A “prop” is any object you use to improve the impact of your presentation. The word’s origin traces back to the early days of the theater industry. In those days, theatrical performers usually provided their own costumes – but special items such as stage furniture and weapons were considered “company property.” With time, the term was shortened down to just “prop.” Eventually it moved into use outside the world of the stage; today it is commonly used to refer to any object used in movies, TV, speeches, presentations and even in classroom lectures.
Strictly speaking, your presentation slides are props of a sort, but we don’t usually think of them that way. We’re generally talking about objects that illustrate what we’re talking about, or add dramatic or engaging impact.
Now, you’ve probably been subjected to a presentation or two where the speaker brought out a prop that just came off as gimmickry, irrelevant, overly “cutesie” or just plain distracting. So how do you decide whether a prop will be an asset to your presentation? To help answer that question (and at the risk of seeming gimmicky!) we’ve come up with a little memory aid: CURE.
Have you noticed that fireworks shows always end with a big, booming grand finale? When you’re at a big concert, can’t you just feel the crowd’s anticipation of the big closing number? When you were a kid (and perhaps even now), didn’t you delight at the promise of a sumptuous dessert after you’d finished the main meal? It’s no secret that saving the best for last builds the thrill of anticipation – but did you know there’s a good scientific reason for ending any sort of performance with a bang?
After conducting a simple experiment, German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus coined the term recency effect to describe a person’s tendency to remember the last item in a series best. He asked his co-workers to create a list of random and meaningless consonant-vowel-consonant combinations. He then tried to memorize the list, set it aside, and finally recreate it from memory. He noticed he could remember more items that appeared near the end of the list than he could those closer to the beginning. He also found he was definitely not alone in having this tendency.
Some people assume that if they stop talking during a presentation, the audience will instantly assume they’re nervous, underprepared, or at a loss for what to say next. They feel that “silence is deafening,” you might say, and strive to keep the words coming in a steady stream, no matter what.
This is too bad. It’s a misconception at best, and a waste of what can be quite a powerful presentation tool. The fact is, a well-timed pause can make what you say better understood and more lastingly remembered – important goals for any presenter.
But when should you pause? How is this powerful tool used most effectively? Here are six suggestions. Read more
When it comes to presentation skills, all presenters are not created equal. Some are great speakers, others have a tough time up in front of an audience. Some build beautiful presentation decks that really impress audiences, while others just don’t seem to have very good design sense or slide-creating skills.
Although there isn’t a lot we at Slideshop can do to directly improve speaking skills, we’re all about helping any presenter put together great-looking slide decks that really connect. We’ll set you up with pro-quality, easy to edit and customize templates, with all the icons, backgrounds, graphics and other elements you need. We also gather available high-quality stock images to add visual impact. Read more
Just in time for the new school year, Google has begun rolling out six super-practical new features for its Google Drive and Google Classroom apps. These innovations, now available for Android and desktop users, are more evidence of Google’s commitment to making productivity easier — for students, educators, and all Google users.
Having and following a preparatory ritual has proven a powerful tool for putting yourself in the best frame of mind for many kinds of activities. World-class professional boxer Manny Pacquaio prays in his ring corner before every fight as part of his emotional preparations. Tim Ferris, bestselling author of “The 4-Hour Workweek,” listens to Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement speech each Monday morning to amp himself up for the week ahead. Before hitting the hay, some people take a warm bath, read a book, or listen to calming music to signal their bodies that it’s time to slow down and take a rest. Read more
The main reason numerous articles (including this one) have been written about dressing up for presentations lies in the fact that people are attracted to beauty. In one classic experiment in social psychology, male and female college students were shown photos of people who displayed different levels of attractiveness. The results of this survey showed the good-looking people were consistently thought of more positively. That’s not too surprising in itself, but the participants also assumed the more attractively presented individuals had more pleasing personalities, that they were more likely to land good jobs, and would be better relationship partners.
Have you ever encountered a presenter who jumped randomly from one point to another, with no sensible train of thought in sight? Unfortunately, some presenters fail to recognize the vital importance of smooth transitions – and then wonder why the audience looks so puzzled, and why their talks never seem to make a lasting impression. At least not a positive impression!
Everyone knows that we breathe all the time, without even thinking about it. In fact, we take in and let out more than 10,000 liters of air every day. That’s a lot of work, yet we’re scarcely aware of it.
How lungs work
But did you know that it can pay big dividends if you become aware of your breathing? It’s true. If your work involves conversing with clients, giving presentations, or any other activity that calls for live verbal communication, you can improve your performance by increasing your awareness of your breathing patterns and taking control of them. The good news is, it’s not even difficult to do.