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A sounding board (also known as a tester) is a structure placed above or behind a pulpit or other speaking platform which helps to project the sound of the speaker. The structure may be specially shaped to assist the projection, for example, being formed as a parabolic reflector. In the typical setting of a church building, the sounding board may be ornately carved or constructed. In this context it is also known as an abat-voix.
The term may also be used figuratively to describe a person who listens to a speech or proposal in order that the speaker may rehearse or explore the proposition more fully.
The term is also used inter-personally to describe one person listening to another, and especially to their ideas. When a person listens and responds with comments, they provide perspective that otherwise would not be available through introspection or thought alone.