Senator Snowball: The Perils of Using Poor Props.

Now, a few words about using props. Or more to the point–a few words about how not to use them.

Last week had its share of silly stories: llamas on the loose, colorblind users on social media–and Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma lobbing a snowball within the chambers of the U.S. Senate in an attempt to cast doubt on climate change.

Yes, He brought a snowball to a legislative fight.

Props are useful devices to employ while giving speeches or presentations. Used correctly, a well-chosen item can emphasize and drive home crucial points you’d like to make. Ideas abound…you’re only limited by your creativity.

But your prop should enhance the main points from you talk, not detract from it. Your prop choice should be a device that neither makes you look moronic, nor buffoonish.

That feat of senatorial silliness did nothing to bolster his argument. Similar gimmicks–should you decide to use them–will elicit an eye roll from your audience, if you’re lucky. Don’t do it.

The takeaway before you breakaway: A well-chosen prop should be used to drive home a point during a talk or presentation; it should not become the point of the talk or presentation. Choose your props wisely. And keep the snowballs outside.


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