Handouts are a great way to enhance your presentation, serving as a valuable reference tool for your audience members. Yet, most speakers simply print out and distribute copies of their slide set, rendering their handouts somewhat useless.
Here are the five valuable tips for most effectively using presentation handouts:
1. Content is Key
The primary goal of handouts is to provide your audience with additional background materials during the session, and/or valuable reference materials afterward. In other words, handouts should do more than just repeat what’s already on your slides. They should expand on that content with additional quotes, examples, tables, and figures, to validate and drive home the points your making.
2. Focus on Readability
While handouts should not be long documents, like the slides they compliment, they do need to be easy to read. Use a clean font, in at least 12 point size. And make sure graphics and images are large enough so all details and labels can be easily viewed. And though you’ll want your handouts to have a sharp, professional look, it is best to avoid colored paper or fancy layouts that may distract from the content.
3. Leave Room for Notes
Each member of your audience will take interest or find importance in different portions of your presentation content. Additionally, you may make mention of certain facts, or cover certain topics that aren’t spelled out specifically on your slides. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure that your handouts give attendees room to jot down key points.
4. Double-Check Your Work
Nothing will hinder your credibility more than a handout full of typos and mistakes. Proofread carefully to ensure proper spelling and grammar. And, make sure you have a handful of spare copies, in case your audience is larger that originally expected.
5. When to Distribute
Should handouts be given to audience members before or after your session? Well, that depends. If they will need to refer to it as your speaking, or if they will need to take notes, then it is best to distribute them beforehand. But, if the handout content mirrors what’s on your slides, and you want to prevent them from reading it as your speaking, or even jumping ahead, then it is best to wait until you’re finished.
Want more valuable tips on effective presentation creation and delivery? Review our archive of presentation tips and check back every week for new posts.