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A Quick Guide to Presentation Handouts

November 25, 2014 / Blog biotech powerpoint, pharmaceutical powerpoint, presentation handouts, presentation tips, technology powerpoint

If you’re dealing with a topic that involves a dense amount of information, it’s ridiculous to assume that the audience will try to memorize every detail. As the presenter, it’s your job to do most of the heavy lifting. You need to craft your presentation carefully, taking time to simplify and illustrate complex details. It’s your job to give them an experience that stands out and is easy to remember.

This isn’t always an easy task, especially if you’re expected to share a lot of facts, data, and complicated concepts. Still, there’s one way you can make sure everyone can easily review the key points of your presentation. You can turn your core message into a concrete takeaway by creating presentation handouts.

Why are presentation handouts important?

Presentation handouts aren’t always ideal for every scenario. However, if yours is similar to what we’ve just described, handouts can be beneficial for both you and your audience.

For starters, you can make use of handouts to include additional details about the points in your presentation. Since presentations are meant to be simple and concise, you would have to cut a lot of the data out from your slides. Your handouts can then serve a similar function to end notes or an appendix page.

With presentation handouts, your audience is also more likely to listen to what you’re saying. Most of the time, a lot of people worry about taking down notes and missing out on something important. If you give them something they can review in the future, they will be more likely to sit back and just absorb your entire delivery.

After the presentation, your handouts can also serve as a great reference material for your audience. If the data or facts you provide are particularly important and informative, they can refer to you in their own reports and presentations.

One of the challenges to delivering presentations is making sure your audience remembers all the key details. By creating presentation handouts, you can provide them with something they can easily access and look over.

Useful tips for creating presentation handouts

All that said, there are a few things you should keep in mind when making handouts for your presentation. It’s not enough that you distribute a printed version of your slides. As we constantly point out in this blog, your PowerPoint deck is a visuals aid, specifically created to make your presentation more engaging and dynamic. Your presentation handouts need to be more detailed and exhaustive than that.

Here are our quick tips for the best presentation handouts:

Keep it structured and well-organized

Aside from containing all the helpful information you had to cut out of your presentation, your handouts should also be properly structured and organized. Like you would with a presentation, organize everything into the main sections of your discussion. From there, you can expound on the details you had to condense. You can also add graphs and other illustrations you used to represent data.

Handle extra information with care

While you should provide the audience with additional info, keep in mind that too much can be overwhelming. Your job is to discuss a topic in an accessible way. Loading everyone with every piece of data you have will hurt this objective. Knowing your subject matter well, you can easily strike the balance between ‘too little’ and ‘too much’. Your presentation handouts should delve a bit deeper, but it shouldn’t feel like a cornucopia of information.

Don’t forget to cite references

It’s important to cite the references you used in your presentation. This shows the audience that you used credible and reliable sources. They can also check them out easily should they want more information. It will also be helpful if you can provide them with additional resources that might be helpful. Leave them with a list of websites, blogs, articles, and books that can provide them with additional insight on your discussion.

It might take an extra step, but creating presentation handouts can bring plenty of benefits. Give your audience something they can read and review long after your presentation. For a presentation that’s heavy with data and complex concepts, handouts can increase the impact you leave.


Featured Image: Joel Penner via Flickr