Should You Give Handouts At Presentations?

You get a huge pile of paper handouts and browse through them. Suddenly you realise that the presentation has ended and you didn’t actually pay attention to what the presenter was saying. Is this familiar?

Should you give handouts during a presentation or not – this is a very important question.

Yes and no. It depends, of course on the nature of the presentation. If you are going to make a technical, scientific or factual presentation with much details handouts help the reader assimilate facts. However, if you are making a presentation with much emotional appeal handouts could be counterproductive as there is a risk that the audience members are immersed in the handout and not paying enough attention to the presenter. National and organizational culture plays a great role in the success of the presentation. Brits, Americans or Italians for example appreciate interactive presentations with emotional appeal but the Finns and the Japanese feel comfortable with restrained fact based presentations where they can take notes. There are great variations also among professions. People in marketing and in the creative professions wouldn’t always like to sit quietly and scribble notes but accountants or lawyers might be more inclined to take notes.

You can distribute handouts before, during or after your presentation. There are advantages and disadvantages to all three so you must consider what you hope to accomplish with the information provided in the handouts.

If there is material in your presentation that cannot be visually displayed on the screen but that is important to follow while you speak, distribute the handouts before you begin speaking. If possible, have them ready for each person to take as they enter the room. This will allow them to read the information before you begin speaking. People who are reading are not listening with attention. There is another advantage in distributing handouts before the presentation. It allows listeners to make notes directly on the handouts. Remember that taking notes is the choice method of learning for many people. Distributing handouts during your presentation is challenging. Pass them out quickly and make sure they are relevant to the point you are discussing. No matter how quickly they are distributed, the audience will be distracted and you might lose some of their attention. This is the least favorable time to distribute materials, but occasionally it is the only appropriate time to do so. Remember that you will have to recapture your audience’s attention and get yourself back on track.

If you decide to distribute the printed materials after your presentation, let your audience know during your presentation. Tell them what information is covered in the handouts, which will encourage them to listen instead of taking unnecessary notes.

Here are some basic guidelines for creating effective handouts that help the audience instead of distracting or misleading them.

Pay careful attention to the appearance of the handouts.

  • Print them on clean white paper.
  • Use a readable, ordinary font like Times or Courier. Don’t vary fonts but make the text as uniform as possible.
  • Don’t cram too much into each page, and don’t leave gaping blank spots.
  • Make the handout clear and easy to navigate.
  • The handout order should be the same as the presentation order. Don’t make audience members flip back and forth between pages.
  • Double-sided handouts are highly recommended (they save paper and there’s less to carry).
  • Always staple multipage handouts, preferably only once, in the upper left corner.
  • Include page numbers.

Printed handouts are most effective if they contain the following elements.

  • Title section

At the top of page 1 you should have the following information, title of presentation, your name, your contact information e.g., e-mail address. You can also include the presentation location and date.

  • Body

Structure the body using headings or if your presentation is primarily data-driven, you can simply allow readers to follow along using the numbers.

  • Tables

Keep their design simple. Simple statistics may be best presented in a table, but often a graphic is better for this purpose. All tables should have clear and informative captions.

  • Figures

Figures include charts and graphics. If you have graphics, make sure they’re clearly visible on the handout. Like tables, figures should also have informative captions.

  • References

List only the references mentioned in the presentation (orally or on the handout). These are usually no more than five or ten for a presentation.

Microsoft PowerPoint or similar presentation software such as Apple Keynote have built in options for creating handouts from the slides that you are going to use during your presentation.

PowerPoint handouts

By default, PowerPoint offers choices to include 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 9 slide thumbnails per Handout page – some layouts, such as the one for 3 thumbnails also provide some space next to the thumbnail for notes to be written/printed. If you put too many slide thumbnails on one page some text or figures might be very difficult to read.

Other options than printed handouts

Printing Handouts is not always the only solution – especially if you need to email it to someone. In such a case, one can output Handouts to a Portable Document Format (PDF) file.

In conclusion you have to consider carefully what you aim to achieve by giving out the handouts. Then follow the guidelines given above to produce and distribute clear handouts, which help the audience absorb your message rather than distract them.

Enjoy your presentations!

Primer For Real Estate Agents: Optimize Presentation Results: 5-Step Approach

Since there are so many licensed real estate professionals, in most regions and locales, doesn’t it make sense, to hone your skills and abilities, and, be able to positively, differentiate yourself, from the rest of the pack? Obviously, real estate agents must focus on their personal skills and abilities, especially when it comes to presenting their ideas, and articulating a quality, effective, listing presentation. Real estate agents should learn from what, are, time – proven, presentation and sales techniques, and presenting more effectively, by being ready, willing and able to answer objections, and address concerns, which motivate and inspire, potential clients, to choose them. Therefore, this article will attempt to briefly examine, consider, and review, an effective, tried- and – proven, 5 – step approach.

