PowerPoint and Handouts Should Look Different

A woman Media Coaching with a PowerPoint that uses too many words

I frequently hear from executives I coach that their boss wants them to use their PowerPoint print out as their handout. If that happens to you, then you need to tell your boss he or she is wrong–or hire us to do it for you.

PowerPoint should look different from your handouts. Too often, presenters try to put everything that belongs on a handout onto a PowerPoint slide. The result is a slide that has way too much information jammed into it. It overwhelms the audience.

PowerPoint helps to support your point. It also helps to show a process. It should never be used to give people as much information as a handout.

Here’s an example. Leslie Barber, a charismatic and talented project manager at Force 3 in Crofton, Maryland, frequently presents project rollouts to clients. One of the first slides in her presentation used to look like the photo to the right. TMI. Too Much Information.

We reworked Leslie’s entire presentation, so her handouts now look like her slides used to look and her slides simply show the process her team at Force 3 uses to implement a project rollout for a client.

There are several upsides to this approach:

  1. The presenter’s personality can shine because the presenter is freed from the restrictions of knowing she is delivering a boring presentation.
  2. The audience learns the process from the PowerPoint and had has all of the detail information it needs as a handout/take-away
  3. The presenter can use PowerPoint to outline exactly where she wants the audience to look in the handouts at the exact time she wants the audience to do that.

PowerPoint and handouts should compliment each other, not mirror or replace each other. Yes, it may create a little extra work on your end to build better handouts instead of simply hitting the print button on your PowerPoint presentation, but that’s a price well worth paying to dramatically improve the impact of your presentations.

To learn more about how we can help you and your organization deliver more powerful presentations and lead from the front of the room, send us an e-mail at info@sanduskygroup.com or call us at 410-472-1177.
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