5 Ways to Enhance Your Presentation Flip Charts with Color, Shapes, Borders and Images

5 Ways to Enhance Your Presentation Flip Charts with Color, Shapes, Borders, and Images

There has been quite a bit of research on the impact of color, images, and other graphic additions and the effect that they have on the human brain. Unfortunately, many trainers and educators fail to consider the potential for using visual elements to stimulate brain neurons. Nor do they recognize that adding a splash of different hues to their presentation flip chart pages might actually contribute to learning. The following chart shows the emotions communicated in various colors.



Red Stimulates and evokes excitement, passion, power, energy,   anger, intensity.  Also, it can indicate   “stop,” negativity, financial trouble, or shortage.
Yellow Indicates caution, warmth, mellowness, positive meaning,   optimism, and cheerfulness. It can also stimulate thinking and visioning.
Dark Blue Depending on the shade, you can relax, soothe, indicate maturity, and evoke trust, and tranquility or peace.
Light Blue Cool, youthful, or masculine images can be projected.
Purple Projects assertiveness or boldness, youthfulness, and contemporary image. Often used as a sign of royalty, richness, spirituality,   or power.
Orange It can indicate high energy or enthusiasm. Emotional and sometimes stimulates positive thinking. The organic image can result.
Brown An earth-tone that creates a feeling of security,   wholesomeness, strength, support, and a lack of pretentiousness.
Green Can remind of nature, productivity, positive image, moving forward or “go,” comforting, growth, or financial success or prosperity. Also, can give a feeling of balance.
Gold/Silver Illustrates prestige, status, wealth, elegance, or conservative image.
Pink Projects a youthful, feminine, or warm image.
White Typically used to illustrate purity, cleanliness, honesty,   wholesomeness, enhance colors used, and provide visual relaxation.
Black It represents a lack of color. It creates a sense of independence, completeness, and solidarity. Often used to indicate financial success, death, seriousness, or heaviness of the situation.

Enhance Your Presentation Flip Charts by The Creative Trainer

Take advantage of what researchers have discovered about using colors and visual elements to enhance your learning environment and aid in the acquisition and retaining of information.

Consider the following presentation flip chart tips when you design your next training or presentation visual aids.

1. Use Colored Icons or Bullets in various shapes that relate to your topic in order to visually tie to written text and the program theme. Here are some examples:

• For training on telephone skills, use small telephones or headsets;
• For customer service skills, use small smiley faces or faces with various expressions;
• For travel-related training, use cars, boats, ships, airplanes, etc.
• For EEO or legal training, use justice scales; and
• For technical skills, use small computers or other equipment.

presentation flip chart tips, creative training techniques, brain based learning2. Use Colored Shapes Around Text to set off the words from the surrounding material. For example, you might use clouds, stars, circles, bursting bombs, or geometric shapes drawn in various colors to highlight a concept, word, or phrase.

3. Attach Key Concepts Written on Cut Out Shapes that you then attach to the page with either tape, Velcro, or artist’s adhesive. For example, a creative training content review activity where “bright ideas” might be elicited from learners and written on light bulb cut-outs in various colors. Learners could then come up, attach their idea to a sheet of paper, and discuss their idea. Post the pages for everyone to view and note during breaks.

4. Add Borders to flip chart pages with either colored markers or colored tape. Ypresentation flip chart tips, creative training techniques, brain based learningou can tie to program themes by adding images related to the topic. For example, if you are discussing selling or doing business in another country, choose images that relate to that country.

5. Add Images that are done in various colors. Cartoon characters, caricatures, simple stick figures, and similar figures are great. Go to Microsoft Word® toolbar to Insert/ Picture/Clip Art for ideas. If you cannot draw well and have an overhead projector still sitting around, you can make copies of images on transparency film, project it onto a flip chart page and trace it! You can also create a slide and project it on paper to trace.

By using these simple flip chart presentation tips when designing and developing your flip charts for learning events, you potentially increase the opportunities for learners to gain, retain, recall, and use what they learn.



One Minute of Praise – Training Feedback Activity

One Minute of Praise - Training Feedback Activity

One Minute of Praise – Training Feedback Activity

PURPOSE: To provide each member in a day-long training session or meeting with positive feedback on their performance at the end of the program. It can also be used to encourage participation during training or meeting.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES: At the end of this activity, participants will:

  • Feel good about their performance during the training session or meeting.
  • Be able to practice their feedback skills with their peers.

