The thing is, if the presenter has done a great job, you really don’t want the slides. No really, you don’t.

A long long time ago, Garr Reynolds taught me that if someone can look at your slideshow and tell all the things you are going to say, there’s no need for you, as the speaker. Slides should be a speaker’s visual support, not a replacement. The content and value of the talk should come from the presenter’s mouth, not the projector. The slides themselves will be pretty useless. Here’s a screenshot of a current slidedeck, in slidesorter mode:


Doesn’t provide much value, does it? That’s the idea! I need to be there, as the speaker and the value-giver, in order for the slides to make sense.

Moreover, I often have slideshows with 300+ slides in them. I go through them so quickly an audience member would never know how thick my deck is. But its another reason you really don’t want to print out my slides.

I hear you talking back to this blog post right now, saying something like “But I want a reminder of what you said to jog my memory when I get back to my office.” OF COURSE, DARLING! I’m not going to leave you hanging. Any speaker worth her salt will have a handout that accompanies the talk. It is a short, condensed version of all the key points, URLs, and references that were mentioned. It may even have tiny visuals that match the slideshow to visually cue your memory. The handout is a more useful support for your efforts to put in place the things you learned in the talk. Here’s a current handout that belongs with the slidedeck above:


One of these will be handy and the other will be cumbersome. You really, really don’t want all those slides. So next time you see a great talk, don’t ask the speaker if the slides are available. Ask for the handout!

PS. The images in the screenshot are all from blog posts (note the blog address on the handout), where you can read the explanations and where it’ll make more sense.
Easy Dot Plots in Excel
Declutter Dataviz with Small Multiples
Directly Labelling in Excel
How to Keep Parents in the Dark

I’ll have handouts at these upcoming workshops, I promise. If you don’t see a workshop near you, let’s talk about setting one up!