As I wrapped up a day-long training session, a participant came up to me and said: “I don’t know why we don’t do more of this kind of thing. Such little changes make a world of difference.”
She was talking about my flipcharts.
I like using flipcharts because they can stay on the wall for an entire session (with PowerPoint I lose my image as soon as I advance a slide), I can add to them at any point (with PowerPoint, I’m mostly stuck with the slides I’ve created in advance) and anyone else in the room can add to them at any time. Here are three major factors I’ve found to good flipchart design:
Advanced Preparation: When participants walk into the room and see flipcharts prepared and hung in advance it sends the message that I’ve invested some time in preparing for the session. I find that my handwriting is much neater when I can take my time, so preparing the flipcharts I plan to use in advance creates a better visual experience and just seems more professional than last-minute, ad hoc creation of flipcharts. In addition, having flipcharts prepared in advance allows me to go right into the next topic without having to use valuable class time to (sloppily) create the next flipchart.
As a participant, which kind of visual imagery would you prefer to have hanging around the room?
Basic Design: Another small addition to my flipchart design that I find makes a big impact is to illustrate my key point(s). Below are two examples of a welcome flipchart with instructions. If you were a participant, would you think there’s a different tone that’s set by these different flipchart examples even though they’re using the exact same words?
Content Creation: One of the great things about flipchart is that it can be used to create content during a training session. When I divide people into small groups, I’ll often have clear instructions written at the top of the flipchart to provide structure and clarity to the group discussion. If I’m capturing participants’ thoughts on an easel at the front of the room, I’m sure to write down their exact words. And when listing various points, I make sure to use alternating colors so that each point is easily distinguishable.
Have additional ideas on flipchart design? Add ‘em to the comment section below!
The Train Like A Champion Blog is published Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. If you think someone else might find this interesting, please pass it along. If you don’t want to miss a single, brilliant post, be sure to click “Follow”! And now you can find sporadic, 140-character messages from me on Twitter @flipchartguy.