One Minute of Praise – Training Feedback Activity by The Creative Trainer 


  • Prior to participant arrival, create a flip chart page with each participant’s name at the top in large colorful letters.
  • Post the pages on the wall with painters or masking tape in the back of the room. To prevent bleed through onto the walls, make sure to use water-based flip chart markers and put an extra sheet of paper under each of the pages.
  • Point out that everyone has a sheet with their name at the top for use during breaks and at the end of the session. Explain that they are encouraged to provide feedback on something they liked about each person’s performance.  For example, “I appreciated the fact that you arrived on time and returned punctually from breaks,” or “I liked the way you didn’t back down when _____________ said . . .”
  • At the beginning of the session/meeting, stress that each person’s input is crucial during the day. Explain that to encourage participation in the session, each person will receive feedback on their pages throughout the day.
  • Throughout the day, before breaks and lunch, remind everyone to go to the easel and comment on each sheet.
  • At the end of the day, give sheets with comments to each person.

NOTE:      To ensure that everyone gets at least one positive “stroke,” the facilitator should also write comments on the pages throughout the day.


TIME REQUIRED: No extra time needed since comments are added during breaks and lunch.


  • Actively engages learners.
  • Engages visual and kinesthetic learning modalities.
  • It causes a review of the day’s events.

For more creative ideas, strategies, and activities get a copy of The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning. For ways to energize learning events Check out Energize Your Training: Creative Techniques to Engage Learners and for additional activities using flip charts, get The Big Book of Flip Charts: A Comprehensive Guide for Presenters, Trainers, and Team Facilitators.

Taking a Brain-Based Learning Approach to Training Design and Development

Taking a Brain-Based Learning Approach to Training Design and Development

Using creativity in training to establish a brain-based learning environment is essential for helping learners better gain, retain, recall, and use what they experience. As trainers and educators, you should open your eyes and take an objective look around from time-to-time in order to discover examples, issues, and ideas that can be incorporated into workshops and other learning vehicles. These observations might form the basis of an analogy or story that can help introduce or support a topic in one of your learning sessions. By collecting and assimilating such information and strategies, you will be able to better develop a creative learning environment.

Taking a Brain Based Learning Approach to Training Design and Development

Taking a Brain-Based Learning Approach to Training Design

One strategy that you might consider to identify new material and strategies to enhance your training is to conduct what I call a creativity analysis. By doing so you can often pinpoint issues and items that are important from a values standpoint or that impact various elements within a culture. Such a scan is especially effective if you travel to locations that are outside your own organization, geographic area, or comfort zone.

There are many cultures in various locations throughout the world where people view things differently and approach learning and life from a diverse perspective. They potentially view education and training from a standpoint that is literally foreign to you. These differences can cause challenges for you as a facilitator if they are new to you. They can also provide a learning opportunity and chance to expand your knowledge and grow professionally.

As part of your analysis, consider looking for trends in clothing, transportation, business processes, religious beliefs, and other key aspects of life which might be incorporated or compared to your personal or societal norm. Think of how these elements might serve as a basis for discussion in a session that you design or facilitate.

The following techniques may provide possible material, concepts, or ideas that can be easily integrated into your brain-based training design, training delivery, or learning content in your next training programs:

  • Scan movies, television, or radio programs. Look for ideas, material, or trends related to program content.
  • Evaluate newspapers, advertising, billboards, and professional magazine articles (about related topics/skills). Try to identify potential resources and societal issues.
  • Scrutinize junk email and mail you receive. Through it, determinations about existing resources and what else is being done in the field or on a specific topic can be made.
  • Brainstorm alone or with others. Take some time to evaluate and consider changing what is currently, or has historically been done in programs. To accomplish that, ask the following questions:

(a) What is currently being done which might inhibit or limit participant learning?

(b) What can be expanded to enhance learning?

(c) What is being done to ensure that the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom are transferred to the workplace?

(d) What techniques, strategies, or activities can be combined to increase learning?

(e) What techniques, strategies, props, incentives, or approaches could be substituted for ones currently in use?

(f) How can techniques, strategies, activities, incentives, or props be used in other programs to effective learning?

