While flip charts may seem old school in this digital age, they are a critical tool to help facilitators create buy-in, alignment, and engagement. On the flip side (pun intended), we’ve seen flip charts be a facilitator’s downfall – distracting participants, harming credibility, and ultimately getting in the way of communicating the meeting objective.
The trick is in knowing how to use the flip chart so that it works for you – and your audience.
We’ve gathered up some of our best flip chart tricks, and have captured them below.
1) Keep the flip chart on a blank page when not in use. This helps ensure it doesn’t distract the audience with words from a previous conversation or topic that aren’t relevant to current discussions.
2) Tear out the flip chart pages that capture overarching concepts, and stick them on the wall in places easy for all to see. Now you can refer back to those at a later time, without having to search through your whole flip chart to find them.
3) Use short hand when brainstorming ideas. No need to capture complete sentences (it’s hard to read, hard to fit, and hard to write without missing other comments). Instead, capture the overarching concept or key words on the flip chart.
4) Pre-create wordy flip chart pages so the audience doesn’t have to wait for you to write it in the moment. This works especially well for agendas or lists where you want them to see the information, but don’t want to slow down the meeting by writing it all out real time.
5) When writing on the flip chart, keep toes pointed more towards your audience than the flip chart. This will help you project out to the audience, instead of talking to the flip chart.
6) Use pencil to write notes to yourself on flip chart pages ahead of time. This way if you have specific names or concepts you want to make sure to cover as you use the flip chart, you’ll be able to easily reference them without the attendees seeing the light pencil strokes.
7) Use color strategically on your flip chart. Stick to easy to read pen colors like blue, black, and green for main points. Then use orange, red, or yellow to circle or highlight concepts. This will help with readability and calling out key messages.
8) Create and post a “parking lot” flip chart to help keep conversations on track. This allows you to capture topics that aren’t relevant/appropriate to that meeting. It shows the audience they have been heard, and allows you to refocus on the main point of the meeting.
9) Take pictures of relevant flip chart pages and send them to the audience as a follow-up resource. Seeing the visual of the page puts everyone back in the room, helping them to remember the conversation more fully.
With these tricks in hand, your use of flip charts will be sure not to flop!