Easy. Find a piece of paper. It's one of several low-cost, easy-to-find and portable items that you can use as a prop.
Paper, for example, can be folded into elaborate origami shapes to explain mathematical constructs and scientific theories...made into an airplane that can fly over the audience...creased or made into a cone to make a point (or a megaphone)...folded like a greeting card, an envelope, an accordion...ripped, pierced with a pencil or crumpled to convey emotion...cut into strips or confetti to share with your audience....turned into a temporary spyglass. You get the ideas--they're only limited by your imagination. Here's an early trailer for the documentary Between the Folds, which looked at how scientists, artists and math teachers are using origami:
In the same way, a bar of chocolate from the hotel gift shop, your cell phone, a cup of tea from the break station, a pen, an earring, a shoe--all handy--can be turned to your advantage as visual props.
The advantages of these basic props goes beyond convenience to you. All of them are:
- Universal and familiar, making them more likely to be understood and related to by a wide range of audience members
- Small and easy to transport
- Hard to forget, since you're more likely to have them with you already
Mary Sias nominated "A can of soup" and "a large pinata sign to prove a point in my scholarship workshops."
Rachel Miller has used "My rabbit."
Leslie-Ann Howard -Martin Redweik has used "The audience themselves."
Weeze Bernier did it with paper, noting "I once told a true story of how receiving a document in the mail over 25 years ago, had changed my life. Throughout the story I referred to a crumpled and tattered piece of off white paper. When I was done, at least 3 people noted that it was great that I still had the document. The story was true, but I guess I did a pretty good job making a blank piece of paper look real too."
Hillarie Turner has used a prop you can consume later: "Chocolate!"
Linda Lamb Neckel's prop was "A plastic skull."
Akkana Peck also went with paper: "A paper airplane."
Toni Rosati might win for most unusual prop: "poster sized images of bras - for a communication talk (ie:support)."
Jean Wolfe recalled, "One of my mentors used a can o' green beans, fresh green beans, spoiled green beans and frozen grean beans. She's awesome. Her presentation was on presentation skills....and how to keep it fresh!"
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