean the devise itself, just as we open call any copy machine a Xerox, or any personal computer an IBM, regardless that is was actually manufacturer by another company.
Psychobabble: using words from psychiatry or psychotherapy that are ponderous and often not entirely accurate, popularized by a book of the same title (1977) by U.S. journalist Richard D. Rosen
Public domain: material and things of which the copyright or patent has expired or that never had any such protection. This is material anyone can be used and not credit.
Public Seminar: Seminar that is open to the public. Tickets are sold to individuals.
Public Service Bureau: See community service bureau.
Public Speaker: Someone who speaks in public.
Pulpit: An elevated stand or desk for a preacher in a church. From the Latin pulpitum - scaffold, stage.
Punch line (word): The line or word that delivers the impact, the fun, the hit, of the message.
Q & A: The question and answer session of a presentation.
Rapport: Harmony or sympathy of relation; agreement; accord, fellowship, camaraderie, understanding. From the French rapporter to bring back or report.
Rehearse: Today, we prepare for public performance, speech, play or song, etc. by going over those rough spots until they are smoothed out. From the Latin herce, meaning to harrow - a farm tern of going over the ground over and over to break up the rough spots.
Repartee: A quick and witty reply, or a succession of clever retorts to give quick thrust, as in verbal fencing that will slice (divide) the listener in two. Sorry, a bit of a grim analogy there as this word comes from the Latin re - again and partir to part or divide;
Repeat Engagement or Repeat Booking: When a speaker does a second booking for the same client.
Repertoire: the complete list or supply, or repertory, of dramas an actor or theatre can produce that are prepared and ready to perform. For speakers the speeches, and/or segments/modules the speaker has available. From the Latin repertérium - catalogue, inventory. (See repertory)
Repertory: An ordered list, index or catalog. See Repertoire.
Resistance: Unwillingness of the audience or the presenter to understand a concept, idea or experience.
Retort: To cast back a like reply, or hurl back a comment. From the Latin re + torquere - to bend or twist. From the same root word as torture (interesting!).
Risers: Short portable platforms used to raise an area in the of front of the room so that the presentation may be more easily seen by the audience.. A portable stage, dais, or podium. Also called dais, platform, podium, or stage.
Roast: An event where the guest of honor is criticized and/or ridiculed severely in the name of fun.
Roastee: the guest of "honor" at a Roast
Roaster: individual participants doing the roasting at a Roast
Roastmaster: is the Master of Ceremonies at a Roast.
Role-Play: an audience participation exercise where the audience and/or presenter pretends to have the attitudes, actions, and dialog of another, usually in a make-believe situation. This sort of exercise is used in an effort to heighten understanding of differing points of view or social interaction.
Rostrum: the dais, or stage area used by a speaker. The platform for speakers in the Forum of ancient Rome was decorated with the bows of ships captured in war. Guess what these bows were called? You got it! "Rostrums". Rostrum came to mean any platform for speakers in ancient Rome.
Running gags: joke, phrase or a fun bit of business that makes reference to others told before.
Sarcasm: A sarcastic remark tends to describe a person's weaknesses, vanities, absurdities, etc. in subtly disparaging terms. Irony is a more limited form of sarcasm. From the Greek sarkazein which meant to tear flesh (sarx) gnash teeth. (see irony).
Saver/s: Anything used to salvage a part of the presentation that seems to need rescuing.
Seasoning the presentation: Things that increase the enjoyment, zest, and/or impact of a presentation.
Seasoning the presenter: The act or aging process by which the presenter, just like lumber, is rendered fit for use. All the experiences that makes the presenter a better communicator and performer.
Segue: pronounced seg-way. The words or ways you transition from one topic to another in conversation or a speech. Ideally, segues should be logical or seamless. For example, if you open your talk on Leadership with, "My the weather is terrible today. And speaking of weather, great leaders need to use their skills in all weather - good and bad. So turn with me to page one of your handout." The transition from "weather" to "leaders" is a segue. The second transition, from "weather" to "handouts" is a merely a change of thought. Originally a term in music, meaning to proceed without pause from number, sound effect or theme to another.
Seminar: Classroom type lecture. One hour to many days. Usually an educational session. At a convention, the break-out, or concurrent sessions are often referred to as seminars. Usually thought of as having more lecture formats than a "workshop."
Sharing with the audience: refers to the inclusion of the audience in the magic and ambiance the presenter tries to create. Also refers to those times the presenter or and audience member shares some of the their - usually - 'personal' self, thoughts or feelings possibly with some self disclosure.
Shill: A plant in the audience (see plant), but shill can have a negative connotation of a connection with a hustle. Perhaps a person who poses as a bystander and decoy to encourage an audience to bet, buy or bid. This word seems to date from the 1920's
Shtick/shtik: from the Yiddish word stück, meaning a bit, a part, piece. About 1960's in the USA it came to mean a performer's special piece of business, an attention-getting device. "That joke is always part of his shtick."
