Leveraging Handouts to Improve the Effectiveness of Your Presentations Part 2

by | Nov 9, 2010 | Marketing & Selling

leveraging handouts
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Yesterday, I talked about how your handout should not be a doppelgänger of your speech and when are the best times to distribute them. If you missed yesterday’s post, you can find it here.

Today I’m going to discuss more logistical matters concerning handouts.

How many handouts is optimal?
That, of course, depends on your presentation. A good rule of thumb is to have only as many handouts as is required to support your presentation and its goals. More is not necessarily better. In fact, the less handouts you have, the more effective your speech is likely to be.

Don’t use handouts as a crutch for mediocre content. Your handouts should NOT be where the real value of your presentation lies.

How should I design my handout?
If you’ll be distributing the handouts before the presentation, include blanks for the audience to complete. Humans like to fill in the blanks. This also encourages them to pay attention … or they won’t know what to put in the blanks. And it gives you a way to include audience engagement.

Keep your design simple and easy to read. Avoid silly or clever fonts. Don’t over use graphics. Being overly creative can actually make you look less professional. Handouts should be plain vanilla, allowing you to be the double chocolate fudge with caramel swirls and chopped almonds.

If your handout will contain more than one page, make sure that those pages are all the same size. You don’t want to hand out a series of pages where some are standard letter, others are on legal size paper, and others still are little tri-fold brochures. It makes it ungainly for your audience members to carry with them later. That said, if you will be providing a nice portfolio folder for them to carry it all in, then you might have some leeway with this guideline.

Finally, be sure to include some form on contact information on each and every sheet. For example, you can include your website address in the footer of each page, or maybe your name and phone number. That way, if sometime in the future a member of your audience has misplaced all but one of your handouts, they still can look you up and do business with you.

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What is your biggest challenge around giving presentations?
Join the conversation on Facebook or ask your question in the reply box below! If you’re feeling really creative, you can send me a voice mail or post a video with your question. I’ll post answers to your questions on the Public Speaking Super Powers blog. And, if you like, I’ll give you credit to! For more information on how to ask your public speaking questions, watch this video.

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