Presentations – What’s the Difference Between a PowerPoint Slide and Handout?

One of the most common problems with PowerPoint presentations is slides that are loaded with information, way too busy for the audience to see. When I try to offer feedback on that problem in my workshops, very often, participants reply that they have to be that detailed because they’re also serving as a handout. If the presenter simplified the slide, then the handout would be too simple, which might not make much sense a week or month later if the audience member referred to it. 

This creates a dilemma. If your visual on the screen is simple — which it should be — then your handout is probably not detailed enough to be an appropriate takeaway. But if you design your visuals so they will have more detail to beef up your handouts, then your slides will be too busy to be effective.

Here’s the best solution to that dilemma: don’t make your handouts replicas of your slides. Create a separate document for your handout. That document — whether a notebook or report or what’s referred to in the corporate world as “the deck” — has all the detail. But the slides projected on the screen are simple, bullet-point versions of the detail. They serve as talking points — the key points that would help the audience understand and remember the ideas — but are not so complex and overdone that they serve no purpose.

Avoid redundancy between your slides and handouts whenever possible. Design your materials in such a way that the audience’s focus will clearly be directed to either the visual or the handout (when they’re not focused on you!). Let one complement the other, but avoid unnecessary duplication.

And before you start to complain about how that will double your work load, to create two versions, consider this. Be honest, what’s the nature of the PowerPoint you’re going to create anyway? Detailed, right? Lots of information on each slide. So, go ahead and go with that instinct — and save that as your handout. Then go through it, editing vigorously until you get each slide down to key, simple points — and save that as your slide presentation. And to overcome another objection I often hear — yes, your projected slides should have dark backgrounds and light type to be most visible and professional. But you do not have to print your handouts out with all that heavy ink coverage. In the print box, simply select “black and white” as your option and the background will be white and the type will be printed in black type.

As long as I’m on the subject of handouts, let me offer suggestions on two other fairly common issues. One is the frustration of having the audience focus on the handout when you don’t want them to. While it’s impossible to control what members of the audience do, you can minimize this by strategically choosing when to pass out your materials. If you hand them out during your presentation, then you can expect all heads to go down and focus on the handouts. So, one option to minimize the audience’s attention on the notes is to get them out ahead of time – literally send or email them in advance or else have them set at their seats when they arrive. This allows the group to peruse the materials before the presentation. That way, they’ve satisfied their curiosity and are more likely to focus on you when you begin. The other option is to offer them after your presentation. You can explain during your talk that there will be a detailed handout available afterward, so they’ll be satisfied that they’re getting some kind of takeaway.

There is another common complaint I hear often: when audience members read ahead in the handouts. This may mean they see the “bottom line” before you want them to. Or they find something on page five that they’ll immediately ask a question about, even though you’re discussing page two. One way to minimize this is by following the previous suggestion — strategically distributing the materials either ahead of time or afterwards. Another alternative is to design your handouts so they’re incomplete. Put in some blanks that the audience can fill in as you go along. Purposefully leave out the key information so people won’t get it before you’re ready to reveal it.

Top Notch Presentations To Dazzle Customers and Investors

Tick-tock. You’ve got a critical presentation to customers and investors. This is your moment to shine and blow your audience away with your phenomenal idea, product or solution.

How can you guarantee success?

Many consumers, prospects and investors are sitting in back-to-back pitch fests. What’s going to make your message stand out as wildly unique?

Is a detailed demo going to cut it? Or a chronological display of boring slides? Unlikely. To grab attention, keep it — and inspire the urge to buy, it’s time to dazzle. It’s time to show your concept in a 1-minute dynamic video.

Video is increasingly becoming the ‘presentation of choice’ for marketing, promoting and selling. Why? More and more people are short on attention and short on time. The most common demand is: “simplify! Show me what you mean!”

Where could a 1-minute custom movie help your business? The list is long. However, consider these top areas where you could win attention and win customers.

  • Pitches to investors
  • Business and sales proposals
  • Videos for your website
  • Videos to drive traffic to your website
  • Product launches
  • Marketing B2B and B2C
  • Corporate communications

Whether you’re a small business owner or in a larger organization, a custom mini-video makes your message easy to understand, fun and highly engaging.

But maybe you’re scratching your head and wondering. “Sounds great…but where should I start?”