Sight gag: a comic effect produced by visual means rather than by spoken lines, as in a pie in the face, or prat fall. Came into the use in the mid 1940's
Sight-line/s, sightline/s: any of the lines of sight between the audience and the stage/presentation area. When a presenters is "off-stage", they are out of the sightline, in a place where the audience can't see the speaker.
Signature story: A story that is credited to a specific person, that is as unique as their own "signature". These sorts of stories are not "public domain". It is considered very bad form to use someone else's signature story, especially without crediting the owner.
Simile: a figure of speech in which two unlike things are explicitly compared, as in "she is like a rose." Similes use - like, as, so, - etc.: distinguished from metaphor which would instead be "A mighty fortress is our God" or "He was a lion in battle". "Simile is a literary device to conjure up a vivid picture; "an Alpine peak like a frosted cake" is a simile. A metaphor omits "like" or "as", the words of comparison; "the silver pepper of the stars, is a metaphor. A comparison brings together things of the same kind or class." (Funk & Wagnals, Microlibrary 1.1, ©1990-1992, by Inductell)
Site: The location of the meeting, sometimes called the venue.
Slander: Oral utterance tending to damage another's reputation, means of livelihood, etc. rather than by writing, pictures, etc. From the Latin scandalum - cause of stumbling.
Slick: see "camera-ready"
Slide/s: 1. in USA most often will mean 35mm slides. 2. In English speaking countries other than USA "slide" tends to mean the overhead slide transparency. 3. Slang, to "slide around an issue" means to avoid it.
Sound, Sound System: The audio sound amplification system for speakers. "How's the sound in the house?"
Sound booth: The area were the controls for the sound are kept, referred to as a "booth" regardless of how it is set up. Often it will be set up on a dais in a corner of the room, and will be combined with the "tech booth." Maybe also be referred to as the "A/V booth" or "A/V Area" (See Tech Booth.")
Speakers Bureau: A booking or sales company which provides speakers and humorists for meeting planner. They usually represent speakers on a non-exclusive basis.
Special Events company: Brings in all kinds of special effects and theatrical acts (and occasionally the presenters) to an event.
Spokesperson, Spokesman/woman: A person who speaks for, or in the name of and/or in behalf of another, a company or association.
Stage fright: fear and panic that sometimes attacks presenters.
Stage left: the side of the stage that is left of center as the presenter faces the audience. Also called left stage.
Stage lights: The lights that illuminate the stage area
Stage right: the side of the stage that is right of center as the presenter faces the audience. Also called right stage.
Stage: 1. any place a speech, play or production is. Also called dais, platform, podium, or riser. 2. to plan and organize the presentation for it's best dramatic effect:
Stammer: To speak or utter haltingly, with involuntary repetitions or prolonged sounds, or with irregular repetitions of syllables or sounds. May be a temporary condition, caused by stage fright, or another emotion, or it may be an emotional condition requiring professional treatment. From the German stammern - basically mean stammering.
Stock-In-Trade: for presenters it means the stock used in the craft of speaking - possibly stories, statistics, tapes, video, props, etc.. In the 1600's it came into usage to mean the goods kept on sale by a dealer, shopkeeper, or a peddler. Also referred to as "stock-of-trade". Also means the equipment in the conduct of a trade or business. By the 1770's it also came to mean what you kept on hand in your mental facility.
Swan-song: a farewell appearance, an artists last work. The myth developed by the ancient Greek based on the misconception that swans are mute but burst into song just before they die.
Symposium: Today means a meeting for discussion of a particular subject. Or, a collection of comments or opinions brought together; perhaps a series of brief essays or articles on the same subject, as in a magazine. From symposion basically meant a Greek drinking party.
Tailoring: The speakers adjustment of the material to the particular needs of the audience.
Talent: 1. a special natural ability or aptitude. 2. the speaker or performer, "The talent hasn't arrived yet." In the parable found in the New Testament, Matthew, Ch. 25, is the story of the master who gave money to each of his three servants. Then, a talent was an archaic unit of measure for money was called a "talent". When the master returned two of the servants had invested the money he had left with them, so it had grown. But the third had just buried it in the ground. The first two servants were praised and given more to work with. The third servant not only did not have his talents increased, his master was so angry with him that he took the talent away from him and sent the servant out into sorrow. Today we call your special abilities "talents" because of this story. The morale being "use it or lose it!"
Tantalize: To tease or torment by repeated frustration of hopes or desires. Derived from the myth of Tantalus, a son of Zeus, sent to Hades. His punishment was to sit in a big pool, very thirsty, but when he tried to drink, the water pulled back. The fruit trees at the edge would pull their fruit back if he tried to reach them - "tantalizing" poor Tantalus.
Theatre style seating: When the seating for the audience is set up in rows, much like in a theatre, with no tables.
Tech Booth: The area of the meeting from which the sound, lights ad technical equipment are controlled. Referred to as a "booth" regardless of how it is set up. Often it will be set up on a dais in a corner of the room. The sound booth is often part of the tech booth. (See "Sound Booth.")
Tech Crew: The people who operate the sound, lights and technical equipment.
