What is a PROP?
A prop can be anything that can be handheld during a presentation or a speech. While giving a presentation, using props can be a great idea as you can grab audience’s attention through them. Visual representations are surely a better way to prove your presentation skills as they can make a monotonous presentation/meeting more lively.
Props are visual aids. They are significant as they add variety and help you to make your presentation memorable. Props help you in keeping your audience attentive throughout the speech. Memory is another reason to use props while giving a presentation. People can keep in mind the images easier than words. It is rightly said that ‘A picture is worth a thousand words.’
Props must be used carefully and the speaker (or the presenter) must remember that they should not overshadow your speech but just play the role of engaging the audience and highlighting your points.
Below are some frequently used props.
Overheads/Slideshows- Many speakers use this prop in their speech however some of them also happen to misuse them unintentionally. The speaker should make sure not to be completely dependent on these props. If he reads word to word from the slides, they may become the focus for the audience due to which they may lose interest in the audience. The speaker should use these only as a supplement to make his points clearer to the audience.
White boards- Speaker/presenters giving speech or a presentation at smaller places may prefer using white boards. While using a white board remember that you write only a few words of each line using large font and no cursive writing.
Handouts- Handouts may or may not be considered as props by many people. Rather than being a helpful aid, handouts often turn out to be a source of distraction to audience if provided at the beginning of the speech or in between. If you want to give handouts, then you must give it at the end of your speech. This would help in retaining the audience’s attention.
In case you have to give the handouts during your speech, then make sure that they are short and precise. Pause while the audience go through the handout and then tell them what you are going to discuss about it.
Small and Large Props- At times, it’s vital or may be just fun to hold up pictures, magazines, or other small props to add interest of the audience to a topic. But small props can be used only in small rooms having an audience of 15-30 people.
However, if you’re performing in a large venue, be wary of doing so, as the people in the back of the room will become frustrated because they cannot see your props. At such places you must use lager props such as model of a building or a car etc.
Make sure that props are placed in such a manner that everyone can see it and it does not upstage you.
A FEW TIPS TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH PROPS
If used incorrectly, props can ruin your presentation rather than developing it. Here are some practices that may help you with using props:
- Moving parts of the prop must be checked and it should be ensured that they are working properly.
- Keep your prop(s) out of sight until you’re going to use it to intensify the element of surprise.
- Props should always be large enough to be visible to the audience.
- Assess your level of ease with using a particular prop. If you are not comfortable with the prop, you may not be confident in public speaking.
- Practice your speech beforehand to become smooth in using the prop.
Props, if used appropriately can add significantly to a presentation by making it more joyful, understandable, logical and memorable for the audience.
‘Anurag Aggarwal Institute of Public Speaking’ provides training on using props in its Public Speaking Course. You will also be trained in all those things related to your confidence, personality and speaking which are stopping you from growing in your career.
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