Flip Chart Usage Basic Tip – Face Your Audience

Flip Chart Usage Basics Tip – Face Your Audience

Flip Chart Usage Basic Tip – Face Your Audience

There are many advanced creative ways to use flipcharts when working with adult learners. Even so, you should never forget one time-tested flip chart usage basic tip – face your audience.

Many trainers make the mistake of writing on a flipchart and talking at the same time. If you do that, your back will be to your learners and people will have difficulty hearing what you say. Instead, write, put your marker down (so you’re not tempted to play with it), face you learners, then speak.

For more suggestions on how to effectively use a flip chart in training, educational and team meeting settings check out The Big Book of Flip Charts: A Comprehensive Guide for Presenters, Trainers and team Facilitators.

YOUR THOUGHTS? – Please share any tips for effectively using flip charts in adult learning environments?

Learn All About Robert W. ‘Bob’ Lucas Now and Understand Why He is an Authority in the Creative Training Skills Industry

Robert W. ‘Bob’ Lucas has been a trainer, presenter, customer service expert, and adult educator for over four decades. He has written hundreds of articles on training, writing, self-publishing, and workplace learning skills and issues. He is also an award-winning author.  Robert W. Lucas has written thirty-seven books. The book topics included: writing, relationships, customer service, brain-based learning,  and creative training strategies, interpersonal communication, diversity, and supervisory skills. Additionally, he has contributed articles, chapters, and activities to eighteen compilation books. Mr. Lucas is retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1991 after twenty-two years of active and reserve service.

How to Make Flip Charts More Effective

How to Make Flip Charts More Effective

Flip charts are a great tool for anyone who needs to capture information and ideas on the spot. In this article, you will read how to make flip charts more effective so that you can maximize the visual impact for your learners or attendees.

If you are like me, you love to use flip charts in training and educational settings and in meetings. They are definitely low-tech but are so versatile and useful that I recommend every manager have one in his or her office to capture key ideas during meetings during mind-mapping or brainstorming and to make concepts visual and more memorable. The same applies to any learning event. You can add color, flip chart art or graphics, and virtually all sorts of effective enhancements to your charts to make them “speak” to learners.

The following are a few things I have learned about preparing effective flip charts throughout my four decades of experience as a trainer and facilitator.

Each Word Should Be Legible From the Back of the Room

How to Make Flip Charts Effective

To ensure that those at the far reaches of your room can read your text, be conscious of where you position your flip chart easel or flip chart stand and — keep the layout simple and avoid “data dump.” Too much information makes reading difficult or impossible and can frustrate or anger participants who cannot read or follow what you have written.

Remember that your goal in using a flip chart is to highlight keywords and concepts, not show your entire presentation outline on paper. Focus on enhancing the clarity of your message and reinforcing your presentation.

I can recall one business presentation that I attended recently where I am convinced the speaker did everything she could to make the information unreadable. There were no title lines used; numbers were haphazardly spread around the page; she added more in the small margins as she spoke; and, she selected only a red marker even though she had an entire box of assorted colors to choose from.

I had to keep telling myself, “Bob, don’t be so critical just because you know the ‘rules’ of flip charting.” However, after the meeting, I asked someone else what they thought of the marathon meeting we’d just attended. Her reaction was, “I have a headache from looking at all those numbers and trying to follow her meaning.”

No more than 6-8 lines per page

One of the more common mistakes I see presenters and facilitators make with flip charts is to jam too much information on a page. This cluttered look is typically ineffective and frustrating for the reader. As with overhead transparencies, I recommend limiting the number of lines per flip chart page. A good rule of thumb is six to eight words per line; using two to three-inch (appx 5-7.5 cm) lettering size, and having a maximum of six to eight lines of text per page (including your title line using approximately four-inch [appx 10cm] letters).

There are actually three good reasons for limiting the amount of information you put on each line and page:

1.  Aesthetically it looks better since you eliminate unnecessary detail and clutter.

2. It aids the reader’s flow across the page since they do not have to read as many words and can now focus their attention on what you are saying.

