Handout: How to design it

A handout gives the recipient the opportunity to either follow what they said at the same time and add their own notes, or to get a rough idea of ​​what has been said. Typically it is used at school and at the university by pupils and students giving a presentation, but it is also used in meetings. How to write a handout yourself and what to look for …

Handout Definition: What is it?

The term handout comes from the English to to hand out, which means as much as handing out.

German equivalents for Anglicism are a guide, a table template, a leaflet or a thesis paper. Handouts help listeners to get an overview of upcoming topics. In addition to the school and the university, they can be found at lectures, meetings or conferences.

Although the head and footer of a handout are always the same, there are differences in content. These are due to the fact that the terms handout and thesis paper are used interchangeably, although it is not the same:

The thesis paper (also known as the Thesis Sheet) summarizes, as the name implies, in addition to the content classification, the most important theses. The are picked up maximally point-like.

The handout may be much more detailed. Here, the most important statements are reproduced in a nutshell on the individual topic sections.

Who needs the handout for the school or university, should ask in case of doubt his teacher or lecturer, how detailed the handout should be.

Meaning and purpose of the handout

A handout is intended to give the listener the opportunity to bring a largely foreign topic comprehensible closer. This succeeds above all with a corresponding structure. A handout is at the same time a support for the person giving a presentation, which gives him clarity about the most important points.

Therefore, the speaker should always keep the listener in mind, who is not in the subject: What has to be included in the handout to make the topic comprehensible? Which points were new to me, which contribute to understanding? Especially those who deal with a topic longer, tends to a certain operational blindness.

Certain technical terms have long been familiar to you, while outsiders only understand the station. To prevent this from happening, they should be avoided as much as possible. Where they are unavoidable and identify you as an expert at the university or at congresses, you should briefly explain at the beginning.

How to build up your guide

Some general tips in advance: A handout is just a support for the audience. You are not relieved of listening or collaborating, it is not about giving them a multi-faceted essay on your topic, let alone the complete elaboration.

In other words, your handout should not be more than one, maximum two Din A4 pages. The latter can be the case with lectures at the university, if 60 minutes have to be designed by yourself. In this case, do not forget to cling to the pages, otherwise you will get a piece of paper.

In addition to the actual topic at the end, you can list possible questions that came to your attention during the preparation that you either could not answer (due to the source / literature situation) or that you deliberately want to discuss in plenary.

head

As with a letter of application, the handout or thesis paper contains a header containing the most important information:

Where does it all take place?

If it takes place at the university: In which semester is the presentation held?

  • Who is the lecturer?
  • Who is the speaker?

The head as well as the foot should be kept in a smaller font size, for example 10-point, so that there is more space for the outline and the content. On the opposite side, the date of the presentation or presentation is noted.

Title of presentation / presentation

Slightly detached from the head appears – if possible in bold, underlined and / or in a larger font (for example 14-point) the topic of your presentation.

structure

This is followed by the outline, which uses subheadings to present the content. Later in the content, these subheadings should be lifted off the rest of the text by being greased or underlined. The font size for the outline and subsequent content should always be larger than the head, 12-point is suitable for it.

content

Now the topic is processed point by point. Each topic should be preceded by a brief introduction and / or definition. Assuming that their title is Panamanianism in the nineteenth century with a special focus on Russia, you will first have to explain to your listeners what panslavism means before you begin to understand where this spiritual current has its origins and successors, which states involved and the like more.

It is important not to lose sight of the goal and thus to miss the topic. You should have a rough outline of the outline of the handout before going on to work out the individual points. Often, topics are already limited in some form, that is, fixed to the epoch and / or region.

For clarity, do not use phrase sets, but work with phrases or bullet points that appear in bullets or bullets. Complete phrases would distract the listener’s attention and at the same time significantly reduce the space for notes.

In addition, the bullet points will help you in your free recitation because you now have to mentally formulate the sentences that you have already practiced at home, without just reading. This makes the presentation much more enjoyable for the audience. Be sure to keep the order in order to avoid irritation.

Source and literature references

The foot of the handout is the sources and references. Here is the exact requirements of the subject or the lecturer to follow, since the citation methods (American or German) are sometimes very different. Essential components are name and surname, title of the work and the date of publication. In some cases, the order of the names changes, in others, the publisher must also be listed. If quoted from magazines, page references are made. For Internet sources, the Internet address and the date on which you last visited the page are listed.

design

As noted, you should work with different font sizes, greases, and underlines to extract individual elements. However: less is more. Either grease a subheading, or underline it – but not both. Depending on the size of your topic, you can optionally set the right margin of the page slightly wider, leaving room for notes. Or you can leave a few lines below your last point. Expensive graphics, maps or spreadsheets should be used sparingly in handouts as they give away a lot of space. Better, you draw attention to such items on your PowerPoint presentation.