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Visual Aids Ideas for Presentations, Training Course Design and Public Speaking By James Daulton

propThe use of good visual aids – especially physical ‘props’ which people can hold and touch – is one of the best techniques for adding interest, humour and variety to presentations, training, and public speaking.

People remember more of what they are told if the experience is multi-sensory, rather than just listening to spoken words or reading printed words on a screen. Visual aids, particularly ‘props’, have a physical presence, texture, feel, perhaps smell also, which can create powerful and memorable metaphors.

Here are some simple examples of visual aids to use for various themes and metaphors. The hats and clothing props can be worn by the presenter while making a certain point, or better still given to a training delegate or member of the audience to wear.

You don’t need to buy the real thing – usually children’s toy versions or party shop novelties will achieve the same result, and in many cases a better one.

Over-sized props (joke-shop inflatables for example) that you keep with you at the front or on stage can be particularly effective, especially for a big audience for whom a small prop might have less impact. Smaller props – like fruit and vegetables or chocolate snack bars – are fun to pass around the audience, or throw (with due care), more so if the items have interesting shapes, textures, smells, etc.

Using good and imaginative visual aids brings a talk or presentation to life, and injects a lot of irresistible humor.

In fact usually the humor will come from the audience, when they see the prop on you, or better still when they see one of their colleagues wearing or holding or otherwise showing off an imaginative prop.