Why Flip Charts Will Always Outlive Powerpoint (Guest Post by Joanne Westley)

by Oliver Adria on 16/04/2012

The day of my big presentation, everything went wrong. I arrived early to set up my Powerpoint slides, but it all went downhill immediately.

My laptop wouldn’t interface with the projector. I’d put my Powerpoint file on a thumb drive, so I borrowed someone’s computer—but when I opened the file, my slides all looked a little wonky. There was no pull-down screen in the room, so the images on my slides looked grainy against the bare wall.

I forged ahead, getting more and more nervous. I’d thought I knew the material, using the bullets on my slides as cues for each new point. But when a network virus suddenly froze the application, I realized that I was 100% dependent on Powerpoint to deliver my presentation.

Let’s just say that I didn’t leave a terrific impression that day. But this story could have been a triumph, not a tragedy, if I’d used a flip chart instead. I’d be remembered as someone with initiative, humor, and the ability to connect with people… not someone whose nerves fell apart when the equipment failed.

Forget Powerpoint! Here are four reasons that I recommend using flip charts instead.

1. You’ll be a better presenter.

Using a flip chart means that the visual is only there to support your presentation, not take the place of it. Too many people think that Powerpoint slides will do the work for them.

When you ARE the presentation, you’ll know your material inside and out. That means you’ll be more confident—and you’ll have greater credibility in the eyes of your audience.

Even better, there are no technological excuses, because the equipment can’t possibly fail! If the electricity goes out, you and your flip chart are still good to go.

2. Powerpoint bores your audience, but a flip chart entertains them.

With a Powerpoint presentation, the lights are dimmed and all attention goes to the screen. This is the least effective way to deliver an important message. Your audience has lost its connection with you and is about to fall asleep!

Flip charts put you, the presenter, at the center of attention. Instead of staring blankly at a screen, they’ll be making eye contact with YOU. If you’re doing your job right, the audience will enjoy watching you so much that they’ll forget they’re learning.

3. Using a flip chart gives you room to be spontaneous.

An over-rehearsed presentation is just a lecture, and that’s boring. A flip chart lets you be flexible with your delivery, depending on the feel of the room. And since you can decide how much to pre-draw, you can adjust the spontaneity level to suit your audience.

4. Your audience will remember you, and your message.

Your flip chart presentation will convey more about you as the speaker than Powerpoint ever could. Have fun with it, and the audience will have fun as well. When your audience is engaged, they’ll understand your message… and they’ll want to continue working with you in the future.

Joanne Westley is a senior manager in the supply chain of the UK’s Jansen Display. In her spare time Joanne likes to go mountain biking as well as hiking in the Lake District.

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