How to Use a Flipchart for Training Purposes
When it’s time to deliver face-to-face training, many trainers rely on slide decks as their main mode of delivery for the content they are offering. Slide decks require a means of display, such as a projector or television, and that’s not always available to trainers at specific locations. And even if they are available, they don’t always work. Trainers have gotten away from using flipchart paper as a way of teaching their classes, but they are slowing coming back in style. While slide decks offer an excellent opportunity to prepare content before your training sessions, they are not dynamic and require no input from your participants. If you are looking for a way to shake things up, or if you just want to learn how to use a flipchart as a way to cope with losing a projector during a training session, learning how to use a flipchart for training purposes properly is worth a few minutes of your time.
Use Short Sentences
Flipcharts are great for capturing ideas expressed during a discussion or activity. When you write short sentences or ideas, it is easy to read, and there is lots of room to contribute more thoughts and words to the flipchart paper. When you try to write complete sentences, it becomes hard to read, and people become overwhelmed with trying to make their sentences straight on the paper, which is often unlined. It can become time-consuming as well to take the time to write out entire sentences, and participants are often left waiting for trainers to finish writing sentences before moving on to the next thought, which stalls inspiration and motivation for your training classes. Stick to small, short bursts of words and ideas.
Use Different Colored Markers for Different Ideas
As a way of organizing your flipcharts, try using a variety of colored markers for different ideas, topics, and even persons contributing to the conversation. For example, if you want to debrief about a discussion after it has taken place, use your flipchart to write high-level concepts and summaries from each person using 2-3 words each. You can write each person’s summary in a different color to create a collaborative, but independent idea thought process. Participants will start to take ownership of the color they are assigned, and they might even remark on how it’s their favorite color. Avoid using just black whenever possible. Color brings words to life.
Limit One Theme Per Sheet
It’s easy to get off track when you are trying to record everyone’s ideas, but if you tear off some flipchart papers before you begin and hang them on the walls around your training room, you can label each one with a different theme or concept. This will allow you to organize your thoughts, and keep people on track with their thoughts and contributions as you go through your training. For example, you might break a communications training sessions into the following themes and label your flipchart papers accordingly: verbal communication, non-verbal communication, interpersonal communication, personal communication, professional communication, body language, etc.
So the next time you are heading out to a training session, consider how you might be able to incorporate a flipchart into your program to get participants more engaged and taking ownership of the materials you are offering.