While mentoring some colleagues to help them overcome their fear of public speaking and to improve their presentation skills, I noticed a distinct “fear of the flip chart”. What is it and how does one overcome it?
It can be easy to spot someone with a fear of public speaking because they are glued to the spot where they began their speech and they refuse to move. The idea of using any kind of props (e.g. flip charts, handouts, etc) is terrifying because they would have to move and it might make the experience go on even longer.
However, an important public speaking tip is to use flip charts and other props to support your presentation. The way you use your flip chart is a critical part of public speaking. Here are some important public speaking tips and techniques for using a flip chart effectively:
1. Arrive early and be sure that the flip chart is positioned so that you can get to it easily when you need it.
2. Be sure that it is positioned so that you can stand next to it and write while still facing your audience (ie. Do Not Turn Your Back On Your Audience!)
3. Make sure you have several markers that work and immediately throw away the ones that don’t work. You don’t want to be scrambling to find a good marker during your presentation.
4. Only use blue or black markers please. It is too difficult for those at the back of the room to see other colors. Red is OK to accentuate things already written in blue or black.
5. When writing on the chart, make your letters at least 2-3 inches tall.
6. Draw lines in pencil pages beforehand to help you keep your writing legible.
7. Plan out your pages as you are writing the outline for your presentation. They will be the support for your public speaking presentation.
8. Write notes to yourself, in pencil on the flip chart to help remind yourself of all the important points to be included. I promise your audience won’t see the penciled notes.
9. If you have something that you want to present and then accentuate during the presentation or discussion, write out the flip chart page beforehand so that you can just flip the page to it.
10. If you need to refer to something that you wrote on a page at a later point in your presentation, rip off the page and ask someone to tape it up on the wall – don’t forget to bring big masking tape for this.
Flip charts are a great way to be interactive with your audience and get their inputs to your presentation. People feel important when you write their words and ideas on paper in front of the room.
I hope that this sparks some ideas on using flip charts to strengthen your public speaking and help to overcome any “fear of the flip chart”.