Props to Your Presentation Props

Lots of presenters are terrified of the thought of using props. Props can be awkward if they are not incorporated into the strategy of your presentation. What is oftentimes overlooked is that props can be a huge asset and could be the tipping point of getting your audience to relate.

In high school I used to work at a ladies fitness gym, on the table was a replica of what a pound of human fat. That gross and disgusting replica was a pivotal moment in our gym members day, when the ladies realized what is inside their bodies. That motivated them to join the gym and lose the weight.

Innumerable number of lectures I have witnessed, blogs, books, or articles I have read, and videos I have watched about weight loss and it doesn’t mean a thing because I can’t see it. “Seeing is believing” motivates people to lose weight. This isn’t a blog about losing weight, but think about it, if you were giving a seminar about losing weight wouldn’t you want that nasty human fat replica to show the audience while you are talking about it? They will remember far more seeing that replica while listening to the seminar.

When you are preparing your next presentation, think what will you be talking about and how can you make it stronger by using a prop? Many presenters get all weirded out and start fumbling around trying to find something like a model that they can show and elaborate on.  Something that shows exactly what they are talking about, something that could stand alone and speak for itself.

Models are great, but a prop doesn’t have to show exactly what you are talking about. A prop could be anything that shows the concept of what you are talking about, you’ll be explaining it anyway. A prop doesn’t have to stand alone or speak for itself.

Back at the zoo, I had reinvented a fabulous presentation about swamp animals. I turned the normal animal adaptation lecture into a fashion show and called upon four human volunteers to be the models. The costumes were great, they were gadgets that only represented the adaptations, but didn’t look anything like the animal. We used a rain jacket on one of our models to show skin that is waterproof, and gave the model goggles to demonstrate the extra eyelid that is clear but protects the eye underwater, then we gave the model flippers which obviously was to show the webbed feet of the animal. With the volunteers looking ridiculous, the audience could visualize how the adaptations function for the animal. Using these fun props engaged the audience and educated them in a different manner than just talking to them and the audience walked away smiling and raving.

You can use JengaTM to describe a healthy person and take away the blocks to represent the different illnesses that a person can get. A target prop could be useful in lots of ways and so can other random items. Give props a second thought, incorporate them in your strategy, reinvent the prop to relate to your presentation topic, be comfortable and know how to use and explain the prop.

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