Creating Handouts for Conferences

Creating Handouts for Conferences

Handouts can be a valuable addition to your research presentation. The following module discusses the guidelines that should be used to create an effective handout.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the benefits of providing handouts to supplement your presentation
  • List key guidelines that should be followed when preparing handouts


The typical academic presentation at a conference consists of you (the presenter), the content of what you have to say, your PowerPoint slides, and your audience.  Handouts can serve a very effective tool that can supplement your presentation and add to the total presentation experience for the audience. The benefits of providing handouts to supplement presentations include:

  • Allows the presenter to cut down on the information in the presentation.
  • Serves as an outline or guide, keeping the presenter on track.
  • Allows the audience to "take home" the key points of your presentation or research.
  • Provides the audience with further reading suggestions and your contact information.
  • Gives the audience a potential place to take notes.

The following YouTube video (Effective Presentations - Handouts) further discusses the benefits of using handouts and how they help enhance your presentation and ensure that the information stays with the audience.

Tips for Creating Effective Presentation Handouts

  • Take the time to create a quality handout that mirrors the quality of the presentation. The audience will take this home and it will be a reflection of the quality of your work.
  • Do not print out your PowerPoint slides! The slides are not a readable document.  They do not provide a sufficient summary of the work or provide other important information, such as your contact information.
  • It is best if the handout is contained to fit on one page.
  • The handout should stand alone and contain the main points of your presentation.  If someone pulls it out later, it should make sense to them and serve as a reminder.
  • The handout should have a professional, appealing look.  See the Visual Design Resource Link on this page for tips on how to create a visually effective handout.
  •  Feel free to include additional information not covered in the presentation. However, be careful not to overload t  the handout with too much detail. Some white space is good - and may be helpful for taking notes!
  •  Use graphics to increase visual appeal and to summarize or represent data or other information.
  •  Bulleted or numbered lists may be helpful in summarizing text and organizing content.
  •  May be useful to many to provide a listing of suggested or further readings for those that want to learn more.
  •  Include references used in your presentation.  This provides an additional list of sources for potentially gaining more information.
  •  Always provide your contact information.  This is especially important for those that may have further questions at a later date or those that may want to collaborate with you in the future.

Following is a sample of a potential presentation handout that follows the guidelines above:

sample handout.bmp

Taken from "Rethink Presentations" by Oliver Adria.


Suggested Readings

Day, R. A. (1998). How to write and publish scientific papers
Devlin A. (2006)  Research Methods.  Thompson Wadsworth.
Miracle, V. A., & King, K. C. (1994). Presenting research: Effective paper presentations and impressive poster presentations. Applied Nursing Research, 7(3), 147-151.

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