There are two main types of supporting materials that you might use - handouts and/or an MS PowerPoint slide show. The advice below will help you ensure that you use these supporting materials appropriately.
Remember that if you are using supporting materials, make time in your preparations to think about any practical issues associated with this. If you are using handouts, how and when will you distribute these to your audience? If you are using MS PowerPoint, who will be setting up the equipment for this and how will you store your slide show?
You may decide that you want your audience to take away some part of your presentation. This might be:
- a specific part of your presentation that is of particular interest
- a full list of supporting references
Only use a handout if you know it will be valued by your audience. They will be able to take notes on your presentation if there is anything they want to refer back to later; handouts should only really be used for those bits of information that they would possibly need but could not get from taking notes.
If you do provide a handout, make sure to include your name, the title of your presentation, and your contact details. This will help your audience file it with the right part of their notes, but also will help make sure your name and contact information is known to anyone who may want to get in touch afterwards.
You may want to use MS PowerPoint to display illustrative material in support of your presentation. Do check first with the event organisers that this is acceptable and also whether they have any specific format or other requirements that you will need to follow.
If you are using MS PowerPoint, do not let it dominate your presentation - it should be used primarily for content that is better communicated through an illustration (a graphic or a chart) than through words. Keep the text in your slides to a minimum - maybe just to the key points for each section and perhaps relevant references.
You may find it useful to keep to a "rule of three" in your presentation - your slideshow should have three key messages for the audience to take away and each page should have three key sub-messages.
If there is not an event specific template, you may want to use one of the templates created by the University's Design Services team to help give your presentation a more professional look. These MS PowerPoint templates should be used for presentations only and not large format posters.