Hands in the air for Presentation Handouts

Why offering handouts to your audience will double your presentation’s impact.

by Lyndon Nicholson

Originally published on Medium


In a recent article I wrote about the importance of keeping complicated graphs and charts out of your presentation. I delved into details about why displaying statistics that your audience can quickly digest and understand is always a good move in terms of presentation design.

Also in that article I offered a solution for when someone asks for more data; for when your audience asks you to back up your trimmed-down stats. I suggested that a physical printed handout be used, acting like a glossary of citations, and allowing you to prove your workings.

However, physical handouts don’t just have to be limited to complex and potentially disengaging facts and figures. A handout can also be a way to keep your audience interested long after you’ve wrapped up your presentation, and as a way to expand upon points you couldn’t cover due to time restrictions.

presentation handouts

On paper


When I create a presentation, be it for a client or for myself, I strive to find the best of both worlds. An effective presentation walks the line between being both visually stunning and informative. It’s about deciding what not to include from your many notes and documents in order to create something that an audience will be able to engage with and understand.

Instead of casting all that trimmed away data into the bin. Collect it and keep it in your handout. You will therefore be creating two versions of your presentation; the one you’ll actually present, with carefully chosen words and professionally designed slides, and one that your audience can later read and explore further.

Presentation handouts therefore acts as a support tool. They allow you to expand on points and provide more information that you aren’t able to during your time in the spotlight.

Multi use


A handout also offers the opportunity to spread the aesthetic of your slides to a paper document. It doesn’t have to be a boring black and white version of your script; a handout can be just as innovative and exciting as the presentation your audience just saw. Think of each page as a slide designed to be held and read. Quite unlike a slide that gets projected behind you while you present.

Presentation handouts are also a way to build your following. Including details such as your social media accounts and YouTube channel will prompt people to follow you. The handout could also allude to there being even more information available on your website or blog, or even direct them to a video version of the presentation, should they wish to see it again.

They also help with accessibility. If members of your audience have sight issues, they might have struggled to see the info on your slides. Recreating them in a physical form, with greater detail, will help them to understand you, further expanding your presentation’s impact.

Everyone’s a winner


So they’re no longer a hastily thrown-together afterthought. Presentation handouts should be of real consideration when it comes to preparing an engaging presentation. You might use one for support and to expand your message, but it will be your audience who get the real value from one. If you’d like more advice about creating yours, talk to me today.