First, make sure to bring enough copies of the handout for each audience member to get one. Having to share or look on with one’s neighbor does not contribute to a professional image. Under no circumstances should you ever provide a single copy of a handout to pass around. There are several reasons this is a bad idea. You will have no control over the speed at which it circulates or the direction it goes. Moreover, only one listener will be holding it while you’re making your point about it and by the time most people see it, they will have forgotten why they need to see it. In some case, it might not even reach everybody by the end of your speech. Finally, listeners could still be passing your handout around during the next speaker’s speech. There are three possible times to distribute handouts: before you begin your speech, during the speech, and after your speech is over. Naturally, if you need your listeners to follow along in a handout, you will need to distribute it before your speech begins. If you have access to the room ahead of time, place a copy of the handout on each seat in the audience. If not, ask a volunteer to distribute them as quickly as possible while you prepare to begin speaking. If the handout is a “takeaway,” leave it on a table near the door so that those audience members who are interested can take one on their way out. In this case, don’t forget to tell them to do so as you conclude your speech. It is almost never appropriate to distribute handouts during your speech, as it is distracting and interrupts the pace of your presentation. Like other presentation aids, handouts should include only the 432 | Presentation Aids
necessary information to support your points, and that information should be organized in such a way that listeners will be able to understand it. For example, in a speech about how new health care legislation will affect small business owners in your state, a good handout might summarize key effects of the legislation and include the names of state agencies with their web addresses where audience members can request more detailed information. If your handout is designed for your audience to follow along, you should tell them to do so. State that you will be referring to specific information during the speech. Then, as you’re presenting your speech, ask your audience to look, for example, at the second line in the first cluster of information. Read that line out loud and then go on to explain its meaning. As with any presentation aid, handouts are not a substitute for a well-prepared speech. Ask yourself what information your audience needs to be able to take with them, and how it can be presented on the page in the most useful and engaging way possible. Types of Low Tech Media 1. Chalk or Dry-Erase Board 2. Flipchart 3. Foam board or poster board 4. Handouts Presentation Aids | 433
Tips for Preparing Presentation Aids As we’ve seen earlier in this chapter, impressive presentation aids do not take the place of a well-prepared speech. Although your
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