THE TRENDWhite boards are popular among presenters, especially for corporate presentations. Here’s why I prefer to avoid them and use a flip-chart instead (also read here why I avoid PowerPoint).
DELETING YOUR CONTENT WITH A BRUSH STROKEThere is something about simply wiping clean what you’ve put on a white board that renders it unimportant. Some learning styles prefer to take in the information first without writing anything down, and then to make notes afterwards. Allowing time for everyone to copy it before you wipe it off is time consuming and frustrating for those who’ve already copied it. What’s not copied is lost.
YOU CAN’T REFER BACKIt is often useful to refer back to content that you’ve already covered in order to explain or emphasise a new aspect. You can’t very well refer back to an image or diagram that you have already wiped off. With a flip chart all you need to do is turn back the paper and voila, there is the information, as it was, and you can explain away or add to it in order to expand or explain in more detail. This is invaluable to help participants see the bigger picture and connect more dots.
IT MAKES REVISION IMPOSSIBLEResearch shows clearly that revision significantly enhances understanding and recall. When you’ve wiped your white board the information is gone, making revision impossible. If you use a flip chart you can put the sheets up around the room which makes it easy to refer back to. It also allows the group time to revise the content that you’ve covered by discussing each sheet with a ‘review buddy’. Discussing the flip charts in this way creates a closer connection between participants, identifies gaps in understanding and bring useful questions to the fore.
PARTICIPANTS CAN’T TAKE IT HOMEMany participants find it useful to take copies of the information that was shared during presentations to refer back to. To allow participants to take a picture of every white board diagram is time consuming and disruptive. When you have put the flip chart sheets up around the room, participants can take pictures of them after the presentation, or you could offer to photograph and email it to them afterwards.
NEW OR OLDSometimes new technology truly helps us to become more progressive. And., sometimes we get so caught up in the latest and greatest fad that we don’t evaluate what we’re losing by ‘upgrading’. As much as there might be a place and a time for white boards (e.g. for brain storming), perhaps it’s not the be-all and end-all for your presentations. Nine times out of 9 a good old-fashioned flip chart will enhance your presentation more than you think.
TRY ITThe next time you present, try a flipchart and see what happens! Also read this article on why I avoid PowerPoint.
- There are a number of drawbacks to using a white board during your presentations.
- Most of these drawbacks concern the loss of valuable (or perhaps, invaluable) information.
- Using a white board makes it impossible to refer back to content already covered, which is sometimes essential to bring about a bigger perspective and deeper understanding for participants.
- Putting completed flip chart sheets around the room allows for easy revision of the content, which significantly enhances retention and understanding.
- Sometimes ‘upgrading’ to new technology (not that white boards are new) isn’t actually ‘upgrading’ at all.
Creator, Fall in Love with Presenting & International Trainer