Should I send out the webinar slide deck?

Hi Roger,

I attended your webinar hosted by Citrix Online this week and I thought it was excellent. So thanks for sharing your advice, and let’s hope people apply much of it to their slide decks in general, and not only to webinars!
In hindsight, I wish I’d asked your opinion on sending out the slide deck from a webinar to the audience. Would you recommend doing this, and do you have any guidelines on whether to do it before or after the live session?

Craig H., Instructional Designer, Large Global Financial Services Firm


Craig, thanks for reaching out, and thanks for the nice comments.  Much appreciated!

I do have a strong opinion about handing out slides…  First, read this:

I’ll add one caveat for you since you’re in instructional design…   I do think that in a classroom setting you might find times to use slides as handouts, and I always hate saying “it depends,” but, well, you get the idea.  It depends.

I think the place it might make sense is when the slides double as worksheets or note taking accompaniments – with some planning.

I’ve seen this done well when the slides themselves didn’t contain the all the content and learners were forced to take notes (or they’d miss capturing key points)…I think it was a good reinforcement for paying attention and engaging multi-modally.  The thing that I liked (exclamation point here) was that the slides themselves didn’t contain every last detail of information.  The slides were still trainer support, not the training themselves.

Another potential benefit (though I don’t know if this was the motivation of the case I’m thinking of) is that a learner taking handwritten notes means that potentially sensitive information doesn’t so easily fall into competitive hands.

A point I make in the previous blog post that I’ll reiterate here…

Presenting is a multi-modal medium (aural and visual), and I know some who argue that even in synchronous remote training taking notes is a kinesthetic exercise.  Reading is a different communication form. The risk with slides as post-session handouts is that for the slides to be effectively read, presentation-preparers are tempted to put all information that should be learned on the slide…which leads to the short proposition I said during the webinar and at the end of the blog post…

Great slides make lousy handouts, and great handouts make lousy slides.

1 Comment

  1. The Virtual Presenter » Blog Archive » Cut through the noise – link to slideshare

    […] If you’re curious why I never distribute them and/or rarely make them otherwise available, you can find those comments here. […]

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