Staples | Creating Handouts that Make a Lasting Impression

Creating Handouts that Make a Lasting Impression

For so many business situations — important sales presentations, public speaking events, and more — you need compelling, professional sales, marketing, and training materials.

According to Dave Arch, author of Red Hot Handouts, the quality of your handouts can make a lasting — and deciding — impression on your audience. "The look of a handout affects a participant at a sub–conscious level. The weight of the paper, the design of the handout all says something about your company. When [you're] gone, this handout is what will help guide them to making a decision about the value of your presentation content."

When pulling together your printed presentations, consider the following tips.


Present your information with a combination of text, charts, and graphics. Carefully plan and place the graphics that you use; Arch stresses the importance of relevant visuals. "Because the human mind thinks in pictures, graphics are essential to creating a memorable message. They are eye magnets in that they draw the eye to the handout. A good diagram saves much time during the presentation."

Intimidated by the thought of adding charts and graphics? Try Microsoft PowerPoint®. This popular software program offers easy–to–use tools that simplify the creation of professional presentations. Click here for Microsoft PowerPoint ®.


Experts recommend adding some color to your handouts, as research shows people are 80% more likely to remember information when it's in color. However, use color selectively and sparingly. Arch says one or two colors are ample. More than a couple of colors may clutter the printed materials and confuse the readers as to which messages are the most important.


Leave space on each page of your presentation for the recipient to make notes. Having personal notes on your handout makes the presentation more valuable to the reader.

Pick professional paper

Print your handouts on laser or business–quality paper instead of multipurpose or copy paper. Printing your handouts on quality paper says you value the information in the presentation and so should the recipients.

Laser paper is designed to hold toner better than copy or multipurpose paper. It helps ensure splotch–free, fade–resistant presentations with crisp text, vibrant images, and straight lines. Plus, laser paper provides optimum, jam–free results.

Business stationery tends to have a crisp, clean edge to it and is stronger than copy paper so it will withstand more wear and tear. Click here for business stationery.

Assemble your materials into folders

Make it easy for recipients to keep your information together and organized. Place it all neatly and logically into a presentation folder.

Twin–pocket folders — Best for papers that need to be easily removed and viewed. Pockets typically have cutouts for your business cards. Click here for twin–pocket folders.

Fastener folders without pockets — These folders have fasteners that bind your presentations and help prevent papers from slipping out. Plus, they have space for a business card. Click here for fastener folders without pockets.

Fastener folders with pockets — The best of both worlds. Put a few sheets in the pockets for easy removal and viewing. Bind the rest with the fasteners. Then, brand the presentation with your business card, placed in the special cutout area. Click here for fastener folders with pockets.

Clear–front report covers — Best for presentations that need to be easily identified and retrieved. Clear–front covers allow the recipient to see the front page. Most also have fasteners that secure your pages. Click here for clear–front report covers.

Presentation folders — These covers tend to be of a higher quality and more durable. Some offer plastic sheet protectors for individual pages of the handout. Most provide fasteners. Click here for presentation folders.

Binders — If your presentation contains more than 20 pages, you may want to consider a binder. Click here for binders.

Have enough copies available

Always have a few extra handouts with you, in case an unexpected person would like a copy. Getting information about your company, products, and services in front of as many eyes as possible is always a good idea.

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