The best handouts jog the memory of your audience, as well as distinguishing your ideas from those of the other presenters. Instead of viewing handouts as a cumbersome obligation, view them as an asset that can make your presentation stronger and more memorable.
The most common handout is a standard sheet of paper that neatly summarizes your presentation. The summary may include a time line and relevant facts, or bulleted points listing key quotes. In this traditional handout, Oliver Adria of rethinkpresentations.com suggests limiting the amount of information to just one page. She also recommends including your contact information as well as additional reading material.
Stickers may not be effective for an information-based presentation, but they can be useful for persuasive or political oral presentations. Stickers provide a way for your message to be delivered long after the end of the speech. During the presentation, hand out bumper stickers stating your name or the general slogan of your speech.
If the oral presentation is for class or a small group, spending money to print bumper stickers isn’t necessary: Use file folder stickers and hand-write your main slogan or website, further explaining the issue on the sticker. At the end of the persuasive speech, explain that each student can get involved with the campaign by spreading awareness by placing the sticker in a prominent location. Encourage them to place the stickers on campus sign poles, desks or letters.
Make a brochure by folding a standard 8 1/2 by 11-inch piece of paper in thirds. Include few words on it, but plenty of images: the goal is to provide listeners with supplemental information not included in the speech, while not stealing the attention from your words. Use pictures to enhance the story you’re telling in the presentation. “Before and after” images are one possibility, especially if discussing the environment or health issues. Under each picture of the brochure, include a brief caption explaining the images. For example, write “a healthy lung and a 20-year smoker’s lung.” Make reference to these images throughout your speech.
A CD is an effective handout if you are pitching ideas, artwork or music to a group of people. This handout enables your audience to review images or samples of your work even after the presentation ends. Include a cover on each of the CDs that clearly identifies your name. Even if the group initially passes on your work, a CD perched on their shelves will serve as an ever-present reminder of your availability for the future, whereas your emails and submitted work online gets lost and buried over time.