Last year I was fortunate to participate in several presentations, both as a speaker and as a listener. I came away with many examples of good and not-so-good presentation notes.
Here are my top 3 mistakes to avoid in your presentation notes:
1. Don't give away all of the answers. Keep some mystery alive, so that someone can't glean the entire message and value of your presentation just from the notes.
Lynda Robertson of the Sandler Sales Institute handled this brilliantly by using a quiz as her handout. As her presentation progressed, we answered the questions together and she expanded on each answer with many more details.
I've seen other presenters and tele-class leaders do this by providing point-form outlines only, with blank pages for attendees to write in their own notes.
2. Don't confuse your audience. Finalize your presentation early enough so that whatever you've submitted to the conference organizers matches the presentation you're actually delivering. I sat in on a presentation where this wasn't the case and it really distracted me!
Also, don't make your audience work too hard by giving them too much to read. Leave enough white space on the page so they can digest the information and fill in the details that they find most relevant.
3. Don't leave your audience empty-handed. Even if you weren't able to get presentation notes ready ahead of time, offer to email notes to anyone who's interested, or set up a special download page on your website. You can combine this with a special offer for attendees.
Don't forget to bundle this with a subscription to your email newsletter AS LONG AS you are upfront about it, and that you offer a no-hassle way to unsubscribe at any time.
Like any other piece of writing, presentation notes deserve your time and attention, because they'll be representing you long after your presentation is over.
Writing Prompt: Take a fresh look at your presentation notes and make sure you're not making any of these mistakes.