Flipcharts: Are They Still Relevant?

“What I hear, I forget. What I see, I remember. What I do, I understand.”

– Confucius

Projected and digital presentations have become the norm. For 30 years, PowerPoint slides have reigned supreme and only in recent years have advancements in technology allowed software like Prezi and SlideBot to start adding a bit more spice to a ‘standard’ presentation.

But just because there is new software out there, that doesn’t necessarily mean that traditional analog visual aids are obsolete.

In fact, one school of thought will tell you that these ‘old school’ aids are more personalized, more interactive, simpler (and as such, are more effective at relaying your message to the audience.

So, let’s look at the classic Flipchart…

WHERE CAN YOU USE THEM?

Whilst there are no specific rules around when a flipchart should be used; Boardrooms and smaller audience presentations, such as training sessions and workshops, can be ideal setups for using physical mediums like flipcharts.

For those of you that are in consulting, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about when I say that flipcharts can be perfect if you are having a brainstorming session or audience discussion.

It’s important to note is that different types of presentation aids are not mutually exclusive. There may be parts of your presentation that are better captured on a piece of paper, whilst others will be better explained by an image on your slide-deck. Remember though, if you’re using flipcharts to cover certain aspects of the presentation, pause your slides. Leaving them up on the screen can result in too many focal points for your audience.

So, let’s look at some various ways of utilizing flipcharts in your next presentation.

1. KEY CONCEPTS

Use this as a way of linking together different concepts already discussed in your presentation. However, avoid using long sentences or phrases. Single phrases or a single word in large letters will really help your audience to recall your point.

2. VISUALIZING IDEAS

Humans are an innately visual species. We rely heavily on images to make associations between different concepts in our brains. This makes flipcharts perfect for mapping out ideas for your audience. To see this in action, check out Simon Sinek’s incredibly popular TED Talk below:

3. OTHER POINTS WORTH NOTING

  • Note down audience questions at the beginning of your presentation. As you provide solutions or audience members come up with new ideas, add them to the flipchart.
  • Use pin-it notes for key items or lists on your flipchart. These serve as remainders for the audience.
  • If you’re aiming for an interactive session, make use of colors. Dark one for main points, original ideas or questions. An accent for additional facts, newer ideas or answers.

Choosing these visual aids is a matter of personal choice. But flipcharts or whiteboards prove useful when you want the audience to participate.

When did you last use flipcharts in a presentation?

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