In our world of distractions, presenters are always looking for a way to keep their audiences engaged and connect with them on a more visually appealing level. One way to accomplish this is through the use of props.
Props are a tool that, when used correctly, break up the monotony of a talking head and create a visual reinforcement of the content. But not all presenters are comfortable with using props in their presentations. In fact, many shy away from them for fear of seeming cliché or unprofessional.
That’s why we put together 3 tips on what kind of props to use as well as how to use them in your next presentation.
Keep it simple.
The primary reason props can come across as unprofessional or distracting is because the presenter has made them too complicated. The more complex the prop or object lesson, the less focused on your content you will be. Instead, opt for a simple and easy to demonstrate/show prop that does not take a lot of thought in the moment. Remember: this prop is meant to create a visual reference for the audience – not steal the show from you.
Practice prior to presentation day.
I’ll never forget the day I tried to implement an illustration using props in a presentation that I had never practiced. I built up all the excitement and set up the illustration perfectly, only to have the prop fail, leaving me to fumble around trying to cover up the awkward moment. Learn from my mistake, and make sure you practice with your prop before you get to presentation day. The use of the prop should be second nature to you by the time you step in front of an audience. This will ensure that you focus on wowing the crowd rather than covering up an awkward fumble.
Keep it straightforward and relevant.
The use of an illustration must be straightforward and easy for your audience to comprehend without much extra thought. Remember, this is to reinforce your content – not speak for your content. That means when designing your use of props, you must think through the eyes of your audience. Ask yourself: Will they understand this quickly? Will they make the connection I am hoping for? Is this relevant to their daily lives? This last question is key, especially if you are not presenting to an audience of your peers. Your use of props must connect with your audience and not just with you.
Using props in a presentation is a powerful tool that breaks outside the norm, and when done correctly, leaves your audience feeling like you have gone above and beyond. Not only will they increase the room engagement, but they will create a lasting connection between your content and a visual representation of your content. This will result in reminders of your content when your audience members come across that object in the future. While they could come with a risk if not well thought out, with these three tips you will be well on your way to creating excellent illustrations using simple, relevant props.
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