3. Most importantly, research shows that the human brain can effectively retain seven units or chunks of information (plus or minus two).

Like any rule, there are going to be exceptions. For example if you are writing a long list of items or capturing ideas during participant brainstorming or mind mapping, and it is obvious that you will run on to a subsequent page. In such instances, you might go to the bottom of the page, tear it off, and have someone tape it high enough on the wall where you can add a continuation when finished. You can then continue on the next page. Once finished, you can tape the second page at the bottom of the first providing a continuing list.

Limit information

Putting just one idea or concept on a page helps participants follow your presentation. When you complicate the page with too many or unrelated details efficiency is often lost. This is especially true when showing columns of numbers. Limit yourself to about 25-35 individual numbers on the page. If you have a lot of information, I suggest that you consider summarizing your flipchart, then give a handout with the details. Simpler is better, with flip charts.

How to Make Flip Charts Effective

Fixing Your Mistakes

You do not have to throw away a page or obliterate a word with a marker when you make a spelling or grammatical error on a pre-drawn page. You have a variety of options for correcting errors or misspelled words.

One technique is to quickly cut a piece of blank flipchart paper large enough to cover the error, put tape on the back of it, then attach over the mistake. You’re now ready to continue drawing, and the correction probably will not be noticeable to most people in the room.

If you are preparing a fancy flip chart for a presentation and make a mistake, place a blank sheet of flip chart paper over the mistake you’ve made. Using an artist’s Exacto knife or single-edged razor blade and cut out the misspelled word through the blank page. You now have a blank section exactly the same size as the section where the misspelled word was earlier. Place the blank piece into the opening on your original sheet, tape it from the rear with scotch tape, and even the people in the front row will have trouble seeing the correction.

How to Make Flip Charts More EffectiveThere are many other ways to enhance your flip charts, but these should get you started. For more information about creating, using, storing, and transporting flip charts, consider purchasing a copy of The Big Book of Flip Charts.

 

Using Music and Sound for Learning

Using Music and Sound for Learning

Using music and sound for learning is an easy way to contribute to a more stimulating, brain-based learning environment. Make some noise, introduce sound, and wake up your learner’s brains. You cannot share information and ideas effectively if your session participants are distracted or not focused on you or the task at hand.

To ensure that participants in training programs, classrooms, and other meeting situations are ready to gain, retain, recall and use what will be experienced, take some time to plan how you will gain, regain and hold their attention.

Using Music and Sound for Learning by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Adult Learning & Training Author

The following are some simple techniques that tie to research on brain-based learning regarding brain stimulation and how the brain and attention works. By applying strategies such as these, you will be able to potentially get participants to stop side conversations, reading materials, daydreaming, and other distracting behaviors and focus their attention on the front of the room. Once they do that, you can share instructions or information related to the topic or task at hand.

Use your voice.

Some people are gifted with a loud, commanding voice that carries throughout any room and can be used to gain the attention of distracted learners. Others have less forceful volume and tone and must depend on alternative methods to refocus participants.  A simple “Let’s get started” or “If I can have your attention” might work for some people but there are other more creative ways to accomplish this desired outcome.

using music and sound for learning
Game Show Themes for Trainers

Use music. 

There has been quite a bit of research and numerous books on how music impacts the brain (e.g. This is Your Brain on Music) and the topic of using music in learning environments (e.g. Top Tunes for Teachers and Training with a Beat). There are even music selections designed for training (e.g. Game Show Themes for Trainers) and learning environments. Such resources tap into the fact that music can evoke emotion, set the tone for a learning environment, and connect with a training topic. The key is to select music that has a relationship to your learning objectives and that helps stimulate the brains of your attendees.

Some of the ways that you might employ music would be to have upbeat music playing as people enter the room. When ready to start your session or you want to end a break and regroup participants, simply turn it off. The silence sends an unspoken message that something just changed and participants instinctively turn their attention toward the front for the room.

