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I will be giving a presentation shortly to some of the higher ups about what I did this summer as an intern. In some student presentations I've seen at University and at conferences, the presenter will print off the slides to distribute among the audience in case they would like to follow along. Additionally, this happens for some of my classes where the professors will print it off for students to take notes on.

When is it acceptable and recommended to print off your slideshow in an industry setting?

Obviously an everyday meeting is generally not a situation for this, but for situations like a 3-month progress presentation to those who don't know you seems like it would be helpful for them to have. I would like to know what are the industry conventions for this type of thing.

  • Isn't the slideshow visible on a screen somewhere? – Erik Aug 8 '18 at 5:13
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My rule of thumb is to print the copies if you are verbally delivering much more than it is visible on slides. Then notes are often helpful, and having nice slide structure printed out keeps audience focused on slide while looking down on the paper.

Also I would always try to send the presentation to participants, or make it available in internal network to download.

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I don’t think there is a industry standard for this but rather more of a workplace culture. From personal experience, I usually print copies when the presentation is under 10 slides and I feel like the audience needs a more engaged presentation. Again, this is mostly up to your descretion. Printing out 50 pages of slides would probably be painful for everyone

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What I would like to know is when is it acceptable and recommended to print off your slideshow in an industry setting?

I would like to know what are the industry conventions for this type of thing.

As you have mentioned, when the audience would need to take notes, it's often helpful to have printouts.

Also, when the audience would want to review and study your presentation later, it usually works well to have printouts.

If this is a "what I did this summer" presentation, and not something that would provide value to readers at a later date, then handouts wouldn't be necessary.

Still, having handouts wouldn't likely hurt - unless you were using a huge amount of paper. If you do, include your contact information on the cover of the printout so that interested parties can get hold of you if needed.

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Print your notes, not your slides.

The general guidelines for a well-made presentation include

  • Big margins all around the presentation
  • Big font sizes so even the people sitting in the back can read the text
  • Don't read from your own slides. Tell your audience the important parts and only visualize or illustrate the highlights for better understanding. A good presentation will be meaningless without your notes. (TED agrees)

Printing out slides takes up much more space than nessecary and should be avoided. The better solution is to create a simple document where you describe your presentation. You can even use that document for your own preparation and presentation as a note. That way you can compress a 10 slides presentation into 2 pages printouts.

Print only on one side of the sheet so people can take notes on the back side.

IMHO printing out the slides is the lazy approach and a waste of paper. In a professional setting, I always feel like the presenter didn't care much for the presentation if he printed out his slides...

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