Be Creative with Your Flip Charts
In my forty years of experience of facilitating training programs and teaching at the university level, what separates good flip charts from the bad (and in some cases, the ugly!) is always the ability of the facilitator to use creative techniques to share information. It is also their willingness to go beyond simply writing words on the flip chart paper.
I don’t know about you, but when I take the time to create professional-looking flip charts to support a presentation or learning event, I somehow feel more fulfilled as a facilitator. Maybe it’s because I don’t consider myself artistic or creative, so when I have a finished product that I think looks good, I feel a sense of accomplishment. This is amplified when someone else comments on the quality of my flip charts.
Also, in creating a series of pages for a session, I get to practice drawing simple characters and using some of the techniques I have learned over the year,s and to experiment with new ones. This practice enhances my skills even more. These, of course, are just side benefits. The main reason for using flip charts is that they help me communicate better.
Be Creative with Your Flip Charts by The Creative Trainer
Research is done by the Wharton School of Business to determine the effectiveness of using visual aids when presenting found that using visuals in a presentation can cut meeting time by 24%. Here’s what they found:
- When visuals were used, audience members perceived presenters to be more effective. Some comments following presentations were “better prepared, “more concise,” “clearer,” “more interesting.”
- Following a visually supported presentation, 64% of participants were able to make a decision. Those in the non-visual group took longer to make a decision.
- Of those audience members in a visual presentation, 79% reached a consensus, compared to 58% in a group with no visual support.
- Of the participants in the visual presentation, 67% found the presenter convincing, compared to 50% in the group without visual support.
Notes + Flip Charts
If you have ever tried to take notes in a session as the facilitator rattles on, seemingly oblivious to the people in the room, you will understand the value of flip charts. Since participants can refer to a posted flip chart page without interrupting the facilitator to ask him or her to repeat a point, they are able to review material or catch up at their own speed. Additionally, the flip charts that the facilitator creates provide a vehicle for reinforcing what participants heard, or thought they heard.
Even though flip charts are not high-tech pieces of equipment, and have been around for decades, they are extremely flexible tools and can be surprisingly complex—and powerful, if used thoughtfully. As such, a degree of knowledge, ability, and creativity are required to use them effectively. What that means is that you must spend a bit of time reading books and articles about how to effectively create and use flip charts to get better at the skill. Once you have learned tricks for making your flip charts more colorful, visual, and professional-looking, spend some time practicing on pieces of copy paper. After perfecting the layout, language, and images you plan to use on your final flip charts, beginning transferring them to your flip chart paper. This method saves a lot of money that you will spend on expensive flip chart pads.