Thursday, July 25, 2013

Handouts? We don't need no stinking handouts!

Someone on LinkedIn in a Training Group asked, "Handouts - do participants want or need paper handouts to reinforce course content. Or is that old fashioned? Is there a better way?"

This was my answer:

PowerPoint presentations are best used as attention 'grab and focus' devices. Minimal words, lots of relevant, brain-tweaking visuals. So hopefully, when we talk about handouts, we're not talking about the kind that PowerPoint automatically produces, because IMHO, they're useless.

I agree that a handout should be the go-to device when you need to be reminded of what was discussed in the presentation. I believe that the more concise the handout, the less useful it is. But beyond a certain point, it stops being a handout and starts being an aide-memoir and eventually becomes a reference manual, which may already exist.

What I'm noticing more and more is that the youngest working generation and even the one before it don't want to have to read. They prefer to watch a video demo. So my suggestion is to record the presentation using a screen and audio recording tool (like Camtasia Studio), edit out the pauses and coughs etc., then produce the video online for both those who attended and even make it available to those who couldn't attend.

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