5 Creative Ideas for Enhancing Flip Charts

Whether you are a trainer, facilitator, educator or manager, flip charts (flipcharts) are an inexpensive and effective tool to help make your ideas visual, display information or exchange ideas in a training session or meeting. While there are various other tools that can also accomplish these goals, flip charts continue to be one of the easiest and most versatile ways to communicate information in an adult learning classroom or office.

Here are five simple and creative ideas for enhancing your flip chart pages:

1. Include Colored Icons or Bullets in various shapes that relate to your topic in order to visually tie to written text and your program or meeting theme. For example when addressing the following topics:

-Telephone skills – use small telephone handsets or headsets;

-Customer service skills – use small smile faces or faces with various expressions based on your text;

-Travel related – use carts, boats, airplanes ships or other modes of transportation.

-EEO or legal – use justice scales; and

-Technical skills – use computers or other appropriate equipment.

2. Incorporate Applicable Drawn Images in various colors. Cartoon characters, caricatures, simple stick figures, and similar representations are great. If you are using a Windows-based computer or laptop, you can insert some of these by going to the Microsoft Word toolbar and clicking “Insert,” then “Picture” or “Clip Art” to choose appropriate images.

If you cannot draw well, and have an opaque projector (inexpensive versions can be purchased at arts and crafts stores, such as Michael’s or Hobby Lobby and online). You simply project an image onto a flip chart page and trace it. You can also create a PowerPoint slide and project that onto paper for tracing.

An important thing to remember when using images is that you must get permission and cite copyright owners when using material that you do not develop yourself in order to limit legal liability.

3. Use Colored Shapes to Set Key Terms and Titles Apart. This will help differentiate them from other words on the page. For example, you might use clouds, stars, circles, bursting bombs, or geometric shapes drawn in various colors to highlight a concept, word or phrase.

4. Attach Key Concepts Written on Cut Out Shapes that you attach to the page with masking tape, Velcro, or artists adhesive on the back of each shape. For example, “bright ideas” might be elicited from participants and written on lightbulb shaped cutouts in a variety of colors. Learners could then come up and post their idea on a flip chart page and explain their thinking about it. That page could then be posted on the wall for reference later and viewing by learners during breaks.

5. Add Borders to Flip Chart Pages with either colored markers or colored masking tape. You can now buy tape at office supply and craft stores in a variety of widths and colors, and with various graphic images. Try to tie to program themes. For example, if you are doing a session on customer service or selling in a specific country, choose colors from that country’s flag or images that relate for your borders.