You get lots of tips about how to make a better presentation. Don’t fidget; keep it simple; make eye contact. But even if you make the best presentation ever, how much of it does your audience remember after the show’s over?
Presentation handouts are a great way to leave your audience with a lasting impression of your message.
But if you’re simply printing out copies of your slides, then you might leave them with the wrong impression.
Instead of just being a list of your slides, your hardcopy paper handouts should be a printed version of your entire presentation. Here’s how you can make them so.
1. Give Yourself Time
One of the reasons we merely print out paper copies of our slides is because we are so focused on the presentation itself, we don’t give ourselves enough time to do a proper handout. Again, the best handouts will let the effect of your presentation linger for a long time after you walk off stage.
2. Make the Handout Reflect the Presentation
Even if you still just use slides with bullet points, and you just can’t shake the habit of merely printing out slides, at least include some explanation of the slide’s content in the notes section of the printout. Your bullets might be clear to you, but they are sometimes meaningless to your audience when they look at the notes later.
3. Add Information & References
You probably want to say more than you can in your presentation. The handout is the perfect place to include some of the extra info that would clutter your presentation. And including references for information sources adds authenticity to your facts.
4. Make Sure the Handout can Stand Alone
One of the advantages of a handout is that it can be passed along to someone who wasn’t in attendance. But, again, if it’s just your slides with no clarification, it might be meaningless.
5. Give Them Whitespace
People like to take notes during presentations and doing so right on the handout itself is very convenient. Make sure you leave enough space on your handout sheets for note taking.
Effective presentations are a combination of many different factors, some of which you have no control over. But you have total control of your presentation notes, so make sure that they work to make your presentation more impressive.