Handout Tips

Presentations, conferences, and meetings almost always have handouts. These can be as simple as a one-page agenda, or as complex as a fifty-page workbook. Regardless, handouts help to guide your audience through your presentation, understand your message better, and give them something to take away from the meeting… literally.

It’s easy to simply make copies of your notes and pass them around the room, but this really isn’t the best. If your notes are sparse, the handout is pretty much useless. If your notes consist of your entire speech in bullet points, then what is the point of listening to you? Take a look at three good tips for handouts from The Power of Reflection.

First, encourage your participants to take notes by leaving large spaces for them. Make sure every page has a header, section titles, and page numbers. Refer to where you’re at by saying the page number and titles. Though don’t make the mistake of making your “master” copy be different from theirs. Finally, if you have more than one booklet or stapled stack of material, color-code each to make it easier for your participants to pick up the right one.

Handouts aren’t limited to face-to-face conferences. You can distribute pretty much anything, even if you are hosting a webinar. Email your handouts to your participants to print out before the conference call. You could also setup a downloadable version and simply send the link. If you are hosting a web conference, most likely all of your participants are in front of their computers. Blast email handouts to participants during the conference, or have a link ready that you can put into the chat.

Even if it’s a virtual meeting, you’re not as constrained as you think. Don’t forget to include handouts in your presentations and your participants will appreciate it. One more thing to think about: you can probably have donuts and coffee delivered most anywhere…. just a thought.

Posted by George Page, Communication Specialist