July 19, 2005 Present Like A Pro Newsletter
Inspiring You to Discover, Develop, & Delight in Your Strengths
Welcome fellow speaker! This weekly newsletter from Present Like A Pro is here to provide you with on-going tips and inspiration as you develop your skills as a speaker. Every issue includes practical tools that you can use in your very next presentation.

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This edition: 963 words; 2-3 minute read

Props That Pop
by Sara Schaffer   4 Tips on Using Great Visual Aids
The speaker started by ripping a page aggressively from a small notebook. "I'm going to have to issue you a ticket, Sir," was the beginning of his compelling presentation. He proceeded to use his hand-sized notepad throughout his talk as a tool and attention getter.

This speaker knew the power of using a great prop. With one swift motion, he immediately set a tone and scene for his audience. Do you know how to incorporate visual aids effectively into your presentations? Here are 4 tips on how to use props that pop and Present Like A Pro!

1. Use VISIBLE visual aids. This may seem obvious, but it's worth noting. If everyone in your audience cannot see your items or read your information, it needs to be rethought and revised. Keep the person in the back of the room in mind as you decide if your prop will add power to your presentation.

2. Use RELEVANT visual aids. Make sure that your slides or props are meaningful in this talk and to this audience. For instance, you may have a great cartoon that makes you laugh every time you see it. Even so, only incorporate it if you can make a connection between the content of the talk and the cartoon.

3. Use FEW visual aids. In general, keep it simple. If you are using presentation slides, overall, less is more. It's easy to talk for a longer time on a few slides than it is to rush through a large number of them. With other props, having too many can become a distraction both for you and your listeners. Use discretion and err on the side of simplicity.

4. Use FLEXIBLE visual aids. If you have a prop, consider how many different ways you can use it within your talk. For example, a hat could also be a bowl or a pillow. By using one item in several settings you keep your audience intrigued and involved in your message.


Do you grab your audiences with great props and visual aids? Working with a Presentation Coach immediately adds more power and impact to your presentations. Contact Sara for more information at 303.439.4014 or sara@presentlikeapro.com.


Later in his talk, the speaker ripped out another page from the small notebook. This time, however, he recounted the experience of getting a prescription and bad news at a doctor's office. Like this creative presenter, you can add depth, humor, and understanding to your presentations with great visual aids.

Remember to keep your visual aids large enough to be seen and meaningful to your listeners. Also, implement them judiciously and creatively for the most impact with your audience. When you use props that pop, you will Present Like A Pro!

Thoughts on Props
  More Ideas on Working with Visual Aids
I looked at the item sitting on the table, but even from the front row, I couldn't see it well across the room. The speaker referred to it several times, but from my vantage point it was more of an irritation than a help.

Have you ever been at a talk where the presenter told you about an item and yet didn't really give you a chance to see or experience it? When you speak, keep in mind that your visual aids can both add and distract from the impact of your message.

Integrate your props effectively by considering several questions:

  • Can I easily pick up and display this item?
  • If it is small, can I pass it around?
  • Will this item enhance my overall presentation?

If you can answer yes to the above, then think about the following:

  • How much explanation does this item need?
  • Where will I place this item so I can pick it up and set it down easily?
  • Is this the best metaphor or illustration of my point?

With planning and creativity, you can use props that add fun and significance to your talk. Once you have props in place for your presentation, be sure to take the time to rehearse with them. Practice picking them up, setting them down, and articulating your explanations.

Visual aids aren't needed for every presentation. However, when you know how to use them effectively, you have another way to connect to your audience and Present Like A Pro!

Special Offers
Do you work at Ball Aerospace? If so, you can receive Presentation Coaching as part of the training offered by your company! Find out more at the TLC website. Just click on the Other Development link to get to the coaching corner.

***In the June 21st issue, I discussed the benefits of evaluations. For example, they offer us feedback on our speaking effectiveness. They also give us a means to stay connected to people interested in our services and products. For a free sample evaluation form, simply click here.

Visit our website to view previous newsletters and to find out more about the new free surveys available from Present Like A Pro.


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