How to Design and Use Innovative Presentation Handouts

By Ray Anthony, Barbara Boyd

For handouts, keep these nine simple points in mind when planning and creating your innovative presentation handouts for your audience and use the tips appropriately:

  • Determine the number of handouts (including DVDs, props, gifts, prototypes and others) you need and always bring an extra ten percent for unexpected attendees or those who want to take extras back to others in their organization.

  • Consider which information, illustrations, diagrams, videos, and animations, as well as the level of detail and focus the audience needs, wants, and will use to make decisions or commitments or respond positively to your call to action.

  • Don’t crowd printed handouts with small text and busy charts or diagrams; white space and a studied layout encourage reading and viewing.

  • Laminate handout pages that will have repeated reference and heavy use after your presentation.

  • Consider dividing a handout into meaningful and easy-to-reference tabbed sections such as: Summary, Priority Information, Further Reading, Illustrations, Diagrams, Photos and Charts, and Appendix.

  • Make your handout independent, self-evident, and easily understood by anyone who didn’t attend your presentation.

  • Make handouts available after your presentation, unless the audience needs to refer to them during your presentation. Distributing handouts before your presentation tempts some to look at them — or leave before you finish — even if you’re compelling and captivating.

  • Do the eco thing and put a variety of handouts, documents, videos, illustrations, charts, or animations on your website instead of giving copies of everything at your presentation.

  • Put contact information on your handouts.

For training sessions, public seminars or workshops, or even paid keynote speeches, a small, useful gift or fun giveaway adds meaning to your presentation and highlights your brand or theme. See Office Playground, 4imprint, Branders, and Crestline for examples and ideas.