Presentation Design

Last week I was over in Portlaoise in Ireland for the Occupational Hygiene Society of Ireland (OHSI) Conference which this year had the theme “How well do we communicate”. I’d been invited to run a workshop on Presentation Design and also make a presentation on the same subject to the Conference proper.

It’s usually a good idea for conference speakers to provide handouts for the delegates to take away with them. This allows them to cut down on the amount of material covered in your presentation and so reduce the risk of information overload. And delegates have a concrete reminder of what was said, making the presentation more memorable.

It’s become standard practice for presenters to distribute copies of their slides as handouts. However, well designed slides DO NOT make good handouts. If the slides consist of lists of bullet-points (NOT recommended) then they will often be cut-down sentences which will no longer make sense to the reader a week later. And if they are visual slides (recommended) then they’re also unlikely to make sense without additional text.

For speakers who want to provide copies of Powerpoint slides, one of the easiest ways of creating a handout is to type the text of the handout in the “Notes” pane of the PowerPoint edit screen. Then print the slides with the notes as a Word document. This is a relatively easy way of producing an effective handout, and that’s the approach I used for the Conference.

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