Turn Your Report Handout Upside Down

I need to create a handout to pair with my recent research report, but I am struggling with what to include. Everything seems important! Do you have any recommendations for what to include and how to organize my content?

First off, I am excited to hear you are planning to create a handout to pair with your report! They can be an effective tool for getting your audience engaged in your report content (especially if you make them visually interesting).

Start by considering your audience. What content might be most interesting to them? Make sure to keep them in mind throughout the process of creating your handout.

Once you’ve got your content narrowed down, the biggest issue I see with handouts is the order that the information is presented. There is a tendency to lead with the methodology. Although the methodology is very important, the reader is probably most interested in the key things you learned.

Here’s how I recommend structuring your report handout:

  1. Start by leading with your main message in the title.
  2. Use the majority of your handout to provide evidence of that message (3-5 key findings). This is a great place to add in supporting visuals.
  3. Include a “Call to Action”. What should your reader do with this new knowledge?
  4. Finally, always end with a place for the reader to learn more!
Source: Structuring Your Report Handout, Elissa Schloesser at My Visual Voice
Source: Structuring Your Report Handout, Elissa Schloesser at My Visual Voice

 


**For Your Toolbelt** For more questions to consider when creating a handout, check out the tip sheet I created for the 2016 American Evaluation Association Annual Conference.