You can also use music in the background as learners work in small groups and participate in visioning activities. In such instances, use music without lyrics and that matches the intended pace of the activity. Research indicates that selecting a music beat that closely matches the desired energy level of the activity is best. For example, if you want to have people on their feet and excited, use some upbeat theme song. If your goal is serenity and reflection, you might use a baroque selection.

Using music and sound for learning

Use Noisemakers.

Inexpensive noisemakers are an excellent and creative means of gaining or regaining participant attention. Simply by blowing a whistle, using a musical slide flute, ringing a school or classroom bell, striking a gong, squeezing a squawking chicken, or using some similar device, you add a bit of sound, fun, and novelty to your sessions.

Like anything you do in a learning environment, using music and sound in novel ways during your sessions or meetings is a clever means of gaining and regaining learner attention. The key is to avoid doing anything that is distracting or does not relate to your stated learning objectives.

Learn This Blogger – Robert W. Lucas

Robert W. Lucas is an internationally-known author and learning and performance expert. He specializes in workplace performance-based training and consulting services. Furthermore, he has four decades of experience in human resources development, management, and customer service in a variety of organizational environments. Robert Lucas was the 1995 and 2011 President of the Central Florida Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD).

Robert W. Lucas has lived, traveled, and worked in 28 different countries and geographic areas. During the past 40 years, Bob has shared his knowledge with workplace professionals from hundreds of organizations, such as Webster University, AAA, Orange County Clerk of Courts, Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, Martin Marietta, all U.S. military branches, and Wachovia Bank. In addition, Bob has provided consulting and training services to numerous major organizations on a variety of workplace learning topics. To contact Bob visit his website at www.robertwlucas.com or his blog www.thecreativetrainer.com.

Flip Chart 101 – 4 Tips for Writing on Flip Chart Pages

Flip Chart 101 – 4 Tips for Writing on Flip Chart Pages

The rule of thumb that you should always keep in mind when writing information on your flip chart pages it “keep it simple.”  Adding too much data, information, and images only clutter the page and reduces viewer comprehension.

Tips for Writing on Flip Chart Pages by The Creative Trainer

Here are 4 tips for writing effectively on flip chart pages:

Flip Chart 101 - 4 Tips for Writing on Flip Chart Pages

1) Put only one idea or concept on a page.  Adding too many ideas on a page can detract from your message and confuse participants.

Flip Chart 101 - 4 Tips for Writing on Flip Chart Pages

2) When lettering, use block letters rather that cursive or custom elaborate and/or intricate style lettering. Lettering that resembles Helvetica or Sans Serif-type fonts found in word processing software work well.  These styles are straighter and aid readability and comprehension.

Flip Chart 101 - 4 Tips for Writing on Flip Chart Pages

3) Always leave two- to three-inch margins on each side of the paper to avoid crowding information.

Flip Chart 101 - 4 Tips for Writing on Flip Chart Pages

4) Avoid using the bottom one-third of the page if you are on the same height level as participants. Otherwise, they may either be forced to stand or strain to look around people in front of them or may not be able to see the flip chart at all.

For additional ideas on how to effectively design, develop, use, transport and store flip charts, get a copy of The Big Book of Flip Charts: A Comprehensive Guide for Presenters, Trainers, and Team Facilitators.

Learn This Blogger – Robert W. Lucas

Robert W. Lucas is an internationally-known author and learning and performance expert. He specializes in workplace performance-based training and consulting services. Furthermore, he has four decades of experience in human resources development, management, and customer service in a variety of organizational environments. Robert Lucas was the President of the Central Florida Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD).

Flip Chart Use – 3 Creative Ways To Attach Flip Chart Pages to Your Walls

Flip Chart Use – 3 Creative Ways To Attach Flip Chart Pages to Your Walls

In an era where technology dominates many learning environments, flip charts can still be a powerful communication tool for sharing and gathering information.  The key to maximizing their benefit is to develop the sound design and delivery strategies and practice using the flip charts.

