How to Make a Perfect Handout

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A handout is a useful tool for helping your audience learn important concepts from a meeting, presentation or other business event. When making a handout, it’s important to summarize the key points instead of just printing out the notes you used during the presentation. Include material that goes beyond the information you covered to help your audience better understand the concepts.

Situations for Making a Handout In Business

There are many scenarios in business where you may need to provide a handout. Some examples include:

  • A staff meeting for new company policies or procedures.
  • A workshop to help employees develop new skills.
  • A customer or prospect presentation about new products or services.
  • A press conference for the media about new elements of the business.
  • A sales meeting with a prospect or partner.

Regardless of what kind of meeting, presentation or workshop you’re holding, a handout can help your audience to focus on the critical aspects they need to know.

Consider Your Audience and the Use of Your Handout

Always tailor your handout content to your audience. Consider how much they already know about the topic and where their knowledge gap might be. For example, if you’re meeting is with employees, you don’t need to provide background information on your company’s products or services as they should already have that knowledge. However, with prospects or the media, it may be beneficial to start your handout with a summary of what your company is and what you do.

Figure out how you want to use the handout. Will you be giving it to attendees to read during your presentation or will you be handing it out after your presentation? This will inform what kind of content you include. Do you expect people who didn’t attend your workshop to also receive this handout? This may mean you may need to include some of your presentation notes within the handout.

Summarize the Main Concepts

A handout for meetings, presentation, seminars, lectures and workshops should always aim to summarize the key points you covered. Don’t attempt to rehash everything you said in the presentation, as that dilutes the main message. Instead, focus on three to five points you want to ensure the audience learns and absorbs. Start your handout by stating the topic of the meeting, and then list the main elements you want the audience to understand.

A workshop handout template for employees may include a short paragraph of what the workshop was about, and then three points that the employees need to learn in order to gain a better understanding of the company’s new procedures.

Leave Space to Add Notes

Effective seminar handout examples always include a lot of white space around the text. This serves an important purpose in the way people learn and understand information. By leaving ample white space around the text in the handout, people are able to take their own notes and write the important points in their own words. White space also makes the materials easier to read and digest.

Refrain from including too much text when making a handout. Instead, look at the page you’ve created and ensure there is white space around each section of your handout. If you have written the content in paragraph form, consider changing some of it to bulleted lists as that increases the amount of white space and can make it easier for people to read the text.

Provide Bonus Content

Your handout should include some content that you didn’t cover in the meeting. Providing bonus information helps your audience to take the concepts further and learn more details about the task at hand. For example, if you had a sales meeting with prospects, and your handout included the benefits and features of your products, your bonus material can include a case study of the success another customer had when using your products.

Add Actionable Material

When making a handout, always include actionable content. This helps your audience to apply the information they have learned. Actionable material can include a list of resources for further reading or a worksheet with questions about the content of the presentation for the audience to answer.

References

About the Author

Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.

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