Flip charts are large sheets of paper, usually positioned on a tripod, to be used with thick and differently coloured marking pens. They are a simple tool that may seem “old school”, but they have many advantages when making presentations.
First, they provide a useful way of interacting with your audience: Not only can you present your own ideas and results on flip charts, but you can also use them to immediately record input, feedback and ideas from your audience.
Besides presenting information, a flip chart provides an excellent means of engaging intended users in discussions – for example about results from an evaluation. They can be used when presenting a draft report to encourage discussion of revisions needed, or discussion on actions to take. The paper pads can then be pre-filled with information on a given topic. During the presentation, empty sheets can then be filled in to capture information from brainstorming and feedback sessions. Flip charts can also be used to help stimulate group analysis of data when writing or improving a draft report, for coming up with lists, for example of lessons learned, or for drawing up other kinds of publications based on evaluation findings.
Flip charts, like chalkboards and whiteboards, allow for a certain amount of spontaneity. They are appealing for drawing out concepts to enable better understanding and to get input directly from a group. A variation on this option is to ask people to fill in cards or large “post-it” stickers, and to stick them onto different flip chart sheets during a brainstorm session. These cards can be used to stimulate more discussion and can be easily moved around between sheets if necessary. The sheets can also be hung up on the wall in a meeting or workshop room, to show ongoing developments in the discussions and to encourage additional comments. Later, when the meeting is over, you can remove the sheets and copy the information into a digitized format.
From the Field: Involving Stakeholders in Developing Recommendations
In an evaluation by World Vision, following the field work, the evaluation team produced a preliminary evaluation report. They structured a two-day data interpretation meeting, where the team had program staff work with the data. The team answered specific questions, gave feedback to the report authors on items that were unclear, and challenged findings that seemed unlikely to them. Flip charts were used to facilitate group work on the data and capture ideas. The outcome of this process was that project staff really knew the evaluation data. The evaluation team was confident that this process would ensure staff would thoroughly understand the results and use and refer to the report.
Source: Personal communication with Jamo Huddle, World Vision International.
From: Catholic Relief Services and American Red Cross (2008) ‘Communicating and Reporting on an Evaluation’. http://www.crsprogramquality.org/storage/pubs/me/MEmodule_communicating.pdf
Advice for CHOOSING this option (tips and traps)
- Flip charts offer a simple tool, that is welcome as an alternative to the pervasive powerpoint presentation.
- Flip charts are very useful to help evaluators work in the field with rural people. They do not require electricity, and can be used for drawing as well as writing text.
- Flip charts offer a more interactive and lively alternative to powerpoint presentations.
- The presenter must feel comfortable about moving around and be able to write legibly in front of groups.
- Flip charts may not be useful with large audiences – in this case, using a digitized whiteboard projected on a big screen might be better.
Advice for USING this option (tips and traps)
- Practise working with a flip chart, so that you can feel comfortable with it.
- It should be positioned in such a way that the whole audience can see it.
- Be sure there are several working markers available so that you do not have to scramble for a good marker during the presentation.
- Make sure you have enough paper and also tape or other medium to stick pages to the wall.
- While writing on a whiteboard, flip chart or a blackboard, keep your back away from the audience as much as possible.
- When writing on the paper, write in large letters (practise ahead of time to see what can be read from the back of the room).
Using Flip Charts: This website has a variety of articles on the use of flip charts to improve presentations.
Egan, E. (n.d.). Using a flip chart during your presentation. Retrieved from https://ezinearticles.com/?Using-a-Flip-Chart-During-Your-Presentation&id=2524540
Reynolds, G. (2007, April 22). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.presentationzen.com/presentationzen/2007/04/presentations_e.html
Stetson, V. (2008). Communicating and Reporting on an Evaluation - Guidlines and Tools. Retrieved June 20, 2012, from http://www.crsprogramquality.org/storage/pubs/ME/MEmodule_communicating.pdf