Here are 3 creative ways to attach flip charts pages to walls that can help make sharing information with flip charts more effective.

1) Mount a long strip of double-sided tape approximately seven feet from the floor along the wall. You can then add or remove pages to the wall as needed.

Flip Chart Use - 3 Creative Ways to Attach Flip Chart Pages to Your Walls

2) An easy way to attach paper around the perimeter of any room is to install a thin wooden strip with corkboard (similar to that found on bulletin boards) at a height of approximately seven feet. You can then use bulletin board stick pins or thumbtacks to attach your pages. These strips are usually available in office, art, and school supply stores where presentation materials are sold.

3) To protect flip chart pages that you have designed and plan to use in subsequent sessions, take them to an office supply store (e.g. Staples, Office Depot or Office Max) and have their print shop folks laminate the pages.

Once laminated, purchase a roll of Velcro and cut the “male” portion of the product (the part that has dozens of small barb devices that adhere to rough cloth surfaces) into small strips. Glue strips of the Velcro horizontally in the corners and in the top center on the back of the laminated page.

Attach your laminated sheets to the cloth walls of conference rooms, classrooms, or office cubicles. You can also drape a large piece of rough cloth (e.g. flannel) over a flip chart easel and attach the sheets there.

Flip Chart Use – 3 Creative Ways To Attach Flip Chart Pages to Your Walls by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Author

For additional creative ideas for designing, developing, and using flip charts, get a copy of The Big Book of Flip Charts: A Comprehensive Guide for Presenters, Trainers, and team Facilitators.

Creative Strategy for Evenly Tearing A Flip Chart Page

Creative Strategy for Evenly Tearing A Flip Chart Page 

If you’ve ever struggled to tear a sheet of flip chart paper from a pad on an easel, you know it’s no easy task. It’s the result of poor product design. Some manufacturers don’t perforate the tops of the sheets for easy removal, so it’s almost impossible to get the page to begin separating from the binding glue or to pull away evenly and in a straight tear line.

Creative Strategy for Evenly Tearing Flip Chart PagesHere’s an easy way to tear your flip chart pages from the pad…

If your flip chart pad isn’t perforated, use a craft knife or single-edged razor blade (available at Amazon, art and craft supply stores) to cut 1-inch-long slits about an inch apart across the top of each page.

If you lay the pad on a solid surface and press firmly, you can perforate several pages at a time. Depending on whether you’re left- or right-handed, be sure the first slit overlaps the edge where you’ll start to tear.

For thousands of other creative ideas for making, using, transporting, and storing your flip charts, get a copy of The Big Book of Flip Charts: A Comprehensive Guide for Presenters, Trainers, and Team Facilitators.

Creative Strategy for Evenly Tearing A Flip Chart Page by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas

About This Blogger – Robert W. Lucas

Robert W. Lucas is an internationally-known author and learning and performance expert. He specializes in workplace performance-based training and consulting services. Furthermore, he has four decades of experience in human resources development, management, and customer service in a variety of organizational environments. Further, Robert Lucas was the 1995 and 2011 President of the Central Florida Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD).

Robert W. Lucas has lived, traveled, and worked in 28 different countries and geographic areas. During the past 40 years, Bob has shared his knowledge with workplace professionals from hundreds of organizations, such as Webster University, AAA, Orange County Clerk of Courts, Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, Martin Marietta, all U.S. military branches, and Wachovia Bank. In addition, Bob has provided consulting and training services to numerous major organizations on a variety of workplace learning topics. To contact Bob visit his website at www.robertwlucas.com or his blog www.thecreativetrainer.com.

Basic Flip Chart Tips – Setup and Usage

Basic Flip Chart Tips - Setup and Usage

Basic Flip Chart Tips – Setup and Usage

Flipcharts are inexpensive, yet effective training aids for small groups of up to twenty-five participants (depending on the training room configuration). They provide an easy way to capture key thoughts or to highlight information in small group settings.

