How to Make a Handout

Woman in red coat reading book in library.jpg

Let’s face it: we’ve all sat through our share of less-than-compelling presentations. Maybe the presenter struggles with public speaking or the information being conveyed doesn’t excite the audience. Luckily, there’s a solution. Handouts can spice up a presentation in no time. Students or professionals use handouts to give their audience additional information that pertains to their presentation. A well-made handout gives your audience something to hold and take home, and hopefully better connect with what you have to say.

1 Write the most important points

Write the most important points of your presentation in short, punchy sentences using an outline or bullet points to express your message. This will help your audience absorb your information quickly and effectively.

2 Provide information

Provide information as to why your handout is relevant. If your audience understands why your information is important, they’re more likely to keep their attention devoted to your presentation.

3 Include charts and illustrations

Include charts and illustrations to better present your point. Use images to help augment text, as they will help engage your audience. Never rely solely on graphs and pictures, though.

4 Print important points in bold

Print important points in bold, italic or colored print to help your audience distinguish the most important points of your presentation. Font selection is a vital part of making handouts.

5 Include discussion questions or quirky facts at the end of the handout

Include discussion questions or quirky facts at the end of the handout. It’s important to leave a lasting impression on your audience so people don’t forget your presentation.

  • Limit your handout to one page if possible. Space the information out in an easy-to-read manner. Accessibility is the key to an effective handout.
  • Add additional resources for your audience to follow up with, such as websites or studies.

Matt McKinney has written professionally since 2008. His work has appeared in publications such as "The Knox Student" and "Diminished Capacity," his campus literary journal. McKinney is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing at Knox College.