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.

 

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.

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.

Flip Chart Basic – Writing on the Paper

Flip Chart Basic – Writing on the Paper

In addition to my book – The Big Book of Flip Charts: A Comprehensive Guide for Presenters, Trainers and Team Facilitators, entire books have been written about how to effectively prepare and use the classic flip chart as one of your visual aids in adult learning environments and group gatherings. A key flip chart basic – writing on the paper – is one that you should remember when designing and using flipcharts in your training session or meeting.

The following are several points to keep in mind when preparing and writing on your flip chart pages.

Print words. Make sure that you print words legibly when writing on your flip chart pages so that participants can read what is there. This is especially important when you have people from other cultures present who might not be familiar with cursive style. Also, some school systems no longer teach cursive writing as a required subject in elementary schools.

Use large letters. Make sure that your letters are large enough to view from a distance. Consider using capital lettering for page heads and a combination of upper and lower case letters for text on the page. A good combination is to use 4-inch (appx 10 cm)letters for headers and 2-3-inch (appx 5-7.6 cm) for text lines.

Write in a Straight Line.  You can either buy lined or graph flip chart paper or use a straight edge to ensure that lines of text flow straight across the page when creating them. This helps ensure that your written messages look professional and that you do not waste paper.

Use the Six to Eight Rule When Designing Your Pages. This means to limit words per line to 6-8 and lines of text to from 6-8. This increases the ease of reading and reduces clutter on the page.

Like many other aspects of training adults, following some simple guidelines when preparing your flip charts in advance can increase your effectiveness and aid learners in getting the information that you intend.

For additional ideas and strategies on making and using flipcharts in your training or adult learning events, get copies of The Big Book of Flip Charts: A Comprehensive Guide for Presenters, Trainers and Team Facilitators and The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning.

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

Three Reasons to Limit Information on a Flip Chart

Three Reasons to Limit Information on a Flip Chart

Three Reasons to Limit Information on a Flip Chart

There are three primary adult learning styles or modalities: Visual learner, kinesthetic learner, and auditory learner. Flip charts typically aid the visual learners most, since they better gain, retain, recall, and use information when they see it.

Related to the visual learning style when working with adult learners, there are three good reasons for limiting the amount of information you put on each line and page of a flipchart:

  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 exceptions. For example, when you are writing a long list of items, numbers, or capturing ideas presented from participants, and it is obvious that you will run on to a subsequent page.

Three Reasons to Limit Information on a Flip Chart by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Author, and Blogger

In such instances, you might continue the column to the bottom of the page, tear off the sheet and have someone tape it high enough on the wall where you can add a second continuation page. You can then continue to the next page and post it below the first when finished.

For hundreds of creative training ideas and techniques for effectively creating, using, transporting, and storing flip charts in adult learning environments, get a copy of The Big Book of Flip Charts: A Comprehensive Guide for Presenters, Trainers, and Team Facilitators. 

Three Tips for Improving Flip Chart Effectiveness

Three Tips for Improving Flip Chart Effectiveness

Three Tips for Improving Flip Chart Effectiveness

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

Three Tips for Improving Flip Chart Effectiveness to learn about…

Here are three tips that I’ve learned over the years to make flip charts stand out and help support my verbal messages.

Each word should be legible from the back of the room

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 (often misspelled easle) 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 what you have written.

Remember that your goal in using a flipchart 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. This will aid participants with all adult learning styles, but in particular, those with a visual learning style preference.

I can recall one business presentation that I recently attended 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 from which to choose.

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 all 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 when dealing with adult learners 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 sized letters. Also,  having a maximum of six to eight lines of text per page (including your title line; using approximately four-inch letters).

Limit information on a page

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. In such instances, limit yourself to about 25-35 individual numbers on the page.

If you have a lot of information, I suggest that you consider summarizing on your flipchart, then give a handout with the details. Simpler is better, with flip charts.

For hundreds of creative training ideas and techniques for effectively creating, using, transporting and storing flip charts in adult learning environments, get a copy of The Big Book of Flip Charts: A Comprehensive Guide for Presenters, Trainers and Team Facilitators. 

11 Common Flipchart Uses

11 Common Flipchart Uses

11 Common Flipchart Uses

Flipcharts have been around so long as visual aids for learning that a lot of trainers and adult educators often overlook them as a vehicle for information exchange in learning events. In many instances, they defer to more modern electronic technology for presenting and collecting information.

My personal opinion is that when trainers and facilitators or instructors drop flipcharts from their training aids arsenal, they are making a big mistake. That is because of flip charts as inexpensive, easy-to-use, portable, and require no electricity or add-ons (e.g. screens, laptops, and other presentation aids).

11 Common Flipchart Uses by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Author, and Blogger for the Training Industry

In general, flip charts can be used to collect and deliver information successfully because of they:

  1. Support or reinforce the spoken word from instructors, team leaders, facilitators, and others;
  2. Provide a surface where color can be utilized as the user speaks;
  3. Direct participant attention to a specific point;
  4. Serve as a quick review reference that takes revisiting a concept by merely pointing or turning a page;
  5. Allow the addition of images, charts, and other materials to reinforce words on the page, as needed;
  6. Aids comprehension, especially for visual learners;
  7. Communicate new concepts or ideas;
  8. Collect key ideas and concepts offered by individuals and groups;
  9. Help gain consensus by presenting lists that can be easily added too and voted upon in a session;
  10. Engage people in the learning process by allowing them to actively collect and use the information on pages they prepare. Note: This taps into the Malcolm Knowles’ Adult Learning Theory and brain-based learning concepts related to active learner involvement in order to help learners gain, retain, recall and use what they experience;
  11. Give a large, repositionable, standard writing surface (27 inches X 36 inches) that can be used to display information.

If you liked this, you may benefit from thousands of creative ideas for making, using, transporting, and storing flip charts outlined in The Big Book of Flip Charts: A Comprehensive Guide for Presenters, Trainers, and Team Facilitators.

Effectively Capturing Participant Notes on Flip Charts

Effectively Capturing Participant Notes on Flip Charts

When writing responses from participants during a training session or meeting, be careful not to substitute for the words they offer. Many facilitators, trainers, and educators try to paraphrase to make the words fit on a page. If you do this incorrectly, you may inadvertently change their intended meaning and offend them by discounting what they are saying as your redesign their message based on your perception of what they are trying to communicate.

Capturing Participant Notes on Flip Charts

Effectively Capturing Participant Notes on Flip Charts

It is better to ask permission than assume it is alright. If you want to modify what a participant says, ask his or her permission. Even so, this is awkward and can cause problems. Some people will say it’s okay, then feel offended that you didn’t use “their” idea or words. They may even stop contributing further. Instead of arbitrarily making modifications, ask them to condense their idea down to 5-7 words and then capture what they say. This guided facilitation approach will likely get better results and help them focus their thoughts

For more creative and practical ideas for using flip charts effectively, get a copy of The Big Book of Flip Charts: A Comprehensive Guide for Presenters, Trainers, and Team Facilitators.  

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. 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.