Research has proved that visuals are extremely useful to help increase retention and keep the audience interested. Did you know that effective presentation skills include the possibility of using props to keep your audience engaged? Props are physical aids, which differ from presentation to presentation. Also, each ‘prop’ has very specific uses.
John Zimmer has compiled a list of different kinds of props used by presenters through the years with helpful videos. What caught our eye was the video of Bill Gates – while talking about Malaria, he released a bunch of mosquitoes in the auditorium. The lesson we can all learn from this is that there is no limit to the creativity you can bring to a presentation.
A few guidelines for using props –
- Make sure the prop is absolutely relevant to your topic. It must reinforce everything you are talking about.
- Don’t show the audience all the props that you will be using. Keep them accessible but hidden from them.
- Ensure that your props are safe to use and safe to handle. Don’t take any unnecessary risks.
- Make sure you are comfortable with the prop you are using. If it is a mechanical prop, make sure you practice with it a few times before using it on stage. Your usage of the prop on the stage should be flawless.
- Finally, be creative – you don’t have to use just traditional props. Your audience will appreciate your creativity.
An article in Business Week by Carmine Gallo shows how a presenter can use props (dramatically) to engage his/her audience. He writes in the article that “Since few of us normally give presentations on something as exciting as a revolutionary new computer, it’s all the more reason to find creative ways to connect with your audience.”
What about you, have you used props when presenting? Are there any unusual props you have come across? Tell us!