Six ways to make your presentation shine with support materials


  • Author Jill Manty
  • Published August 26, 2011
  • Word count 628

When planning a big presentation, you may be tempted to spend all your time preparing your talking points and a PowerPoint to the exclusion of all else. But to make a good impression and make sure the knowledge you deliver sticks with your audience, solid support materials are essential. After all, you’ve taken the time to put together a presentation that is interesting and informative, don’t let that go to waste by allowing your audience to leave the room without something to reference when they tell others about you. Here are six suggestions that can help you make a good impression, provide extra customer service, and keep your presentation fresh in the minds of your audience.

  1. Don’t print out your slides – You want your audience to listen to you while you give your presentation, not read about it. Studies show that writing helps you learn quicker; if you want them to take notes, provide notepads and pens. Providing slides gives your audience an excuse to not take notes, even if you leave space for it on the side.

  2. Brand your collateral material – Give your pamphlets, folders, notepads, etc. a professional look by carrying the same theme throughout. Among other things, this can be done by adding your logo, mission statement, or pictures that make your materials instantly recognizable as your own. Even something as simple as color-coordinating can mean the difference between being professional and being overlooked. An experienced printer can help you choose a style that fits your company needs.

  3. Proofread – Don’t just type something up and print it out. How can you expect to be taken seriously when you don’t take the time to do the job correctly? Hand your materials over to someone qualified to proof your work before it goes to the printer.

  4. Use quality products – Faded, blurred, or streaky copies on flimsy paper will do you no favors. You don’t want your materials to look or feel cheap, and above all, they must be legible; the care you take with them can make a lasting impression. Make sure are your materials are sharp and easy to read on stock that will last.

  5. Keep your materials tidy – Consider binding all loose handouts into something your audience will want to keep as a reference tool. If you are providing a few differently-sized collateral items like magazines, flyers, postcards, etc. you may want to design a custom pocket-folder to keep everything in one place. Ask your printer for the best option to keep everything organized and easy to access.

  6. Don’t interrupt your presentation with handouts – If you have reference materials that will be utilized during the presentation, make sure you give them out in advance, or place them at everyone’s seats. Don’t distract your audience with papers shuffling around the room in the middle of the presentation. Save any lengthy written materials or fun extras until the end of your program. Again, you want your audience to pay attention to you – they can and should read your collateral materials afterwards to support your presentation and keep your information at the front of their minds.

Giving a presentation can be a stressful activity; experts report that more people are afraid of public speaking than they are of dying. Taking the time to make sure your support materials are legible, professional, orderly and informative in advance can take a lot of the weight off your shoulders as you prepare and present. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when preparing your collateral material. A good print shop can help you with the selection of the types of materials you need, the branding, organization and cohesive style that will make your presentation – and you – stand out from the rest.

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