Using a Flip Chart
This is one of the most powerful successful meeting techniques ever known.
Whenever there are four or more people in the meeting room use a flip chart.
But remember that there’s an art to using a flip chart wisely.
If you’re genuinely facilitating the meeting, and conscientiously noting down what people say as bullet points on the flip chart then there’s every chance no one will object to you doing it.
But approach this in the wrong way and you’ll appear like bossy-boots trying to dominate the room, instructing everyone from the whiteboard like a teacher in school.
You’ll be seen as a control freak.
Remember: The flip chart is to note all the key points in a convenient and highly visible way. Rarely should it be used to instruct, or be seen as a means of control.
Let others come up and use the flip chart if they wish. Be openly democratic about it. Offer the marker pen if someone looks like they want to write on the flip chart.
You should arrange your seat so you sit near the flip chart. Then when you don’t need to use it, you can sit down with the rest of the group. You’re not a permanently-standing-up person.
But be alert. As soon as something relevant is said, or someone makes a point that they think is worthwhile, get up and write it down.
You can also use the flip chart tactically.
For example, if there’s a quiet person in the room who is too polite to shout over the din of the big egos across the table, then you can step in by writing down the quiet person’s comment on the flip chart. They’ll often be quietly grateful to you for your thoughtfulness and powers of observation.
In fact, make sure everyone in the room sees their thought or idea written up there on the flip chart. The more the merrier.
If you do this, people will see you as a genuine facilitator, which is quite acceptable.
And they’ll be pleased that you paid attention to them by noting their comments and contribution.
Sometimes when a person gets on a roll, they can come out with lots of useful comment.
Write it all down. Write in a simple bullet point kind of a way. Don’t be afraid to turn to a fresh page where required.
Be ready to catch the lightning when it strikes.
If people get to like seeing you write up their comments, they’ll contribute more. Which is exactly what you want.
Because sooner or later the great idea, the added-value, is going to emerge. And you’re going to be there for the catch.
So use the flip chart tactically.
Use it to:
- record the bullet points people make
- facilitate for the group
- encourage quiet or shy people
- give confidence or self-esteem to the group
- catch the lightning when it strikes
Remember: So long as people feel comfortable and reasonably relaxed with you as facilitator, there’s a much better chance that they’ll think of a good idea.
Use the flip chart. And keep the pages for when you write the meeting up afterwards.
Get in the habit of using a flip chart wherever possible
Use it to facilitate not dominate
Write everything up, not just the comments that please you. Be fair, and be seen to be fair.
Use short bullets, or single words.
Use a sheet of A4 to list points of you haven’t a flip chart.
How many opportunities can you see to use a flip chart in the next 30 days?