Distributing handouts is a great way to remind your audience of your topic’s key points. This is especially helpful if you have more information that you would like to relay, but can’t include in the presentation because of time constraint or layout/design reasons
These are especially useful for presentations with tons of details because it is impossible for your audience to take in that much information.
What does it contain?
While your PowerPoint is customized to contain the key points of your presentation, your handout provides an extensive explanation of the details bulleted in your deck and your contact information.
Usually just a page or two—enough to thumb through, the handout’s content shouldn’t only cover the topics discussed in your presentation. You can also include related information, such as case studies and other print collateral, that supports and further explains your pitch.
Should you distribute them?
Presentations shouldn’t exhaust the audience, instead, this is where you deliver your core message in an engaging way.
Adding the element of handouts strengthens your call-to-action, as these provide the resources they need to get in touch when they need to discuss purchasing decisions.
The advantages of handouts, however, come with downsides, including the possibility of creating a disconnect between you and the audience—serving as a distraction because the audience will be reading rather than listening.
In the end, it is up to you to whether to use print collateral during your presentation or not. After all, handouts only reinforce what you’ve already mentioned in your presentation. If you’re confident in your PowerPoint and you think it’s effective on its own, then there’s no need for them.
People can only take in so much before they experience information overload and by the time they do, they will be unable to retain half of what you’ve said.
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Most blogs would provide tips on how to successfully engage your audience through public speaking and visual aids, effectively garnering more investors and potential customers.
Surely, you’ve seen and conducted numerous presentations, but as stated on a previous blog post, spectators will always remember the bad ones. Oftentimes, even more so than the core of the discussion itself.
Do you think there’s room for improvement in the way you conduct a presentation? Then, here are things you shouldn’t do during a sales pitch:
Starting with an apology
You’re late, missing a few of your discussion materials, your equipment malfunctions—these are just some of the things that can go wrong before you start your presentation. The usual reaction of speakers is to apologize in advance for how these mishaps may affect the presentation.
An apology sets a negative tone, which distracts your audience from what really matters—your presentation. Skip the minute-long explanation as to what the cause of the delay is and instead, handle it discreetly, take a deep breath, and start on a good note—begin how you usually would. This shows how you handle yourself under pressure.
Reading your slides/handouts
Eye contact and actively engaging with the audience is vital in making presentations effective. If your eyes are glued to either your slides or handouts, you won’t have a chance to interact with your listeners.
Glancing at your PowerPoint or notes is acceptable, but you must remember that knowing your material like the back of your hand is more favorable than relying on handouts because then, you’d be able to answer questions on top of your head.
Stream of consciousness sometimes works on paper, but when you’re presenting in front of an audience, it isn’t recommended. If anything, this only makes you appear disorganized to your audience.
The more you stay off-topic, the less time you’ll have to focus on your presentation.
While winging it works for some, it’s better not to risk it and stick to what actually works: practicing. Instead of rambling on and on, which has the tendency to steer you away from your main point, practicing and internalizing your presentation helps you deliver information in a more concise and accurate manner.
Your slides should only contain the key points of your topic. When you present a wall of text, you’re wasting the usefulness of the tool. Remember: your slides are supposed to provide visual support to your claims.
If you don’t know which parts to retain, consulting with PowerPoint experts is the best way to go.
Forgetting to proofread the content of the presentation
Another problem is realizing that you have typos in your presentation when you’re already in front of your audience.
Once they notice these mistakes, you’re going to come across as unprepared or you’ve done your PowerPoint in a rush—both situations will not help you gain the customers you need.
Mistakes, when done repeatedly, become habits, and these are difficult to break when you’ve become accustomed to it. It’s better to take note of these tips before conducting another presentation so you can improve and be more effective.
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Every presenter has been requested the same thing at one point or another: being asked if they have—or if members of the audience can have—printouts of their PowerPoint presentations. This is not a bad thing, per se, especially if you have a great deck with a superb design and an enlightening message that people will want to go back and review everything they learned from your talk.
However, the issue is that slides were designed to be seen through a projector… unless you had the foresight to create your deck specifically for printing. Well then, good for you.
Going from digital to printout isn’t as easy as it looks. Specifically now, in the modern age, there are humongous monitors and projectors that display every pixel perfectly despite their sizes. Ah, the wonders of technology. But transitioning from the old to the new isn’t seamless, and paper sizes can’t compare to digital visual outlets.
To do that, you first need to do a bit of tinkering and adjusting to get your desired quality on paper. Here are a few pointers to consider first.
