Some of you are responsible for writing formal reports for external audiences, and all the dissemination strategies that go along with formal reports, like press releases and transmittal letters.

And some of you are responsible for sharing information with internal audiences, which typically happens in a less formal setting, like a verbal presentation. Maybe you give data-related updates at your weekly staff meetings, or at the management team’s monthly meeting, or at the Board of Director’s quarterly or annual meeting.

Chances are, your verbal presentation might include some slides like these:


What type of handouts will accompany your talk?

Here’s what you’re not going to do. You’re not going to present some data in a client meeting or in a weekly staff meeting and simply print out your entire slidedeck and use that as the handout for your audience members.

And why not? This is information overload. Whether you’ve got 10 slides, 20 slides, or 50 slides, your audience won’t know which slides are the most important to remember for later on.

These handouts end up in the recycling bin:

All slides printed as handouts

Here’s what you’re going to do instead: Select three to five key findings from your presentation and print those slides as full-page handouts.

The bad handouts that I showed you before – the slidedeck that was just printed out – those get tossed aside, never to be seen or used again. But these full-page handouts get saved and referred to later on.

I’m working on a few different research projects where I visit organizations on a regular basis, typically every quarter. When I walk down the hallways of their offices, I see these handouts taped above their desk, with notes scribbled all over them.

Viewers really appreciate that you’ve taken the extra time to sift through all the data and help them pick out what really matters.

You can always have a couple copies of the full slidedeck printed out, just in case someone asks for it, but the majority of the people in your meeting are going to have plenty of information in these 3 to 5 full-page slides.

Selected slides printed as full-page handouts

What types of handouts do you include with your verbal presentations?