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The Why and How of Presentation Handouts

July 21, 2014 / Blog, Presentation presentation handouts

As much as you want your listeners to retain what you’ve said, chances are, their own busy schedules might make their minds wander and forget about your key points. But there’s something that your audience can literally take home after your presentation.

If you haven’t been giving out handouts, maybe it’s time to consider the idea. Presentation handouts are an interesting addition to the presentation experience, with plenty of benefits for you and your audience members.

Why You Should Use Them

Make use of handouts to include additional information about the points in your presentation. Since you have to be concise with your slides, your handouts can act as a “footnotes” section and expound on the details you’ve glossed over.

At the same time, knowing when to hand them out is essential in tapping into their full potential. It ultimately depends on the presenter. Handing out your white paper at different points in your presentation each has their advantages. But generally, giving these out once you’ve delivered all your points is preferable, to avoid distracting them from your pitch.

Audience members are also more likely to relax and listen to your presentation because they no longer have to worry about taking notes and catching every word that you say. Lastly, handouts are a great reference material for your audience members. If your presentation was particularly informative, they can refer to your handouts in their research or reports.

How to Make Handouts

After a while, most of your audience won’t remember a single thing about your presentation. Handouts are a great way to refresh their memories. Make sure that your handout contains all the necessary information from your presentation. Organize your points into sections and expound on the details you had to condense. You can also add graphs and other illustrations you used to represent data.

Cite the references you used for your presentation, so your audience can check them out if they want to know more. You should also provide them with additional resources. Leave them with a list of books, articles, and websites that can provide them with more insight on your subject matter. It’s also important that you provide space in your handouts for annotations.

Don’t be tempted to give out printed versions of your PowerPoint slides. As we’ve mentioned earlier, PowerPoint slides only highlight your main points. They’re visual aids that help the presentation become more dynamic. Slide printouts won’t make much sense when your audience members refer back to them after some time.

The Takeaway

With the information and sensory overload people experience daily, your presentation might easily get lost in their memory. Give them a take away from your presentation by handing out handouts at the end of your pitch.

If you’ve given a memorable spiel, it will help them keep track of your key points and contact you later on.



Why Use Handouts?Total Communicator. Accessed July 21, 2014.


Featured Image: Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr