Taking Notes on a Flipchart

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taking notes on a flipchart

A flipchart is a great alternative to a PowerPoint or keynote presentation because it is in the moment, rather than just talking at you can be interacting with the group taking notes - capturing their thoughts.

Tips for taking notes on a flipchart

Make sure you have enough paper and pens that work.

Get the flipchart easel at the right height for you - if you find it is too low when you have started, don't be afraid to sit down and write on the chart; it keeps you at eye level with the group and it's easier on your back.

Write large - usually much larger than you think. If in doubt write something as a test and then go to the back of the room to see if you can read it there.

Develop your own "house-style" perhaps capitals for a title and lower case for the body text. However, if your writing isn't great capitals can make it neater and therefore easier to read.

More tips for taking notes on a flipchart

If your writing slopes use a flipchart that has lines or squares to guide you. Pre-draw some lines faintly in pencil. It's easier to buy pre-drawn charts. Your time is precious, use it wisely and to be more productive.

Prepare flipcharts in advance, perhaps with key questions on them, or write key question in pencil to be ready for the session. This is especially useful if you are using complicated or little known words and phrases that you might need to spell, or ideas you need to express.

If you are confident at drawing then use icons to help bring your charts to life - if not then write what you need to show and what is being said.

Taking notes on a flipchart may feel daunting at first, but it can really help the energy in the training session, as you are capturing people's ideas and thoughts in the moment. 

The flipchart can then be used as a poster back in the workplace to remind people of the training session, assuming that the poster wouldn't be on show to your customers.

Getting the group to use flipcharts

When you have broken the groups down into pairs or smaller groups, giving each group a page of flipchart can be a great way of capturing their thoughts, questions and ideas.

A flipchart is one of your tools. As a trainer, you will be used to using them. Your participants might be daunted by using them, so take time to set up an exercise well, and explain what you want them to capture on a flipchart.

Remember, some people feel nervous about writing because of poor spelling or their writing is not very easy to read, so ask for a volunteer to scribe the session on behalf of the group. You often find the neater writers step forward. Tell people not to worry about spelling, if it's not important for their role.

Make sure they put a clear heading on the flipchart so that it is easy for people to see what they are discussing, (this helps to keep the session on track) and also focuses them on the exercise.

Where appropriate make it an option that they can tell their story in pictures if they prefer. Asking people to draw their ideas can be a creative and memorable way for them to communicate their thoughts. This can sometimes make ideas easier to follow, especially where you are looking at processes. Some people simply express themselves more clearly using graphics rather than text. Graphics are often a great form of shorthand.

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