Technobabble: using words from technology that are ponderous and often not entirely accurate, (see Psychobabble)
TelePrompTer: see prompter
Testimonial: Usually a written letter of recommendation from a former buyer or college who is familiar with your work.
Theme: The moving thread that weaves throughout the presentation.
Toast: The act of drinking to someone's health or to some sentiment and the person named in the sentiment. How the custom began is unknown. But raising a glass in a toast is steeped in our "antiquity". Ulysses drank to Achilles health in the Odyssey, Atilla drinks to the health of everyone in The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire. But in the Shakespearean era it seems the custom of having a spiced piece of toast in a drink to flavor it came along. Perhaps the custom of toasting to your health comes from the notion that the person being honored also added flavor by their existence. from the Latin word torrere, which means "to parch."
Toastmaster/mistress: A person who, at public dinners, announces the toasts, calls upon the various speakers, etc. Also see Announcer, Emcee, Introducer, Master of Ceremonies, and Toastmaster.
Toastmasters International: One of the largest personal development associations in the world to assist in building confidence in public communication skills.
Tongue in cheek: Sentiment spoken with irony or humor. "It first appeared in print in a book published in 1845 called The Ingolds by Legends, in which the author, Richard Barham, reports a Frenchman as saying, 'Superbe! Magnifique!' (with his tongue in his cheek)" (Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins, 2nd Edition, by William Morris, Harper & Row, NY, 1988)
Track: the type of communication you use at any given time to teach, i.e. video, audio, lecture, audience participation, etc.. We use this expression from a recording industry where it refers to a discrete, separate recording that is combined with other parts of a musical recording to produce the final aural version:
Trainer: Conducts workshops and training sessions. Participants are given assignments, break into small groups, then come back together.
Transcript: To copy or recopy in handwriting or typewriting, or electrical recording a presentation, or program of any type. From the Latin trans- over and scribere to write]
Triad: A discussion group of people.
Two-Step Seminar: One free seminar where attendees are encouraged to buy a second seminar or set of products.
Understand: To come to know the meaning or import of, to have comprehension or mastery of. From the Anglo-Saxon understandan, which meant "to stand under or among; hence, to comprehend. (I wonder if this is where we get the expression "over their heads"? HHhhmmm, just a bit of artistic speculation on my part).
"Up my/your/his sleeve": A back up strategy, idea, or other item that will somehow serve you in a time of need. From an audience perception of a magician who makes things happen suddenly and magically. The assumption being the only way the magician could achieve that magical result is have something "up his sleeve."
Upstage: 1. The part of the stage farthest away from the audience. (see Downstage). 2. To overshadow another presenter or performer by moving upstage and forcing the performer to turn away from the audience 4. when you steal the "focus" of the audience in any way. 5. so from these theater usages it has also come to mean when you outdo another professionally, or socially. In olden days, theatre was often done down in a small ravine. The audience was on one hillside, the stage on the other. "Downstage" being the point that was the farthest down the hill. Upstage was the point farthest up the stage, up the hill.
Velox: a brand name for a film paper. See "camera-ready"
Venue: 1. Site of the meeting or event, often a hotel, conference, convention center, college, or restaurant. 2. The position, side or ground taken by the presenter in an presentation, argument or debate. Originally used to mean the place where the "action" was. Middle English used venue to mean an attack, probably because they took it from the Latin venir - to come. No doubt the battle cry of, "They're coming! They're coming!" could easily eventually come to mean attack.
View-graph:
Vignette: A description, short literary work, etc., that depicts a story subtly and delicately told. In the mid 1700's the title page of a book or at the beginning or end of a chapter would often have a decorative design or small illustration, these most often had lovely delicate vines running through them, so, the French called this little vine, VINE -ETTE.
Vita: See Curriculum Vita and biographical sketch.
Wings: Sides of stage in an auditorium, out of sight of audience.
Wireless: a wireless mic without a cord. Works by radio waves through the PA system.
Workshop (session): Educational, classroom-type session, usually with handouts or workbooks. Rarely less than one hour, could be as long as many days. Usually considered to use more audience participation and experiential exercises and project assignments than a seminar.


Lilly Walters - for over 20 years a LEADING RESOURCE helping Corporate and Association Meeting Planners find the PERFECT speakers and entertainers for their events. Former leading executive of Walters International Speakers Bureau. Today she owns and runs Amazing Motivational Keynote Speakers and helps speakers and seminar leaders find ways to increase their bookings

Lilly Walters the author of five of the best-selling books about the professional speaking industry, such as, "Speak and Grow Rich," "1,001 Ways to Make More Money as a Speaker, Consultant or Trainer: Plus 300 Rainmaking Strategies for Dry Times," and many more.

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Lilly Walters - has for over 20 years THE LEADING RESOURCE helped Corporate and Association Meeting Planners find PERFECT speakers and entertainers for their events: motivational, business leadership and management experts, keynote, celebrities, corporate entertainment, humorous, diversity, political, authors, consulting and training solutions, sport athletes and much more.

Lilly Walters is the author of five of the best-selling books about the professional speaking industry, including the best seller she wrote for Dottie Walters, "Speak and Grow Rich"