Ask Dana from the Speak for Success Ezine
by Dana Bristol-Smith


I will be delivering a presentation to a large audience soon. Should I give my audience the handout of my PowerPoint slides before or after my presentation? I notice that when I give the handouts before people seem to pay more attention to the handout than to me. What do you recommend?

Perplexed Presenter

Dear Perplexed,

Thank you so much for asking that question! Did you know that only about 10% of the population learns through hearing? They are called auditory learners. The rest of the population 90% or so, learns visually and kinesthetically. Which means they learn by seeing and/or doing.

Many presenters believe as you do, that if people are looking at their handouts, they are not paying attention to the speaker. However, that's not exactly true. For most people, by reading the handout and taking notes for themselves, they are processing and understanding the information you are providing. That's what we want!

Some presenters mistakenly believe that if an audience member is not making eye contact - they are not paying attention. I think more than anything it becomes a control issue for the presenter. Presenters want to control when the audience sees the information.

My recommendation is to let go of that idea and supply the audience with what they need to understand and retain the information. Your audience will thank you!

About the Author
Dana Bristol-Smith is the founder of Speak for Success, an organization that works with companies that want their people to communicate with confidence and credibility. You can email Dana