(g) What steps, processes, or information currently used could be reorganized in a different order to increase effectiveness?

  • Capture ideas. Keep a tape recorder or pen and paper handy at all times (IE By the bed, in the car, on desktop) to capture creative ideas and thoughts as they occur.
  • Take idea excursions. Search for props, incentives, and materials that can be adapted or used for training are everywhere. Go on outings specifically to find new anything that might enhance learning, involve participants, and add sizzle to your programs.

Some possible idea excursion locations to explore and what to look for follow. Do not forget a pen and paper or a tape recorder to capture your ideas.

(a) Toy stores (games, incentives, and props).

(b) Catalog suppliers (toys, games, incentives, props, prizes, software, and music).

(c) Teacher supply stores (incentives, clip art, and craft supplies).

(d) Discount/Clearance or closeout stores (toys, games, incentives, prizes, and admin supplies).

(e) Department stores (toys, incentives, and supplies).

(f) Card/Gift stores (prizes and incentives).

(g) Costumes stores (props and incentives).

(h) Magic shops (props, attention gainers, self-working magic tricks, and incentives).

(i) Flea markets (toys, incentives, prizes, and supplies).

(j) Book stores (incentives, prizes, and reference materials).

(k) Software stores (puzzle software, games, presentation productivity software/clip art).

(l) Party supply stores (noisemakers, incentives, confetti, and themed decorations, props, and supplies).

(m) Specialty shops (varies depending on inventory maintained).

(n) Arts and crafts stores (clip art, poster board, spray adhesive, supplies, and incentives).

  • Contact wholesale suppliers. There are numerous suppliers that can provide creative incentives, materials, programs, and products which can be adapted or used to enhance learning. Once you set up a commercial account with them, you get access to their catalog of products at discounted prices.

There is no limit to what you can adapt and use in your learning events. You are limited only by your imagination. Identify your program content and a theme to go with it, then search for items that can help make the content come alive and remain memorable to your learners.

Taking a Brain Based Learning Approach to Training Design and Development

For an encyclopedia of creative ideas and ways to incorporate brain-based learning strategies into your training and adult education programs, consider getting a copy of The Creative Trainer Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning.

Brain-Based Learning Strategies

brain based learning strategies
Robert (Bob) W. Lucas, Author, Facilitator, and Performance consultant

Brain-Based Learning Strategies

In 2013 in June, Robert (Bob) W. Lucas hosted two events for the Metro DC ASTD Chapter in Washington, DC (Tapping the Brain for Learning and Brain-Based Learning Strategies).

The sessions focused on how the brain learns and some of the research that has been done related to applying color, sound, motion, novelty, learner engagement and other strategies to enhance learning environments and potentially increase opportunities for learners to gain, retain, recall and use what they learn.

On the 26th, he provided insights at the chapter’s dinner meeting in a session titled: Tapping the Brain for Learning.  This session explored many ideas, brain-based concepts, and techniques that can be used to enhance virtually any training program or presentation topic.

At the end of the session, and when applying concepts learned, participants were able to:

a.  Facilitate creative training programs and presentations that can help induce behavior change and are FUN.

b.  Identify, make, or obtain inexpensive materials that add spark to training programs and presentations.

c.  Increase interaction with participants.

d.  Review program concepts throughout your sessions in order to get an interim check of learning before the program ends.

e.  Create memorable techniques for adding excitement and sizzle to programs so that participants keep coming back.

Brain-Based Learning Strategies Training – Past Success by Robert W. Lucas

On June 27th, Bob facilitated a one-day workshop titled: Strategies to Make Your Learning Events Sizzle. In this event, participants experienced dozens of creative training techniques based on brain research related to how the brain best learns and retains information. These strategies presented that day were meant to be immediately applied in their own learning events. They covered many training workshop essentials for typing in research to learning.

Bob went on to expand upon some of the ideas addressed in the previous night’s program. Therefore, the additional information through a variety of experiential opportunities in which participants hear about a concept, see it demonstrated and then have an opportunity to try or discuss it. They did also discuss how they might use the strategies to strengthen their own learning events.

At the end of the program, participants were able to:

  • Create training environments that stimulate learning.
  • Incorporate the latest learning brain research into their training design and delivery.
  • Design learning events that result in higher levels of attention and retention.
  • Use techniques and strategies experienced in their own learning events.
  • Add pizzazz and novelty to their learning events.
  • Immediately apply what they learned.

