The Importance of FlipCharts in Presentations

Our presentation courses are planned to significantly improve presentation skills to allow delegates of all levels to be able to make powerful presentations.  The presentation seminars that we provide are packed full of presentation tips and techniques that demonstrate strategies which will show delegates how to reduce nerves in presentations and to allow them to present confidently when presenting to clients or colleagues. Our presentation skills workshops are designed not just to show delegates how to make a simple presentation: they are designed to show delegates how to create a successful presentation also maximising the applications of PowerPoint to make great presentationsPresentation training will allow delegates to build on their presenting skills; make better presentations; enjoy making presentations and teach delegates how to present successfully.  Delegates who have taken our Presentation Courses have expressed how much they enjoyed the variety in our presentation skills training and now feel confident to present in any situation.

Using flipcharts in presentations

While everyone seems to be interested in creating high-tech computer generated presentations, the flip chart still continues to be the most effective presentation media of all. One should not assume that investing a lot of money in high tech visual aids & equipment will “make” your presentation. The best visuals have been and still are the simplest. Remember, the purpose of using visual aids is to enhance your presentation, not upstage it.

Since most presentations are delivered before small groups of 35 people or less, the flip chart is the perfect size. I feel the flip chart will continue to be the workhorse of most training seminars.

There are several advantages of using a flip chart, some as follows:

  1. Flip charts do not need electricity – You don’t need to worry if the bulb will burn out or worry that you forgot the extension chord.
  2. Flip charts are economical – They do not require you to use any special films or printers to produce them.
  3. Colour can be added very easily – An inexpensive box of flip chart markers allows you all the creativity you want.
  4. Flip charts allow spontaneity – Any last minute changes can be easily made.

In today’s world of high tech computers, fancy software and sophisticated infomercials, many presenters today feel they have to create a presentation which shows off their ability to use computers and their latest clip art library.

Although the software available today does allow everyone the ability to create colourful slides and overheads, we often find that the visuals become the presentation and not the speaker. As a speaker, your visual aids should not be the presentation. You are!

Even though flip charts are low tech, they are reliable and don’t require any special skill to use them but here are some tips to help you use them effectively:

  1. The best flip chart stands have clamps at the top and will hold most type of flip chart pads. Most allow you to hang your flip charts while some stands will only allow you to prop them up. Don’t wait until the last minute to find this out.
  2. Make sure the flip charts you use will fit the flip chart stand you will be using. Some have different spaced holes at the top.
  3. Flip chart pads are usually sold in packages of two and come either plain or with grid lines on them. Using the pad with grid lines makes your job easier for drawing straight lines and keeps your text aligned. Also, make sure the pad has perforations at the top to allow easier removal of sheets. I have seen many presenters struggle to tear off a sheet evenly.
  4. When preparing your charts, it is best to first design your charts on paper first before drawing them on the actual flip chart pad.
  5. Lightly write your text in pencil first before using the actual flip chart markers. This will allow you to make any adjustments with text spacing and any figures you will be drawing. Do NOT use all block letters (UPPER CASE). Using upper and lower case letters makes it easier to read. I like to use the 7 x 7 rule. Have no more than 7 words on each line and no more than 7 lines to a sheet. Using a 6 x 6 rule is even better.
  6. Use flip chart markers and not regular magic markers. Flip chart markers will not “bleed” through the paper. Also, they do not have as strong a smell as regular markers. You can also find “scented” markers. They usually come in various fruit scents.
  7. Avoid using the colours yellow, pink, or orange. These are extremely difficult for the audience to see. Don’t make your audience have to strain their eyes to see your points. Avoid using too many colours. Using one dark colour and one accent colour works best.
  8. You can write “lightly in pencil” any notes next to key points you need. The audience won’t be able to see them. You may also write what is on the next sheet. Knowing this will allow you to properly introduce your next sheet.
  9. If you make any mistakes you can use “white out” to correct any small errors. For larger areas, cover the mistake with a double layer of flip chart paper and correct the error.
  10. Have a blank sheet of paper between each of your text sheets. This will prevent the written material from other sheets to “peek” through.
  11. Properly store and transport your flip charts in a case or the cardboard box that some come in. This will protect your flip charts and keep them fresh and ready to use each time. Take great care of your flip charts. I have some flip charts I have used over 100 times and they still look as good as new.

Making “prepared” flip charts can take a considerable amount of time. Make sure you start preparing your charts early enough so you can review them and make any changes or corrections before hand. It takes practice to learn how to print neatly. If you do not have neat printing, ask someone who does prepare them for you. A poorly prepared flip chart can be very distracting.

The most important point to remember in preparing your flip charts is to start preparing them early.

Flip charts are quick, inexpensive visual aids for briefing small groups. The charts, felt-tip markers and graphic materials are readily available, and with a modest ability at lettering, the presenters can compose the desired visual aid in-house.

  • Help the speaker proceed through the material
  • Convey information
  • Provide the audience with something to look at in addition to the speaker
  • Can be prepared prior to, as well as during, the presentation
  • Demonstrate that the speaker has given thought to his or her remarks
  • Can be used to record audience questions and comments
  • Can be converted to slides


  1. May require the use of graphics talent
  2. Are not suitable for use in a large audience setting
  3. May be difficult to transport

When Developing Flip Charts:

  • Each sheet of paper should contain one idea, sketch, or theme.
  • Words, charts, diagrams, and other symbols must be penned in a large enough size to be seen by people farthest from the speaker.
  • In general, make each letter at least 1/32″ high for each foot of distance from the material. For example, a 1-inch letter is legible from 32 feet, and a 2-inch letter from 64 feet. Divide the distance from the back of the room to the visual by 32 to determine the minimum size of letters.
  • Use block lettering, since it is easiest to read. Use all capital letters, and do not slant or italicize letters.
  • Use and vary the colour. Also, check from a distance to make sure the colour works well and is not distracting.

Excellent presentation skills give you a platform to demonstrate your sales skills, leadership qualities, communication skills, influencing abilities and promotion potential. Our objective over the two days is to teach you the skills and techniques that will give you both the confidence and competence to enjoy making presentations in all situations. We will be giving action points to sharpen your image; reduce nerves; allow you to appear both confident and competent and increase your credibility in the eyes of colleagues and clients.

PowerPoint presentation skills, Advanced Presentation skills and Presentation skills are three of the courses trained by Total Success Training, a training consultancy specialising in communication training and management skills in London and throughout the UK. Other related courses include sales presentation skills, training the trainer, assertiveness skills, selling skills, negotiation skills and communication skills for managers. Click here if you need more information regarding presentation skills course information or contact Total Success who will be delighted to talk to you via e-mail.

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