Friday, April 20, 2012

Public Speaking - Why Use Props?

Props help warm up the audience. They can be used as a substitute for notes. They help focus attention on the points you are trying to make along with illustrating them for you. They make better connections than your words with the visually oriented members of your audience. They create interest, add variety, and make your points more memorable.

Props can be used pre-program to pass around in the audience in anticipation of the program. You see this at large arenas when beach balls and Frisbees are being tossed around in the crowd. I pass out snacks and/or custom-designed crossword puzzles about the group that I make on my computer. The puzzles make especially great icebreakers because the members of the group get together to help each other with the solutions.

Do you hate relying on notes? Props can be a substitute for written cheat sheets. To illustrate this in live seminars I use three hats as an outline for a program. The first hat is a gag ball cap that has really long hair attached to it so that you look like a hippie when you wear it. The second hat is a black top hat.

The third is a safari hat. Each hat prompts me to talk about a thoroughly rehearsed bit or chunk. Putting on the longhaired ball cap immediately reminds me to talk about when the company was young and aggressive. After that section I remove the ball cap (if you have a fun and playful audience, you could put it on an audience member's head), then I put on the black top hat. The top hat prompts a section on the mature growth years of the company. I then put on the safari hat which kicks off a section on searching for new business. The whole talk is done without any notes at all. You only have to memorize your opening and closing and practice each of the sections independently.

Tom will pay YOU to read this book...

No comments: