Extraordinary Team Blog

Go Beyond Using PowerPoint Handouts

Posted by Kristin Arnold on August 29, 2009

I was talking to my fellow professional speaker, Michael Podolinsky, CSP, President of the Professional Speaking and Training Institute about the travesty of speakers using their PowerPoint slides as a handout.  He had this to say:

“I’m shocked at how many speakers give their slides out as “handouts”. If the participants have your slides in their hands, why would they look at the screen? Also, where’s the surprise?

To engage participants, your handouts should parallel the slides, not be easy-to-reproduce clones. Handouts should be different enough and interactive so both are worth looking at. They should include some (but not too much) fill-in-the-blank answers and activities. They should have different photos and graphics, space to write and be uncrowded. One big goal is to get participants to take notes. Writing is a clarifier of thinking and aids in the transference of knowledge, both memory recall and from short-term to long-term memory. Giving an audience pages of 6 slides per page (for example) of detailed slides accomplishes none of these important learning points.”

I concur wholeheartedly.

For those who want to tap into the simplicity of using your PowerPoint as a handout, but still create some functionality as Michael describes, you might want to checkout a new product called George! It’s an add-in to PowerPoint that allows you to customize your handout or workbook.  It goes way beyond the “handout” print function, creating a title page, an acknowledgements page, table of contents.  It transfers your PowerPoint into Word and you can edit them using a variety of different templates and tools.  Best feature is that these pages sync with your Powerpoint!!!  So when you make a change on your slides, it will make the change in your Word Document.  How cool is that?