Video Blog for Trainers: Slides are not Handouts

Debrief Blog

Go to any seminar or conference and you are likely to receive copies of the slides as your handouts. Seems sufficient enough. But is that the best approach?

Watch a short video about rethinking the use of slides as handouts

Consider that slides and handouts have two very different purposes. When we attempt to use one to fulfill both needs, we often fail.

Slides provide visuals that support what a trainer is saying. Effective slides are often full of pictures and graphics that visualize what the trainer is talking about. They may provide bullet-point notes that summarize what is being discussed.

Handouts provide a place for participants to take notes. They reinforce the key messages with robust content. They may include materials for activities and case studies. Most importantly, they provide a reference for participants to look at after the session is over.

It’s not hard to see that these are two different things.

On the one hand, when I’ve seen trainers use their slides as handouts, I’ve seen slides that look more like books. They use a small font and lots of text. This may work for participants who want to read them after the session is over, but they cause problems during the session. You see, no one can read and listen at the same time, so the slides end up fighting with the trainer.

On the other hand, when I’ve taken slides home that were very effective in supporting a trainer (full of visuals and pictures), they rarely make sense to me days later.

If you want to do the best for your training participants, take the time to create handouts that make sense and slides that support learning.

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