Many speakers want to leave their audience with notes and insights to help them retain the information presented. The speaker’s assistant can oversee the production process so that the speaker can focus on the content of the speech. There are three types of handouts that speakers generally use: PowerPoint handouts, handouts for concurrent sessions, and the leave behind.
Many speakers want the audience to have copies of the slides that they use for their PowerPoint presentations. You can easily create handouts with three slides per page and with lines to the right for the audience to take notes. As the VSA, it is probably a good idea for you to create a standard template you use for your speaker unless the meeting planner wants something different. If you are asked to do this, then you will want to be sure you get the speaker to approve anything before you send it.
It is very important to put the copyright at the bottom of each handout page, “Susan Williams 2012, All Rights Reserved” You will probably also want the company name, phone and web site so someone who may not have heard the presentation could find you later. Handouts are usually printed front to back on both sides of a page, and we hope that the meeting planner will do the copying or absorb the cost. To add the copyright and contact info, click “page setup” on the print screen, and then click on “Header/Footer” on the following screen. Check “Footer” and add the copyright etc. Click “Apply to All” to save.
If necessary, have a local Kinko’s make the copies and deliver them and hopefully the speaker will get reimbursed as part of the contract. But you want to make sure the copies get there and are ready when the speaker needs them.
Many organizations are now asking for any kind of handouts at least a month in advance, because the host organization might want to put all speakers’ materials on a CD or a DVD and give the attendees all of the handouts at once. Handouts increase the retention of the information given and are perceived as something that increases the value of the event.
Since there are now virtual attendees at so many events, meeting planners will generally also want to post the handouts somewhere online.
Handouts For Concurrent Sessions
This type of handout is intended to create a facilitated discussion, so the speaker may want this set up as separate pieces of paper with exercises or processes on them. Some speakers still like to have handouts with intentionally blank spaces so the audience is forced to follow along and fill out that word or phrase, but this type of handout is getting more and more unusual.
The Leave Behind
Keynote speakers will sometimes want to leave each member of the audience with something like a laminated bookmark with the key points on it or something wallet sized that people can take away. They want to leave behind something that attendees can take away and refer back to that has their contact information in it. This can be very effective from a promotional standpoint.
The first step to creating the Leave Behind is to talk to the speaker and determine what the speaker wants and what the meeting planner needs. Since these things may have to be done way in advance, it becomes the job of the VSA to keep the speaker on track. This is especially hard for some speakers who don’t prepare that far in advance. But to get promotional items prepared it will be important for the speaker to help with the preparation in advance.