Handouts and Visuals

The handouts and visual aids that you create for your presentation define your presentation more than any other aspect. These documents can make or break your presentation and can provide a place for your listeners to take notes as you speak.

Handouts = Visuals

The most common complaint in evaluations at some conferences has been that a presenter’s handouts were not the same as the PowerPoint or other visuals. Sometimes there are good reasons why you want your handouts to be different than your projected visuals. But, unless you have a powerful reason for it, make your handouts identical with the PowerPoint. Don’t include slides in your PowerPoint that are not in the handouts. Don’t make people switch from one handout to another in order to follow your presentation. If you plan to do an online demo as part of your presentation, include some slides from the application in your handouts, even if they are not part of the PowerPoint presentation. Make it easy for the attendees; they will appreciate it.

What Makes a Handout Readable?

Words that are large enough to read! Try this: print your handout before you finalize it. If YOU can read the content, then it should be okay. If you cannot read something, like a table or screen shot, find another way to present it in your handout. Generally speaking, two PowerPoint slides per page will be readable by most people. Use the Handouts printing option in PowerPoint. That will provide space for people to write notes on the handout.

Should I Use PowerPoint?

There are a number of choices for preparing visual presentations. The most popular and well-known is Microsoft PowerPoint. Because it is part of the Microsoft Office suite, it is available to most people. If you choose to use any other program, check with your track coordinator to make sure it will be available on the computers at ELUNA.

Probably the second most used visual display tool is HTML, in other words, the web. Some presenters are more comfortable developing web pages than they are with presentation software like PowerPoint. Some intend to leave their presentations up on their own websites, where they will be easy to update and maintain as things change. Some people just hate PowerPoint and refuse to use it. There is no problem with using the web for your presentation, if you choose to do that. The only caveat is that you must request an Internet connection for your presentation and you should be prepared for the possibility that the network connection may not work.

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