Check Your Printer
As with any competition, you can expect that manufacturers follow different formats with their products. If there’s one constant as far as printers are concerned, it’s that they don’t typically reach the paper’s edge. Printouts will always have margins. However, this is not a printer limitation; it’s rather the software—the printer driver—that causes this.
To remedy this, you can manually adjust it, and this is where the tinkering comes in. You can set custom margins on your printouts and potentially include an additional slide or two. There are different customizations you can do from this screen and in the next, which is…
Print Preview is your friend. Let it guide, help, and aid you. If you’re not sure about the whole format of your printout, you should check it out before you waste ink.
There, you can set and customize different options for your final product: how many slides per page, the spaces in between each slide, the margins (see previous subheading), etc. There are also other settings for whether you want to print on both sides of the paper, the printing sequence (Collated), and whether black and white or grayscale (see next subheading).
This window is basically your last chance to fix how you want your handouts to come out, so appropriating everything according to your preference will make your task easier.
Check Your Design
Less on the printer, more on your slides now.
The rules are basically the same when creating slides. You’ve got your design basics: colors, background, typography, etc. You’ve also got your image: powerful and meaningful. Lastly, your text as the meat of your talk. Then you’re out to print it.
The question is: “Do your slides look the same on screen and on paper?”
If you are printing your PowerPoint file out, you always have to consider how your slides will look on your handouts—plus the limitations on your printer, vis-à-vis ink levels—and prepare for it. If you’ve got too many images, either beef up your ink supply or delete some. Another option is to print in grayscale or black and white (which, as you would imagine, comes with another set of adjustments).
The bottom line here is that you should tailor your deck to be readable on both mediums. If you need to reduce elements, then do so.
Don’t Print Your Slides
Don’t worry. It’s not what it means; rather, it’s a small technicality that involves converting your PowerPoint file into a type that is considered more universal: PDF
One reason why PDF files are more commonly used is the general ease with printing using Acrobat or Adobe (or other software that can read this file type). There may be more or less the same options, but Acrobat is more in depth than PowerPoint, so it’ll usually take care of problems before your printouts even reach the printer. With such ease, you’re more likely choosing this same route yourself.
Another issue solved is transferring to another computer, for, say, printing purposes since you don’t have a printer. You don’t assume that your PowerPoint settings are the same as everyone’s (unless you’re not customizing your software). Therefore, you’re more likely to meet different formatting altogether when opening your file on a computer that doesn’t adhere to the same settings. This goes especially when you use many customized backgrounds, images, and fonts.
Converting to PDF makes your task—and life—easier by making the file more printable and readable on any computer.
There are multiple considerations to make when shifting from digital to print. With the almost complete independence of technology from traditional media, there’s still the wide gap between the two. Of course, with sufficient study and preparation, the divide is not as big as it seems.
Take the following options to heart. Soon, you’ll be asked to have printouts of your presentation. Take it easy and plan ahead. You’ll do yourself some good that way.
Temple, Cooper. “Adjusting Paper Margins in PowerPoint.” Chron. n.d. smallbusiness.chron.com/adjusting-paper-margins-powerpoint-29281.html
Terberg, Julie. “Gain Control over PowerPoint Handouts by Exploring the Print Options.” Training Magazine. November 1, 2002. ip-50-63-221-144.ip.secureserver.net/article/gain-control-over-powerpoint-handouts-exploring-print-options
Wood, James T. “Why Does PowerPoint Print Out the Wrong Margins?” Chron. n.d. smallbusiness.chron.com/powerpoint-print-out-wrong-margins-26575.html
Woods, Paul. “Create PowerPoint Slides Designed Specifically for A4 or Letter Printing.” The New Paperclip. May 26, 2010. www.thenewpaperclip.com/2010/05/26/create-powerpoint-slides-designed-specifically-for-a4-or-letter-printing/#
“How to Create PDF Handouts in PowerPoint 2010.” Cometdocs. November 7, 2011. blog.cometdocs.com/how-to-create-pdf-handouts-in-powerpoint-2010
“Printing PowerPoint: Slide Size v. Printer Page Size.” PPTools. June 7, 2011. www.pptfaq.com/FAQ00774_Printing_PowerPoint-_Slide_size_v-_Printer_Page_size.htm
“Saving Paper and Increasing Readability of PowerPoint Handouts.” Pittsburgh Technical College. n.d. www.ptcollege.edu/uploads/HS-teachers/Saving-Paper-and-Increasing-Readability-of-PowerPoint-Handouts.pdf
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