How to Make a Perfect Handout

Handouts allow audience members to recall important information from a presentation.
Handouts allow audience members to recall important information from a presentation. (Image: Michael Blann/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Handouts serve a crucial role for lectures and presentations. When the presentation ends, a handout that summarizes the main points of the presentation helps the audience remember information presented in the session. A handout lets the audience concentrate on your presentation knowing that the handout will be there to remind them of important points later on.

Avoid including too much information. Too much information may make it difficult for the audience to interpret the handout, especially without your the aid of your presentation. The handout should not be a substitute for the presentation, merely a tool to help recall the most important facts.

Include white space. White space on a handout encourages listeners to supplement the handout with their own notes. Such involvement usually keeps the information fresh in their mind long after the presentation's conclusion.

Create a handout that matches the length of your presentation. A relatively short 10- to 15-minute presentation may require only two or three pages to successfully highlight its main points.

List your presentation's references on the handout. A list of references allows audience members to seek more information about the topic or continue to research areas of particular interest.

Include copies of your slides. If your presentation features a slide show, including copies of those slides in a handout can be an easy and effective way to remind audience members of your presentation's main points. Look for printing options that allow you to print multiple slides per page.

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