Presentation Q&A: Handouts

Question: Which is better? Giving the handout before or after the presentation?

Answer: In general, it’s best to give handouts after the presentation, if you give the handout at the start of the presentation then you run the risk of people flicking through it while they should be listening to you, thus losing connection.

If you are dealing with a very technical subject then there are some additional options for you to consider:

  1. Send out a document about the talk in advance, this would probably cover the basic information that would be needed to understand your topic so that your audience will all be at the same level when you begin your presentation
  2. Prepare handouts (for example graphs or financial data) which can be distributed at key points of the presentation so that your audience won’t have to rely on your presentation but instead they have their own personal copy and you can be sure that everyone is literally on the same page.
  3. For complicated sections of your presentation, don’t use slides, use props or other visual aids, you don’t have to use powerpoint for the whole presentation.

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