(530) 467-5690 Chris@ChrisReich.org

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Problem: What to Do When You Have 10 Minutes to Present a Very Complex Idea?

Simple! Use a handout!

I understand the need to limit presentation time. Without such limits, meetings would go on forever. But it doesn’t make sense to put every presentation under the same limit unless all the presentations have the same content. For example, if 4 sales managers are reporting results from 4 different regions, then it makes sense to have all 4 presenters follow a consistent format and stay within a given time frame.

When someone asks to present an idea that might generate new revenue for the company, it doesn’t make sense to put that presenter under the same constraints. Must she use the same template as the sales managers? Must he be limited to 5 slides and 10 minutes? Why?

It may not make sense but it happens all the time. People call me with a request like this, “I have a new idea for the hospital but I need to present a bunch of technical data. Problem is, I only have 10 minutes and they ask us to use 5 or fewer slides.” While the limitations are rather arbitrary, they exist and the presenter is stuck with them. That is an ideal time to create a handout.

Use your slides to make impact and the handout to support your conclusions and proposal. In simple terms, put the supporting data and complex charts on the handout. Your first slide says something like, “We have a serious problem with Post-Op infection and I would like to propose a solution.”  The handout would show the supporting statisical data for how you identified the problem. The slide may say that your facility experiences a 9% post-op infection rate compared to the national average of 2.3%. Your handout would show the data in detail and provide sources of data.

This is just one of the many ways a handout can be used. Too much trouble? Naw. You can create your handout in PowerPoint. That makes layout easy and keeps everything in a asingle file. Put your slides up front, followed by what you intend to be your handout. When done, print only the handout slides. Easy!

By the way, this works great when speaking at a conference too. Why? Because attendees walk away with something with your name on it.

The presentation is too often treated as a replacement for a handout. The two parts should work together.

Chris Reich, Making Presentations Better Every Day!