Chapter 8: Using Visual Aids
Posters and Flip Charts
Posters and flip charts could be called the “prehistoric PowerPoint ” because they have been used by countless business professionals, teachers, and students for years. They are still effective for presenting bulleted main points or other graphics. Posters and flip charts have a significant advantage over drawing on the board in the front of the room, since you can prepare the visual in advance at your leisure and fine-tune it before the speech.
Posters and flip charts can be used for any words or graphics that you want the entire audience to see. These items are also helpful if you want to write or draw information during a speech. When using a poster or flip chart, limit the number of words per line and lines per page and write large enough (and neatly enough) so your audience can clearly see and understand your information and data. You’ll also want to limit the number of colors and fonts. Don’t make your chart or poster so distracting that it competes with you.
When writing or drawing on a flip chart or easel during a presentation, attempt to stand on the side opposite your dominant hand. This will minimize the amount of time you spend with your back to the audience. An effective way to use the prepared flip chart is to add a line or two, or a word or two, during the speech. This gives the speech and visual a prepared look, and adds an air of spontaneity.
If you plan to use a flip chart or a poster board, try to conceal it until it is used. Keep it turned away from the audience or keep a blank sheet over the first page. When finished using the visual material, take it from view, so the audience can again focus on you and not on the visual that you are no longer talking about.
Finally, plan for all eventualities. If you need a flip chart easel, will it be available on the day of the speech? What is the backup plan? If a stand is not available, consider an alternate solution that still ensures visibility. If a person is assigned to hold the poster board, be certain that s/he does not create a distraction.