Should you use props when giving a speech or a presentation? I happen to think that props are very undervalued by most speakers.
Props are often seen as gimmicky and people think you are trying to smash watermelons like Gallagher the comedian. But it does not have to be that way. As long as your prop is relevant to the audience, it will make a positive difference.
I have previously explained how to use a hand held microphone during a presentation and what not to do when using it as well. If you use it smartly, it will make a difference on your speaking. Famously, Steve Jobs used a prop at the unveiling of one of his laptops- the Air Mac. The most prominent quality of the Mac was that it was very thin and light. So in order to show the audience how thin and light it is, instead of showing a slide with all of its measurements, he had someone bring it out to him in an envelope and he pulled it out of the prop to reveal it. That is how a simple 50 cent prop could have such an impact.
That is what you have to remember with props. Can people instantly understand why you are showing it to them? The beauty of a prop is that it is three dimensional, it is visual, and it is much more memorable. So if you have got some props, by all means, use them.