Basic Flip Chart Tips – Setup and Usage by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Adult Learning & Training Author

Some basic tips for using flipcharts are:

  •  Make sure the flip chart easel is locked into position and balanced.
  • Place the easel so that ceiling lighting shines onto the front of the page and does not come from behind where it can cast a shadow and make viewing difficult.
  • Don’t write on the flipchart and talk at the same time. Write first; then face learners and talk.
  • Stand to the right side of the easel as you face your audience if you’re right-handed; stand to the left side, if left-handed. This allows you to face your participants and easily turn to capture key discussion points on paper with your writing hand while turning pages with your free hand.
  • Don’t block your participants’ views when pointing to pre-printed information on the flipchart.
  • When not writing, PUT THE MARKER DOWN!!! Playing with it or using it as a flip chart pointer can be distracting and communicate nervousness.
  • Leave a sheet of blank flip chart paper between each sheet of text to prevent participants from “previewing” the next page as you discuss the current one. It also prevents damage to the next printed page should your marker “bleed” through.

The key to the effective flip charting of ideas is to ensure that your flip chart is the position for greatest participant visibility, that you position yourself to maximize its use, and that you choose the right marker and take steps to prevent ink “bleed through.”

If you liked what you just read and need additional ideas for making, storing, carrying, and effectively using this handy training aid, consider buying The Big Book of Flip Charts. For a printable copy of these tips and others on effective flip charting, click here.

 

What Are Flipcharts (Flip Charts)?

What Are Flipcharts (Flip Charts)?

Flipcharts (or flip charts) are inexpensive, portable, and user-friendly. They also come in handy for capturing group comments, brainstorming, and making messages visual during presentations or training and educational sessions. These classic tools of the classroom have not lost their value for displaying information and capturing or exchanging ideas.

When designing flipcharts for use in a classroom or meeting, consider adding creative graphic images and using various colored markers or creative colorful borders to enhance the visual impact of your flip charts. As an alternative to this approach, you can purchase rolls of colorful and graphic masking tape to add pizzazz to the edges of each page. These types of creative training techniques help create brain-based learning environments that help stimulate brain neurons and can potentially help aid learning and retention.

Flipcharts or Flip Charts - What Are They?Definition: A flipchart (or flip chart) is a series of paper sheets that are bonded together at the top.

Format: They can be plain sheets of paper, lined like a sheet of writing paper, or have grids on them. Often the pads have two punched holes along the top edge of the pad to allow hanging on various types of flip chart easels. They also come in a smaller tabletop format with a cardboard backing that allows them to stand on tables for small group presentations or group activities.

Color: The most common type is flip chart paper is white; However, you can also obtain pads of paper in yellow and blue.

Size: The most common size is 27″ X 35,” but pads are available in other sizes.

Variations: Some brands have adhesive strips along the back of each page (like a sticky note pad) to allow hanging on walls without the use of tape or pins. There is a downside to this variety because rolling and reusing and storing prepared sheets with this type of paper is challenging because of the sticky edge on the back of each sheet.

For more information on flip charts, easels, markers, and how to make, use, transport, and store flip charts, get a copy of The Big Book of Flip Charts: A Comprehensive Guide for Presenters, Trainers, and Team Facilitators.

Flip Chart 101 – Using the Revelation Technique with Flip Charts

Flip Chart 101 – Using the Revelation Technique with Flip Charts

Rather than displaying prepared flipcharts before you are ready to discuss them, try using the “revelation” technique. As when showing one line of PowerPoint text at a time, you can use a similar technique with flip charts.

Flip Chart 101 - Using the Revelation Technique with Flip Charts

Using the Revelation Technique with Flip Charts

To use the revelation technique, form a small circle of masking tape and attach it to the bottom corners of the page you are displaying — so that the sticky part faces out away from the wall or easel.  Next, bring the taped area up and attach it just below the title line of your page so that the rest of the text remains covered. Thus, you are using the bottom portion of the page as its own cover.

