Why Use a Flip Chart
Flip charts are a great tool to stimulate engagement and re-focus your audience. They also give a way to preserve information that was discussed in the meeting. For example: instead of a PowerPoint slide with a number of bullets, a presenter could leverage a flip chart and write the points they are making as they speak. People will pay additional attention when someone is writing something, since they don't know what will be written next. Many people try to use the PowerPoint animation feature for this, but all that ends up doing is causing too many clicks in a presentation.
Another advantage of using a flip chart is that it engages the audience. Instead of listing a number of known items in PowerPoint, a presenter can use a flip chart and ask the audience to volunteer their own ideas. A nurse leader could ask her team about ideas to improve patient falls on the floor. Instead of coming to the group with a set of predetermined ideas, the team could drive the discussion. New ideas will be presented that the leader may not have thought about yet, which would cause a better outcome for everyone involved.
"But I can't use a flip chart!"
I have heard of a number of reasons why people don't like to use flip charts, such as:
- I don't write well. This is one I hear all the time. I have terrible handwriting but still use flip charts regularly. It doesn't matter as long as your writing is generally legible. Take your time as you write and don't use cursive.
- I might spell something wrong. If you don't know how to spell something, ask the group! Also, most people won't notice a misspelled word.
- What if someone in the group has an off-the-wall idea I'm not ready for? You are looking for audience feedback and engagement. I love it when someone brings up an idea that's totally new (even if it would never work), as it allows the group to discuss and think through it.
- I don't have one. Flip charts are inexpensive to purchase, and there are now some available on the market that can fold up to fit in a briefcase.
- I don't know what to do with the ideas after. Take a picture of the writing with your phone, then you can throw the paper away. After the meeting, type out what was written and include it in your meeting notes.
If you want to engage your team at a deeper level in your meetings, presentations, or updates, you should be using a flip chart. Give it a shot, and you will find a much higher level of engagement from everyone attending the meeting.