Print Handouts or Digital Data?

Print Handouts or Digital Data?

As if standing up in front of an audience and delivering a presentation weren’t difficult enough, now you are faced with another dilemma…to use or not to use handouts.  Many speakers choose to use handouts to supplement their presentation but are they always necessary? Is it enough to simply rely on digital data alone? The following is a guideline for helping you decide when and how to use handouts in presentations.  

Reinforce the Information

No one ever said it was easy for audiences to remember every detail that was presented to them, no matter how dynamic the speaker.  That’s why many presenters choose to print a handout to accompany their presentation. Instead of relying on digital data alone, a printed handout serves as a reminder of the information and gives people something to refer back to.  They can take it with them and look over it on their own time.

Elaborate and Add Details

When you are using digital data for your presentation you have probably been careful not to include multiple slides that are chock full of information.  The purpose of the slides is to act like an outline and focus on the main points of your presentation. You should be using your own words to elaborate on each heading.  However, it can be difficult for audiences to remember all of these details. Handouts can be a good way of delivering these details to your audience. You can elaborate on each topic and include technical information, charts, graphs, and timelines which can be helpful in conveying your message.

Follow Up

Handouts can be an effective method for strengthening your call to action.  Your audience will have all of the information they need to know about your product or service as well as your contact information.  

Keep in Mind That it Can Sometimes be Distracting

Have you ever been to a presentation where the speaker passed out the handouts before the presentation?  If so, there is a good chance many people in the audience were so busy thumbing through the pages of the handout that they weren’t paying attention to the actual presentation.  If you pass them out too soon, they might end up doing more harm than good.

Make Sure They Are Practical

You should only provide a handout if it actually enhances your presentation.  If you do choose to use a handout, make sure the information is relevant and practical.  You want to be sure the handout will be useful after the presentation.  

Digital Data Might Be Enough

There are times when handouts just don’t seem to be necessary.  Digital data is a great way to present material and you can always save money by emailing your slide deck to audience members or posting it to social media.  This gives your audience members access to your information without passing out handouts that they might end up losing.