Preparing Your PowerPoint Presentation as a Leave-Behind

March 28, 2009

When presenters learn the importance of using PowerPoint only as a visual complement to their verbal presentation, they are often perplexed on what to leave behind for attendees to share with coworkers who were absent. Often visual slides don’t tell the whole story without the presenter’s narration.

Rick Altman, author of Why Most PowerPoint Presentations Suck, suggests preparing two presentations. But it’s not quite twice-as-much-work as it may sound.

“The one you leave behind is a printout from the Notes portion of PowerPoint,” Altman said, during a recent Presentation Camp workshop at the San Francisco office of “There’s no need to go into [MS] Word to create the document. You do it straight in PowerPoint.”

This is a very handy trick that many PowerPoint users don’t know.

In PowerPoint, click on the View menu, then click “Notes Master.” This will create two placeholders. The top one is a reduced visual of your PowerPoint slide. The bottom will be your notes, either describing the slide, or the narration of your speech that goes with that particular slide.

That’s what you print out as a leave behind.
Side note: I have yet to read Altman’s book, Why Most PowerPoint Presentations Suck: And how you can make them better (Harvest Books, 2007), but I like the title of Chapter 6: Does PowerPoint Make You Stupid?

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