Handouts on a Flash Drive

At a recent local library conference, I gave a short talk on the “Three Rules to Better Presentations.” Rather than prepare paper handouts, I did something else: I loaded up flash drives with PDFs of those handouts:

Caption: An artfully arranged pile of prepared flash drives.

I didn’t know how many people would attend my particular session so I didn’t really know how many information kits (sets of handouts) I would need.  Even though I try to use recycled paper, the thought of printing out several hundred pages of handouts made my inner environmentalist cringe. 

I first thought I’d put everything up in one area on this site for people to get to and just give them the URL during the presentation.  This would work fine, and I’m sure I’ll do this for particular workshops or groups in the future.  But let’s face it, everyone loves to get a prize, and so I decided to put everything on flash drives instead so the audience could take something tangible (and unexpected) home with them.

It was a fairly straightforward process, though if you plan on doing a lot of them, be sure to plan ahead as preparing each flash drive individually can take some time. The copying itself didn’t take long (the folder was only about 8MB in size), but each time I put a new flash drive into the USB slot, my computer would take about 20 seconds to “install the device driver software.” It was a simple, assembly-line process once I got going, and it took about an hour to get them all done (35 total).

I put a simple “Start Here” HTML file which served as the “menu” for the flash drive and gave detail about each of the files in the folder:

Caption: The “Start Here” menu for the flash drive.

The flash drives themselves were 512MB capacity and came in nice (but plain) grey boxes, which I then customized with some simple labels and my printer.  In addition to being eco-friendly, the capacity of the flash drives makes them more likely to be reused later by the audience.

So the next time you give a presentation with lots of handouts, consider putting them all on a flash drive and giving them to audience members.  After all, everyone loves a prize they can take home with them!




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