Businesswoman giving a presentation using a flip chart

Over the weekend I delivered a presentation titled The Stand Out Factor: How to Sound Your Best in Business, which was well-received.  Much like the title of this program, I also wanted to create my own stand out factor.  One of the ways I accomplished this was by going low-tech and using a flip chart vs. slides (all the other presenters opted for PowerPoint).

As I coach clients I always ask them if they’re going to use slides when they speak; if so, I inquire as to their rationale.  The point is that the use of slides must be solely to benefit your audience vs. as an assist to you.

What most speakers fail to realize is that a flip chart is often a viable alternative as a visual aid for the following reasons:

**You don’t need to concern yourself with a technical glitch—nothing can go wrong.

**It creates spontaneity and can add energy to your program.

**It can be interactive if used for brainstorming or to capture audience comments.

With these benefits, it’s also important to ensure you follow these 10 best practices for flip chart use, which include:

1. In general, use of a flip chart works best with smaller audiences (i.e. up to 25 people).

2. Always bring an ample supply of your own markers; be sure they’re not on the verge of drying out.

3. Use one dark color for your main points (e.g. black); then use other colors to highlight or emphasize key words/phrases (e.g. red, blue, green).

4. Consider advance preparation of some pages to save time.  If you do this, you’ll want to keep a blank page between your content so that what you’ve written on one page isn’t visible on the page that precedes it. (In my presentation I wrote out 10 questions in advance and it worked very well.)

5. When writing, opt for printing vs. cursive to make it easier for your audience to read. Keeping your characters slightly larger will also help; if in doubt, go to the last row where your audience will be seated and ensure your writing is easy for them to see.

6. Use a pencil to draw lines, known as rules (won’t be visible to your audience) so when you write you can do so in a straight line and improve your legibility. You can also use a pencil to draw a concept or shapes (in advance) and then go over the shapes with a marker as you speak.

7.  Keep your flip chart close enough and high enough for your audience to see what you’ve written.  You can either choose a table-top flip chart or place your flip chart on a freestanding easel (based on your preference).

8. Avoid writing in the lower third of your flip chart page as it may be hard for people to see; stay in the top to the middle of your page.

9. Consider getting a flip chart with adhesive backing so you can remove pages as needed and place them on a wall for easy viewing. (Bring tape or thumbtacks as a backup and be sure it’s permissible to affix them to a wall before doing so.)

10. As you write and turn your back to your audience, stop speaking to avoid having your volume compromised.  (An alternative is to have someone volunteer to be the scribe so you can facilitate  and not concern yourself with writing.)

Bonus: Place post-it notes on your flip chart pages so you can easily find the page you want and turn it over smoothly.

Here’s a short YouTube video on this subject. Click here to watch video

P.S. If you’d like to have me deliver the presentation I referenced in this post (The Stand Out Factor: How to Sound Your Best in Business), let’s talk about it and bring it to your company.

Can’t wait to hear from you.

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