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Handout Ideas and Tips for an Oral Presentation

written by: Kristina Dems•edited by: Amanda Grove•updated: 7/20/2010

The handouts you provide can determine the success of your oral presentation. With the following handout ideas and tips, you’ll learn the proper way of creating and using your handouts.

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    Oral Presentation

    Morguefile Oral presentations are essential part of college life. They allow you to effectively deliver new topics, information or reports related to your chosen course. Oral college presentations also allow your teacher to properly evaluate your status on how well you are in researching, understanding and sharing details to your classmates. When giving oral presentations, one of the most important things that you should think of is producing high quality handouts. Handouts do not only help presenters in giving an effective speech, but they also enable the audience to clearly get the presenter’s message. In short, handouts, if constructed properly, serve as a bridge to the presenter and the audience. They also serve as a review for the audience in case a follow-up quiz will be given after the presentation. Your audience is not limited to classmates or teachers, but could also include the members of the school community in larger settings. The following are some useful oral presentation handout ideas that you can apply to your college presentations.

    Image Credit: / Alvimann

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    Don’t Create Handouts Straight From Your Slides

    One of the most common mistakes that presenters make is that they create handouts straight from their slides. Usually, the presenter uses a bullet format when creating slide presentations. Now, this isn’t a bad thing, as the slide only serves as guidelines to your speech. However, if you use the same content to your handouts, this is where the problem begins. Remember that handouts are constructed in order to provide your audience with concrete information about the topic being discussed. If you use the content in your presentation in your handouts, there is a great chance that the audience will not use the handouts you provided or all will be looking down in your handouts instead of looking at you and your visual aid such as a PowerPoint presentation.

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    Use Graphics ONLY When Needed

    Graphics are an essential part of your handouts. They simplify the message you want to relay and give further support to your data. However, you should also be aware that adding TOO MANY graphics could also distract your audience from listening to you. As much as possible, graphics such as images and graphs should only be used whenever necessary.

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    Proper Time to Distribute Handouts

    One of the most important presentation handout ideas that you should also bear in mind is to know when to distribute your handouts. Most people distribute their handouts before the presentation because they figure out that handouts should support the presentation. However, doing this can actually cause distraction to your audience. Hence, the best time to distribute your handouts is after your presentation. Your handouts will then serve as a reminder or review of the key points of what you have discussed earlier.

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    Make Your Handouts Simple and Clear

    Handouts are created as support and review to the topic being discussed and not as lecture notes. You should always simplify the contents in your handouts. Avoid putting too much information in your handouts and make clear and informative notes. You should also bear in mind the readability and legibility of your handouts. Use a font style and size that can easily be understood and deciphered by your audience.

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    Construct Easy-to-Navigate Handouts

    Related to the previous handout idea along with the other oral presentation handout ideas, you should also take note of the outline of your handouts. Make sure that the contents of your handouts are systematically arranged in the same way that you arranged your slide presentation. This way, your audience will not get lost during the discussion.

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