How To Make A Flip Chart – Five Back to the Basics Tips
Flipcharts have been around for decades and have served thousands of trainers, presenters, adult educators, facilitators, managers, and team leaders admirably. They have helped to reinforce spoken messages, post ideas and information for reference, collect brilliant ideas during training and brainstorming sessions, and aid visual learners by reinforcing key concepts in meetings and adult learning sessions all over the world.
Even so, many people still struggle with how to generate useful and creative flipcharts that will benefit both session leaders and their adult learners. The following are five “How to Make a Flip Chart” basics that you can use for preparing flip charts that are not only functional but also easy to create.
1. Decide why you are going to use a flip chart. Many trainers, facilitators, and adult educators want to prepare their flip charts in advance using keywords or concepts that can guide the session delivery and provide a visual reference for them and their learners. If this is your goal, then spend some time deciding what will be on each sheet and when you will display them.
You may also just want to have blank pages available for use during activities, to capture key thoughts and ideas during a session or to spontaneously draw or write information based on session discussions.
2. Create your flip charts in advance. Use multi-colored, water-based, flipchart markers to avoid the ink from “bleeding through” or saturating the page and damaging the following page, thus wasting money.
Advance preparation allows you to project an image of a professional who comes prepared to facilitate knowledge. It also says time in the classroom since you do not have to spend time writing as learners watch.
3. Use images and colorful borders on your pages to add a bit of sizzle to each and to attract attention. You can use drawings related to the session content (e.g. figures or people, animals, items and so on) to tie into written information on the paper. These might be simple bullet points. For example, if you are doing a session on customer service, using smiley faces instead of colored dots adds a bit of light-heartedness and visual variety to the pages. Make sure to use different colors from the text you have written to make the images stand out.
4. Add small lightly penciled notes to the edges of your pages. These remind you of comments you want to make or let you know what your next activity or topic will be as you are turning pages. Your attendees cannot see them from a distance, they keep you forgetting important points and you look like you have everything memorized.
5. Practice using your flip chart before getting in front of a group. If you are right-handed, stand to the right side of the flip chart easel as you face the group. When ready to turn a page as you are facing the group, simply reach back with your left hand, grasp the bottom left corner of the page and gently lift it up and over the easel to gracefully display the next page of text. If you are left-handed, stand on the left side.
Standing as indicated also allows you to write across the page without blocking note-taking participants since you only extend you are across the page without obstructing the page.
For hundreds of additional flip chart techniques and strategies on 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 by Robert W. Lucas.
YOUR THOUGHTS? – Please share any tips for effectively using flip charts in adult learning environments?