In a presentation the other day where the presenter (who had already made one reference to being behind schedule and making up time a bit) made the statement (referring to the handout): “I have written this down so you can look at it later.“And wouldn’t you know what came next. He paused… and went on to read the entire section to his audience. Word. For. Word. In addition to just being bored (reading to an adult audience is just bad), I think the audience would have a right to be confused. It wouldn’t be clear exactly why there was content on the handout.Good handout design is very difficult. But it should always under the influence of Rule #1, and should always provide value and a reason to be carried away. Beyond that, it’s really questionable why something should be written down.
Content, words, and actions should all support the same message.
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I think every presenter should have one handout that promises never to read to the audience, unless it is a quotation or a statistic.