10 Ways to Have Great Handouts
By Susan Berkley
- INCLUDE ‘DO IT” PAGES
Help attendees take action after hearing you speak by giving them lots of pages with blank space for writing down:
– Key idea
– How I can apply it
– My action items related to this idea
- INCLUDE A TIME STAMP
If the seminar is being recorded, include a slot to record the time the idea was spoken so the participant can cross reference later on the recording.
- WHEN TO GIVE HANDOUTS
For a working session with technical data or complicated instructions, give handouts during the session so participants can follow along. Otherwise, hold handouts until after your talk. Your audience should focus on you, not your paperwork
- GIVE RESOURCE LISTS AS TAKEAWAYS
Include your contact information on each page. If the information is valuable, they’ll hold on to it along with your contact info.
- DISTRIBUTE COPIES OF POWERPOINT OR OVERHEADS
This helps those who cannot see the screen and provides a space for note taking. PowerPoint lets you lay out several slides per page.
- USE THEM BETTER
Repeat instructions 3 times. Example: Turn to page 5 of our handout. We’re now on page 5. Is everybody with me? On page 5 you’ll notice-
- KEEP THEM SIMPLE AND READER FRIENDLY
Use a “fill-in-the-blank” format, graphics and cartoons. People remember pictures more easily than words. Use large fonts, at least 14 Pt.
- USE COLOR
Go high contrast: dark text (black, navy or purple) on a light background. Highlight important text in yellow, but don’t use red or yellow text.
- KEEP THEM SHORT
5 pages max. If you need more pages, break the handouts into several sections and distribute as you go along.
- KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
One size does not fit all. Technical audiences generally prefer lots of detail and step-by-step instructions. For an audience like this, follow your hand out in linear fashion. Don’t skip around.
Special thanks to training expert Diane Diresta author of “Knockout Presentations” for input and suggestions.
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Susan Berkley is a top voice over artist and founder of The Great Voice Company, a company devoted to teaching great voices around the world how to become successful voice over actors. The Great Voice Company is an international leader in voice over training and in providing top quality voice over recordings in all languages to discerning businesses and marketers. For additional information visit www.greatvoice.com.
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