Many professionals reach out to experts in video storytelling to help define the core story and communicate with impact.

When planning your maximum-impact video, focus on 5 critical areas.

1. Tell a Powerful Story

Stories sell. They simplify complex ideas. A story makes difficult concepts down to earth and easy to comprehend. A story is the fastest way to connect emotionally with your audience, making a powerful impact.

In planning your story, streamline down to the core essentials. Working with an expert can help you focus on key ideas, flow and sequence for maximum impact.

2. Show What you Mean

Pictures speak louder than words alone. Pictures connect with the right side of the brain, or holistic brain. Show pictures, examples and real-world benefits of what you have to share. Pictures last longer in the minds of your audience and drive decision-making.

3. Get Creative!

To dazzle jaded and overwhelmed clients, you’ve got to shine. Your video puts your creativity in the spotlight.

4. Dare to Be Different!

If everyone is making videos with ‘stock photos’ it’s likely your audience will have already seen the images. This derails and diminishes your impact. Dare to be different. Use hand-drawn characters and pictures to specifically showcase your ideas. In seconds, you’ll have an engaging and unique story.

5. Focus On Action

Tell viewers what to do! As in every business presentation, simple, targeted action is the key to success. It’s even more important in a video.

Many of the times people will see your video, you won’t be in the room guiding the experience. So, plan for impact so viewers know exactly what to do next.

Examples of action include: show 3-4 simple steps. Post your company name and website. Offer a contest or time-limited special offer. Inspire action in every video and you’ll find that customers, prospects and investors are much more likely to take the next step.

6. Transition With Ease

Once you show your dazzling video, have a game plan. Practice how to ask questions, hit key points and continue the conversation you’ve started in with your entertaining movie.  While your audience is watching the video, you’re not in the spotlight. But once the movie ends, keep the energy up with a dynamic conversation and engaging next steps.

An online video, customized to your specific business needs is the easiest and fastest way to skyrocket your success. Video is sure to dazzle your clients, make you stand out in a crowd, and inspire people to do business with you.

Improving Your Presentation Skills: Handling Unexpected Speaking Requests

“Could you say a few words on… ?”

Whenever you attend a meeting at work or in the community, you may well hear those words: an unexpected request. This is especially true if you have been improving your presentation skills. So, now what?

Let’s take it back a bit, because we hope one of the skills you have acquired as part of your public speaking training is preparation… in this case, preparation for the unexpected. The request is ‘un’-expected because you can’t know for sure that someone will ask you; the request is expected because you are the type of involved and articulate person you are. So, always be prepared – yes, for every meeting you attend. Still, it isn’t as bad as it sounds!

There are four main areas to work on:

Issues, projects and situations relevant to the listeners.

As a practitioner of your field, you try to stay on top of the latest trends and developments. What you might not do is to make a note of the source of new information. Even though it may be a pain in the neck to take the time to record that source, knowing it will increase your credibility, both in a speech and in your workplace or community.

A short, versatile format on which you can hang almost any content.

Develop a few variations on the following framework: set a positive mood, establish your credibility, go into a few details, and conclude with an action-oriented comment. Once you’ve come up with a few outlines, try them out on your family or staff, then put them to the real test. We are sure you will find them infinitely and quickly adaptable for a truly effective ‘spontaneous’ presentation.

A positive, action-oriented approach – especially in the conclusion.

We always recommend a positive approach to your presentations, even if you are giving bad news – maybe especially if you are. Your conclusion is the most powerful point in your talk to get the audience members to do what you would like them to. Give them a specific action, so they can get on board, as well as perhaps a positive quote, saying or colourful phrase appropriate to the group.

Now, if this sounds like the formula for any good speech, it is. The difference is primarily in the length. Remember the chairperson asked for a ‘few’ words. So, without spending all your spare time preparing, just to go to a meeting, what can you put in your speaking ‘kit bag’ that will make you shine through any number of these impromptu presentations?

Your presentation kit bag should always be overflowing with colourful quotes and phrases you have selected for the various groups you speak to. In fact, one of them may even become your signature poem, line, joke or clever comment. Just remember to credit any previous author, then use all your tools to make a truly creative and memorable speech which hangs neatly on our recommended formats.

If you simply remain conscious of all these elements, you can improve your presentation skills and always be prepared for any unexpected request or question. Stay on your toes, and you’ll be sure to impress!