Tying Adult Learning Theory to Brain Based Learning Research

Tying Adult Learning Theory to Brain-Based Learning Research

Since the first part of this year, I have been conducting a lot of workshops and presentations on creative training techniques and brain-based learning for adults. Frequently attendees ask questions related to adult learning and what strategies or techniques work best to help their participants better gain, retain, recall, and use what they experience. Invariably, the answer comes back to how the type of learning environment you set for your participants.

Tapping the Brain for LearningTying Adult Learning Theory to Brain-Based Learning Research by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Adult Learning & Training Author

For decades, neuroscientists, psychologists, and cognitive scientists have explored the intricacies of the human brain in an attempt to learn what happens when various stimuli are introduced into a learner’s environment. Since many elements can impact brain functioning and stimulate brain neurons it is sometimes easier to look at some things that researchers have found related to adult learners.

Here are four things to know about adult learners that might assist you when you are designing and delivering content for your participants:

#1 Adults want to know how what they learn will help them personally and/or in the workplace.

Presenting theory will not work with today’s adult learners. Because information is so readily available in today’s world and training time is often limited, adult learners want to quickly understand what they will gain from attendance at your session and how they will be able to apply it. If you cannot explain or demonstrate how they will immediately be able to use information, strategies, and techniques, you are likely to lose their interest.

#2 Adults tend to self-sufficient.

Typically, you will encounter participants who come to the learning event with a wide array of experience, knowledge, and competencies. As a result, they do not want to be told what, when, and how they will learn. Instead, they want information shared and have an opportunity to be actively engaged in the process and experience the learning on individual levels.

#3 Adults want to feel ownership of the learning process.

To accomplish this, it is good to build in opportunities where they can mold the approach to learning in their own way. As you design your sessions, address the needs or learning modalities of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners by adding activities in which learners experience “ah-ha” moments about content as they jointly explore the who, what, when, how, and why of information they are receiving.

#4 Adults want to have an enjoyable learning experience.

Life is stressful enough without having to sit through some painful learning experience in which rote memory or tedious activities are involved. During the learning process, you have to build in interesting, interactive, and sensory-oriented strategies and techniques (e.g. music, magic, games, puzzles, and other FUN elements). These help your learners’ brains release dopamine, which stimulates the pre-frontal cortex to aid attention and long-term memory, and endorphins, which come from laughter and pleasurable experiences and help participants feel good about their learning.

Ultimately, your goal should be to treat adult learners as partners in the learning process and allow them ample opportunity to become fully engaged throughout the event.

Applying Brain-Based Learning Research to the Learning Environment

Applying Brain-Based Learning Research to the Learning Environment

Training and education professionals are always looking for new ways to creatively share concepts and information with their learners. Unfortunately, there is no one strategy that will turn classroom learning events into the utopia that trainers and adult educators strive for — 100 percent success related to the participant and student acquisition and retention of everything to which they are exposed. This is why they know that using a variety of strategies and changing their tools and routine regularly is crucial for learning success in the classroom.

Applying Brain-Based Learning Research to the Learning Environment by The Creative Trainer - Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Adult Learning AuthorApplying Brain-Based Learning Research to the Learning Environment by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Adult Learning Author

Luckily, there are exciting neuroscientific studies and continued developments in cognitive psychology related to learning going on that can help. Some of the research completed thus far certainly points to opportunities for application in the classroom even though it is ongoing and there is widespread discussion about the applicability to education and training. One thing that seems to have surfaced is that the classroom environment is certainly a major factor in learning. Still, the human brain far too complex to categorically state that by doing this or that, you will end up with a specific result so much more needs to be explored.

What seems to be obvious to numerous researchers is that certain classroom elements can potentially aid learning and long-term memory development. Many trainers and adult educators are realizing that they can apply lessons learned by the neuroscientists to their classrooms.

For example, through the use of environmental elements such as color, sound, motion, light, and smells and the addition of other factors like engagement, novelty, and fun to the classroom, participants potentially better gain, retain, recall and use what they experience. This is because these factors have been shown to impact brain neuron stimulation which aids memory formation and the ability to later recall and use what was learned.