1. Listen; learn; ZTL: Quite often, agents begin explaining how great they are, and what they’ll do, before taking the time, or making the effort, to effectively listen, in order to learn, what the perceptions, goals, priorities, etc, of the homeowner are! This step must be performed slowly, and carefully, because, it often impacts, the eventual final results. Only if/ when one, has the discipline to listen fully, and avoid the temptation to interrupt, thus exhibiting the ZTL, or zip – the – lip, and makes the potential client comfortable, does the presentation, get off, on the right – foot!

2. Empathize: Once the first step is effectively followed and performed, and you clearly put yourself in their place, with exhibiting genuine empathy, you begin to make the necessary connection, for the better! Using a simple phrase, such as, I can perfectly understand how you feel. I would feel that way, and so do most others, until they realize a few things, begins the process of making a quality, inspiring presentation.

3. Address concerns; answer objections: When an agent is empathetic, he realizes, every concern and/ or objection, is important to the potential client! Never minimize or assume, anything is obvious, merely because it may be, to you, but take the time, to address every concern, and answer every objection, thoroughly, and to their satisfaction. Pay attention to their body language, and wait, to proceed, until, it appears, they are receptive to your response!

4. Create/ recreate need: Once the first 3 steps have been performed effectively, it’s important to regain, and refocus the discuss, in a way, where you become more capable and ready, to proceed, to convince the other party, you are the one, for them! Therefore, use a phrase, such as, In light of our discussion, and your desire to (then recap what they indicated).

5. Close, and ZTL, again: Nothing occurs, until/ unless you close. While this is the last step, it depends on the how the previous ones, were performed and/ or addressed! A simple line, such as, Doesn’t it make sense, to do the paperwork, so we can achieve your objectives, together? Doesn’t it? Then zip – the – lip, once again, because, the one who speaks first, loses control of the discussion and focus.

While this isn’t complicated, it’s often challenging to maintain the discipline, to proceed, as effectively, as possible. Will you prepare, train, and be ready, to do so?

Sales Presenting – Whiteboards Are Not Just For UPS Anymore

Get Your Message Across

Need to give a dynamic, informal highly effective sales presentation? Look no further. The answer lies in the little-used whiteboard on the wall.

You know the basics of whiteboard sketching, but when it comes to doing it in front of a client, you run for cover! If you think whiteboards are only for professional artists, educators and talented folks at UPS and FED EX, you’ll be shocked to find that you too can look like a pro with a marker.

Fortunately, learning how to impress clients at a whiteboard is no longer difficult or time consuming. A new webinar series on business presenting is helping non-experts navigate their way around a whiteboard. (Even if you can’t draw a straight line, had to sweep the art-class to get a passing grade and don’t think you could make an impact with a marker to save your life.)

Thomas Sechehaye, founder of Presentation StoryBoarding, is a self-taught whiteboard master. He advises 5-simple steps for non-artists to get comfortable using whiteboards in sales presentations:

1. Kick out your inner critic
No one ever woke up in the morning thinking: “I’ll go make a fool of myself today in front of an important client.” This is just negative self-talk having a field day. Kick out your inner criticisms to make room for experimenting with new techniques, and learning new skills.

2. Get step-by-step help
Working at a whiteboard, and doing it well, is easy to achieve with step-by-step help. Take a webinar. Join an online class in visual language for business whiteboards.

Look for classes, webinars and events that speak a simple, non-expert language. Once you see the shortcuts, you’ll realize something quite amazing. It’s a lot easier to look like a pro when you have a paint-by-numbers roadmap to rely on.

3. Simplify your whiteboard story and pictures
Avoid the trap of making your sketches super complicated. This is another trick of the inner critic (see #1) and you must constantly be on the lookout.

The best business sketches are the simplest one. Instead of asking, “how can I show more detail?” ask a more important question: “how can I simplify my story and pictures?”

4. Practice!
Just like actors, athletes, dancers and musicians, to get really good, you must practice. Practice like crazy. Get comfortable with the tools. Get comfortable with the delivery. And most importantly, practice until you don’t have to think consciously about it.

Once you’ve established a muscle-memory for working with a marker, you can focus on critical elements of your presentation. These include focus on interaction, flow and calling to action.

5. Be Authentic
Don’t try to draw and write like someone else. For instance, if your boss is a wizard at the whiteboard, don’t try to do everything exactly the way he does. Instead, find your own personal style.

The key to being genuine and authentic is to work with a presentation coach. An expert coach can quickly help you spot how to use your core strengths in business presenting.

Examples of core strengths are as diverse as humor, enthusiasm, storytelling, and visual creativity. Instead of trying to be all things, find your genuine strength so you can use this effectively during business presentations.

Sales presenters are facing more pressure than ever to win new deals, get undecided prospects off the fence, and sell more of what they are offering.

Sechehaye is offering new training webinars devoted to business presenting with whiteboards. These events help non-artists get comfortable with sketching and writing key ideas to win attention and drive bottom line results.

In the new professional training webinars, attendees learn how to adapt stories to this unique medium, translate ideas into pictures, and inspire clients to take action.