I am preparing for my PhD oral defense in engineering. It consists of two parts: first, a 40-minute long (public) presentation; then, Q&A with the jury.
Question: Is it advisable to give a handout with presentation slides to the jury?
In such a document, there would be 2-3 slides per page plus a large margin so that the jury could take notes, as well as the bibliography with references I cite in the slides. There are about 30 slides, which are very illustrative (i.e. without complex equations, but rather made of diagrams with little text).
The pros would be to make it easier for the jury to take notes, follow the slides (slides are projected above my head in the amphitheater) or go back if they missed a step. Moreover, most of the jury are not native speakers, and both the slides and the talk will be given in English.
The cons would be that they could be tempted to 'fast-forward' and/or get distracted instead of concentrating on my talk. (Even if I do acknowledge it's hard to be fully concentrated during 40 minutes straight.) They would also not benefit from the explanations (i.e. the step by step construction of diagrams using beamer's slides).
There are no fixed rules, neither by the University, nor by common practice in my sub-field. My supervisor has no opinion on the topic.