About four weeks ago, my mother asked me to represent the family at the funeral of a distant relative. I buried my resentment of my sister whose task this usually was and arrived at the funeral in good time.
On my arrival, I was given a leaflet and ushered to a seat. This was cool because I had enough time to read about the life and times of the lady and familiarize myself with the words of the hymns that would be sung.
About three weeks ago, I went to a public lecture (name and place withheld to protect the guilty). On my early arrival, I was given a document and ushered to my seat. (Gasp!) This was not cool! The document was a handout of the entire lecture that was about to be presented.
I had enough time to read the document, agree with most of the points, correct the English and decide that I still had enough time if I left at once to make it to the Drive-in and catch the movie. (Yes, we do have a drive-in in my country!)
While I was in the Drive-in, I decided that I was going to prevent you from making that “handout” mistake.
In other areas of people’s lives, giving a handout might not be the best thing, but for a speaker, it’s not a bad thing to do. It’s how you do it that counts. So here are some tips to make your handout worth having.
· Don’t give a copy of your PowerPoint presentation. I hate when I pay large portions of my hard-earned money for a seminar/workshop and I receive this fancy bag with copies of the PowerPoint presentation inside. Further, if the PowerPoint slides were done well, they could not think of doing this.
· Don’t give handouts before the presentations unless you plan to sing it and expect the audience to join in. Part of an effective presentation depends on creating suspense to engage the audience. If the audience can read everything you’re going to say, that element is lost.
· A better way to provide a handout is to prepare a summary of the main points of your speech, include some relevant information that you did not cover as well as the contact information for your organization and yourself. In this way your handout becomes a “must have” item, and a valuable one at that.
If you follow these few tips every time you want to give a handout, you will be happy to know that your audience will listen to your presentation, lineup for your handout and give you an opportunity to engage them further.