Perfect presentation with the flipchart – Skillfully stage your own presentation on the flipchart (by Peter Mohr)

Since presentations are designed with the media combination of notebook and beamer, the medium flipchart is used less and less. But especially the flipchart offers some (unfortunately little used) possibilities to make your own presentation appearance interesting. This article is intended to encourage you to use the flipchart as a supplementary or even as a central medium in your presentations.

The flipchart is easy to use without any mishaps:

The flipchart is technically a very simple medium. The flipchart looks like a large drawing pad on stilts. The name flipchart comes from the fact that you can flip the individual visualizations (charts) backwards or forwards (flip). It is often present in lecture rooms as standard equipment.

There’s little need to worry about mishaps with the low-tech medium of flipchart, because there’s no power, no projection lamp, and no software to fail.

In addition, you can use the flipchart quite spontaneously and at short notice without much planning or preparation.

Always available – The flipchart as a permanent medium:

The flipchart is particularly suitable as a so-called permanent medium, where a thought or graphic is to be present and visible in the room for a very long time.

As the presenter, you can always refer back to the representations visible on the flipchart as part of his presentation. If you need the flipchart for further presentations in the meantime, you can simply detach an already finished flipchart sheet and attach it somewhere in the room where it is easily visible using magnets or adhesive strips.

The flipchart (or a sheet hung up in the room) does not push itself into the foreground during the rest of the presentation (in contrast to the beamer) – But with just a brief reference to it, you can focus the audience on the medium again at any time.

It is best to detach the individual sheets of the paper pad before your presentation. Then you can very quickly (and without the risk of tearing) detach the sheets to be hung and hang them individually in the room as permanent media.

During the presentation, the presenter can even distribute a whole series of flipchart sheets around the room, one after the other, to which he can always refer back flexibly. This is also the essential advantage compared to the media blackboard and pinboard. This is because you can only ever address the current letter on these – if you need new space, you have to remove the previous letter. Scrolling back and forth and distribution in the room are not possible with blackboard and pinboard.

Show the red thread – The flipchart as a structure provider (backbone):

The flipchart can also take on the function of a red thread for the entire presentation, due to its nature as a permanent medium. If you deliberately present the outline (agenda) of your presentation on the flipchart instead of in PowerPoint, this has several advantages.

On the one hand, the outline (agenda) is permanently visible to every viewer – no matter where you are in your presentation. Viewers can permanently orient themselves to the agenda that is visible at all times.

On the other hand, as the presenter, you can demonstratively show on the flipchart after each bullet point where you are in the outline and which content point is now presented next.

This works especially well if you also symbolize your progress on the flipchart with a moving magnet. In English, this demonstrative orientation on a recurring structure is called the “backbone method”, because it makes the backbone of the entire presentation clearly visible.

In addition, this also creates a refreshing change of media every now and then for a short time.

Always ready – The flipchart as a spontaneous medium:

The flipchart is especially good for quickly visualizing spontaneous thoughts. This allows you as a presenter to respond very individually and situationally to the interests, characteristics and questions of the audience during your presentations.

But you can represent not only spontaneous thoughts flexibly. You can also use the flipchart very well to develop a simple visualization planned in advance before the eyes of the audience. Or you spontaneously (or planned) add supplementary words or symbols to flipchart sheets that you have already brought along.

Really gripping – The flipchart as a shirt-sleeved medium:

Especially the (seemingly) spontaneous additions on the flipchart make you look very engaged and active as a presenter. After all, you’re literally tearing both legs out in front of the audience if you keep highlighting, crossing out or adding to something on the flipchart. This effect can be enhanced by the use of magnets: highlight something by attaching a red magnet to an important point on the flipchart with a loud CLACK – or slide a magnet along parallel to your verbal content on the visual stations on the flipchart.

Not in spite of, but precisely because of these often imperfect and shirt-sleeved additions to the flipchart, you come across as a very active, committed and hands-on presenter. You can hardly achieve such an effect with the sterile click on the wireless mouse.

Therefore, with a few interspersed shirt-sleeved flip chart sequences, you can also give a framing beamer presentation an overall gripping character. And customers like to buy from hands-on people – especially when it comes to a long-term partnership and the joint handling of large projects.

Conceals urge to move – Use the flipchart as a movement alibi

Many presenters have to move all the time. They walk up and down or make constant erratic movements with their hands. Although they know this, they still find it difficult to appear calm in front of an audience. The flipchart is now an excellent medium for channeling this urge to move in a meaningful way, thereby providing the movement with an alibi and a function accepted by the audience. This simply “absorbs”, “camouflages” and thus “conceals” the excess of movement.

For example, if you have prepared some DIN A-4 index cards, which you attach to the flipchart one by one with magnets, then the movement made in the process is okay for the audience. Even a flip through prepared flipchart sheets makes the urge to move appear with a meaningful function. Moving in front of an audience with purpose and function works much better than, for example, constantly “twitching” around the room.

There is an interesting side effect to this: stage fright is based on a high concentration of stress hormones in the body. The best way to reduce this increased concentration is through physical exercise. If you now work systematically on the flipchart at the beginning of your presentation, you create for yourself – and again with function and alibi – exactly the movement possibility that will very quickly lower your stage fright.

Encourages movement – Use the flipchart as a trigger for movement:

We find time and time again in our seminars that a planned flipchart deployment goes a long way in helping two types of presenters:

On the one hand, there is the presenter who does not make any gestures in front of the audience and thus appears very stiff and not very engaged to the audience, and on the other hand, there is the presenter who does not modulate his speech much and who appears very uninspiring due to this monotony of speech.

Both types of people will then automatically get more movement in your overall presentation if they already plan such phases at the beginning of your presentation, where you show, write or pin something on the flipchart.

This planned need for movement sets in motion the movement of the body (= gesture) and also the movement of speech (= modulation). Usually, the gestures and modulation then also remain much more in motion throughout the presentation. The movement required at the flipchart stimulates the other movement areas (gesture + modulation).

Peter Mohr holds a degree in adult education. Until 1995, he worked as an Air Force officer for the Federal Ministry of Defense. His basic principle is:  Highest quality through highest specialization.  Therefore, PETER MOHR has been working since 1995 as an absolutely specialized trainer, speaker and coach on only one topic: “PRESENTING SUCCESSFULLY”.  Peter Mohr has already conducted more than 1000 presentation trainings and authored 15 books and audio books on the subject of SUCCESSFUL PRESENTATION. As a former officer, he deliberately designs his lectures and trainings in a very ornate and tight way  – as tightly as a military briefing.
So quite consciously according to the principle: JUST INFO – NO TAINMENT.

Podcast: You can get numerous tips and tricks on the subject of SUCCESSFUL PRESENTATION in Peter Mohr’s podcast:äsentations-tipps-per-podcast.