Presentation Handouts

Use these presentation handout ideas to give your audience a document that supports your performance and adds value to your key messages

Too many business people ‘miss a trick’ when it comes to presentation handouts. Presenters give away their slides, often on a too-small-to-see scale, and the audience does little or nothing with them. What a waste.

Used effectively, presentation handouts can present a massive marketing and revenue-generating opportunity. You are able to a) demonstrate excellence in the area of your presentation, and b) physically deliver something to an audience that is receptive to your key message. Strive to supply each member of your audience with a handout that:

  • Looks impressive, professional and authoritative
  • Is genuinely useful
  • Provides follow-up contact details 
  • Adds value to your presentation

Presentation handouts must be relevant to your audience. (This relevance should be clearly stated and true, not simply an assumption of what you believe to be relevant.) Ideally, your audience will want to keep hold of the document and refer back to it, easily remembering the key parts of your presentation. Your written message, therefore, ought to be as clear, concise and powerful as the script of your presentation.  Audience members must be able to understand and relate to triggers for personal action.

Presentation handouts also serve as a source of further information. There is no reason why you shouldn’t plant promotional material into the format. Include a brief biography and advertise other products and services that you can offer (not just those covered in your presentation). The content must be short, readable and attractive. You may consider preferential prices for audience members, for example, to make them feel privileged. 

Content is crucial but design can equally make or break your handout. The overall impression – the ‘look and feel’ of your document – can make an enormous difference to its effectiveness. A strong, professional layout can give your material a real sense of authority. Just like the vocal power you need to use when delivering important points of your speech, the printed material needs to reflect the importance of the topics presented.

Think about how you will distribute the handouts, too. If given out before your speech, people will no doubt flick through and could miss parts of your presentation. Handing out material upon close can be effective. Involve members of the audience in the ‘passing round’ process, break the ice and create a less formal atmosphere in the room.

Finally, remember to include your contact information. Include your phone, e-mail and website details, as a minimum. Social media icons are a good way to illustrate your web presence without supplying long URL’s. As much as an audience member may wish to discuss aspects of your presentation, you never know who your next client may be. Make sure they get your details.

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