As you are ready to discuss a point, move the taped edge down to display the next line.

For additional ideas on how to effectively design, develop, use, transport, and store flip charts, get a copy of The Big Book of Flip Charts: A Comprehensive Guide for Presenters, Trainers, and Team Facilitators.

Meet Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Brain-Based Adult Training Author

Learn All About Robert W. ‘Bob’ Lucas Now and Understand Why He is an Authority in the Creative Training Skills Industry!

Robert W. ‘Bob’ Lucas has been a trainer, presenter, customer service expert, and adult educator for over four decades. He has written hundreds of articles on training, writing, self-publishing, and workplace learning skills and issues. He is also an award-winning author. Robert W. Lucas has written thirty-seven books. The book topics included: writing, relationships, customer service, brain-based learning,  and creative training strategies, interpersonal communication, diversity, and supervisory skills. Additionally, he has contributed articles, chapters, and activities to eighteen compilation books. Mr. Lucas is retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1991 after twenty-two years of active and reserve service.

Training Activities – In-Class Needs Assessments

Training Activities – In-Class Needs Assessments

One of the components of the Instructional Systems Design (ISD) or ADDIE Model of training design is to conduct a needs assessment to help determine whether training is needed and to identify the needs of your learners.Training Activities - In-Class Needs Assessments

Unfortunately, lack of time, money, and other organizational constraints often limit the ability of a trainer to collect appropriate data. This is especially true when an outside consultant or trainer is brought in and the program sponsor has preconceived ideas of what the training needs are, even though no one has actually asked potential learners or training participants.

Training Activities – In-Class Needs Assessments by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Author, and Blogger

There is an alternative to a formal needs assessment; if you find yourself in a situation where you are in a classroom of participants when no assessment has been done, or you do not know much about learners or their previous level of training or experience. In such instances, you can conduct a limited “in-class” assessment to gather some useful information. Once obtained, you can make split-second adjustments to your content or approach to training delivery.

Here are three simple techniques you can use to gather participant background information:

Show of Hands – Facilitator-led question and answer session

Simply ask a series of closed-end questions related to your learners, their experience or knowledge level, or training expectations and needs to which they respond by raising their hands in response as appropriate.

This mentally and physically involves learners while providing useful information to you and the participants. This technique also engages visual auditory and kinesthetic learning modalities/styles.

Questions should require a short answer or seek a number or quantity. For example:

  • How many of you have more than one (five, ten, etc) year(s) of experience with …?
  • Who has attended a session on today’s topic/subject before?
  • Who supervises other employees?
  • Who has heard of brain-based learning before?

Flip Charted Questions

Participants respond to closed-ended questions on flip chart pages attached to the walls as they enter the room.

Typically, these should be questions that require a yes/no or number response so that they can be quickly viewed and tallied from the front of the room or as people look at them while seated.

Examples are:

  • Have you ever attended a session on today’s topic before?
  • How long have you worked for this organization (e.g. Less than 1 yr, 2-5, 6-10, 10+)? Set up options in columns.
  • How many years of experience do you have (with the session topic)? Offer options in columns as above.
  • Do you normally train (front line, supervisors/management, executives, various levels)? Again, set up the potential responses in columns.

3 X 5 Cards

As participants enter the room, pass out a sheet of paper that welcomes them, and contains some administrative details. For example:

  • Please sit where you would like but not next to people you work with daily so that you can network.
  • Get to know one another before the session starts.
  • Write one thing you would like to learn during today’s session on your 3X5 card and drop in the box by the door before the session begins.

After the cards are dropped in the box, read the responses prior to starting the session in order to get a sense of their needs and expectations, then make adjustments to content and delivery as appropriate.

By using techniques such as these, you actively engage learners early in the session and identify useful information that can help you personalize content to the needs of your learners.