All presentations have a time limit, and some topics are not well served within those time constraints. Handouts that audience members can take home and re-read or go over again can help to reinforce your content, keep you top of mind and give your audience a more rich experience.
However, you need to be careful. This type of handout needs to be well designed both in content and in visual appeal. The design should entice your audience member to want to engage with the content and the content needs to be presented in a way that is congruent with your presentation and makes your content easily accessible … without you there to answer questions.
This type of handout is usually distributed after your presentation. People who were engaged and interested in your topic and talk will take it home and more than likely actually use it.
Types of Handout
Here are some ideas of what kinds of information you can include in this type of handout.
- A resource list. If you mentioned a variety of resources, such as book, articles or websites, including a list of these so they don’t have to quickly jot then down can be helpful.
- A deeper dive into points that you made. Perhaps you were given only 15 minutes for your presentation, so you gave your audience a bird’s eye view of the topic. Your handout could give them deeper information, which would showcase you as the expert you are.
- Forms. If you talked about specific forms that people can use to help them learn something or research something, include those in the handout. For example, I have “Create an Ideal Audience Avatar” presentation. The handout includes a detailed form that prompts people to determine a wide variety of characteristics of their ideal audience member.
- A branded note journal. Sometimes you don’t need to give them information, just a really nice way for them to take notes. A notebook that has your branding on it, can reinforce your information, especially when you regularly reference “jot this down in your journal” during your presentation.
Here are some design tips for handouts that will help engage your audience members.
- Match your branding. The handout design should be congruent with all your marketing materials, including your website. That way, if the handout prompts them to go to your website, they’ll know they are in the right place.
- When possible, use color. Colorful handouts are always more engaging than black and white handouts.
- Use plenty of white space. If your handout looks too dense, it will never be used and will more than likely end up in the circular file.
- Include graphics. Visuals are just as important in handouts as they are in your presentation. They please the eye and, when done correctly, lead the eye to the key parts of the handout.
I hope these tips will help you create better handouts for your audiences. If you have any more ideas, please share them in a comment below.