SpeakerNet News Compilations

Giving Your PowerPoint to Clients

Sally White

Page Sponsors
How to sponsor this page

Recently we have had several corporate clients ask for copies of our PPT presentation after the event, ostensibly for internal use. We provide detailed handouts, but there is some information in the presentation that is not on the actual printed handouts (though anyone could jot it down). Should we be concerned about this? How do other speakers handle this?

-- Rebecca Morgan

You could give them a locked version with the proprietary slides removed.

You could give them a PDF of the slides, so they can't change them or easily port them into an internal slide show.

Or you could just say "no" as I have done on some occasions.

-- Donald Cooper

I make slides available electronically when clients or individuals in the audience ask for them. I'm there to be as helpful as possible and if that works for folks, I'm happy to do it. If they're going to use those slides to have someone get up in front of a group of employees back at the office to share some of my thoughts, I have no problem with that. They couldn't afford to hire me to do that anyway.

-- Mark Henson

I got burned on this a few years ago. I gave my PPT presentation to a client only to find out that one unethical person used it internally several times, claiming it as his with no credit given.

Since then, if a client requests a copy of my PPT, I send them a PDF (with copyright info on every page). I don't mind sharing the info with people who need it, but I don't make it easy for the unethical people anymore. Nothing keeps them from re-creating the presentation, but at least they have to work at it a little bit. I find unethical people don't often like to work too hard.

-- Terry Mayfield

I edit my file somewhat before I email it. I save it, of course, so I can email it easily when I get the requests. I tell them that when I send it it won't have graphics (license agreements on purchased or free graphics sometimes limits emailing them) and they understand. And any other info that I feel is not necessary for them to have I eliminate. I have never had any questions or complaints about what I send.

-- Stephen Tweed

We have a policy of never giving our clients copies of our PPT slides. We do not use the three-slide version of handouts. Every program we do has a totally separate handout with the same content prepared in Word or PageMaker. It's a little more work, but it separates us from all of the other speakers at the conference who simply put copies of their slides in the handout book or packet.

When clients ask for our PPT files, we send them a PDF of the handout.

-- Dave Paradi

My slides are my livelihood. If I am willing to give them away, they have no value (since they are free) and then what I communicate using them goes down in value. I have adopted the approach that when someone asks me for my slides, I say that they are available for license for one year for $1 million. I don't say "no," but I demonstrate that my slides are worth a lot, and I don't treat them lightly.

-- Meggin McIntosh

I NEVER give a client my PPTs except as the handouts ... unless they want to pay BIG bucks. I spend too much time and money creating my PPT presentations, so I make it clear that they are not getting that as part of my workshop fee.

-- Michelle Joyce

We never allow anyone to have my boss, Jeffrey Gitomer's PPT presentation. That is his intellectual property and should be guarded. When I explain it this way, I never have a problem. It's also a great way to sell a book -- "His PPT presentation is not available, but we could offer you a quantity discount on his book."

I think too many speakers give away their material ... and in the speaking business, that's all you have.

-- Ian Percy

Your presentation materials are intellectual property and likely your primary asset. My advice is to never give it away because you just don't know what will happen to it. ESPECIALLY if you're already providing handouts (which I don't provide either), you don't need to give the client your stuff. Just confidently say that you don't provide actual presentation material but you do provide extensive handouts. If they protest, get suspicious -- it's probably the guy asking for it who will use it as his/her own material.

-- Kim McGaw

While I always want to please the client, I've learned to be careful with what information I give out. Our true clients are, in fact, the ones who attend our speaking events. About six years ago, I got the same request and printed out the details for a client. My document was photocopied and passed out to their trainers, who simply recreated my presentation for their trainers nationwide and cut me out of the deal. (My handouts, evidently, had a five-year run.)

If I were to do it over again, I'd let them know the rest of the information is proprietary and just for workshop attendees. However, you just happen to have a CD/MP3 of your lecture and that you take cash, checks, and credit cards. :)

-- Tom Terrific

While there might be an inclination to be afraid of giving away your entire PPT program, that's exactly what Tom Peters does. If they want to copy it, they could certainly take your handouts and just redo them.

There is no such thing as being 100% sure no one will steal your program. With today's recorders and digital world, anything can be copied and shared. I'd be flattered that anyone would want to see my program again.

Dishonest people will always be dishonest. You can't stop them.

Another factor to consider is that your program should only be at most 50% PPT. The rest should be stories and examples and audience participation.

I like to use create PPT programs that are more like TV. You rarely see PPT bullets on most TV shows -- it's 99% visual.

-- Maye Musk

Many times my handouts are my PPT slides, 3 or 6 slides to a page, so I have no problem with giving clients copies. Even if the handout is simpler, I email my presentation to the client so I don't need to carry a laptop. They could easily copy the presentation if they wanted to.

-- Larry Mersereau

I give them a watered-down version of my presentation. I have a number of slides that are proprietary (mine and mine alone), and I don't give those to anyone. I design a lot of ads and promo pieces to include in the presentations, often with stock photography that I paid for (and that they would not have the right to use). I leave those out. They get the basic shell, meaning: the same stuff that was in the handout anyway. But hey, they're happy -- they got a PPT file!

-- John Putzier

This has happened to me quite a bit. In fact, I have even had readers of my books ask for help in presenting my content to their companies, and I have provided them with my PPT slides for that as well.

My philosophy may be a little different from some in that I do not copyright anything, and give away my materials freely. If someone wants to "steal my shtick," let them. Shame on me if my style and content aren't fresh and different. The way I look at it, if someone wants my slides, that's a compliment, and it gets my message out there. Yes, some people will use it for less than honorable purposes or motivations, but for every one of them, I have to believe there are many others preaching the word on my behalf.

-- Wanda Loskot

It always annoyed me that people used (rather frequently) my presentation as a template for their own stuff. So no, if I need to share my PPT with someone, I give them the PDF version. They can still read every word and print it but it is not possible to copy my work in PPT.

-- Lorri Allen

Most requests for your PPT may be innocent enough, but to me, giving away your material electronically is giving away too much. I have video clips that only I have permission to use, as well as my own original copyrighted information. I handle it by saying to the meeting planner, "The handout is value-added, with much more content and more resources than my PPT." It seems to work.

-- Susan Fee

I too receive requests for my PPT presentation even though I have provided handouts. I always provide it. It's one more positive contact and I know that even if they reference my material, they can never duplicate my delivery. It's also another topic entry into following up with a client.

SpeakerNet News is produced by Rebecca Morgan and Ken Braly. It is not affiliated with the National Speakers Association. Send comments or suggestions