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Flip Charts

Believe it not, a flip chart is my favorite visual aid—actually two flip charts on either side of the stage or speaking area. They force you to move horizontally, which creates greater action and attention than moving forward and backward.

Flip charts are very good for smaller audiences. You can prepare them beforehand, or illustrate them as you go along. They can be actual cardboard displays, or simply an easel and a large pad. Follow these steps as you use flip charts:

  • Set up the flip chart ahead of time, but keep it covered until you need it.

  • Always start with a title so people know what the information refers to. This is a step most people eliminate. Print the title in capital letters.

  • Make the drawings bold and simple.

  • Don't talk and write at the same time unless you really have command of the audience and have a strong voice that will carry while your back is turned.

  • For drawing, use big, heavy lines. Lightly sketch in complicated designs ahead of time so you can go over them quickly and expertly during the presentation.

  • Don't use red unless you're speaking to a very small group—it's especially difficult to see on flip charts.

  • If ink goes through the paper, use every other sheet. It's also easier to flip two pages at a time.

  • If you're speaking in a long, narrow room, put the flip chart on a raised platform, or else people in the back of the room will have trouble seeing the bottom of your pages.

  • When you're pointing to the chart, and you're standing with it to your left, use your left arm to point. If you use your right arm, you close yourself off from your audience by placing your right arm across your body. If you're right-handed, place the chart to your right.

  • One of the main values of the flip is that you can leave your message up their while you're speaking about other things, which is not true of a slide or computer-graphic presentation.

  • Make your presentation multi-media by using flip charts along with your other graphics.

As with any visual aid, once you've used your flip chart, you need to find a way to get rid of it. You might want to use your flip chart at different times in your talk, so the best thing to do is to have a neutral page after every picture or sequence. This can be a blank page, or one containing a symbol or picture relevant to your whole presentation.


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