3 Lessons that the Women’s Marches Hold for L&D Professionals


On January 21, 2017, the day after the U.S. Presidential Inauguration, about a gazillion women, men and children took to the streets in cities across the United States and around the world, in order to make sure that their voices, although not represented by the incoming administration, could nonetheless be heard.

When the marching began, I was sitting in an airport in Nairobi, Kenya, traveling from one training program to another. I watched the images roll in on CNN and I listened to several people from Kenya, standing behind me, exclaim: “HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of people are marching?! Wow.” It struck me that there were some very real lessons that learning and development professionals could take away Continue reading

Flipchart vs. PowerPoint: A Visual Aid Royal Rumble

Kaboom in the Training Room

Over the past year, I’ve delivered a series of train-the-trainer sessions to various groups of non-training professionals.  I intentionally designed these sessions without a single PowerPoint slide in order to demonstrate that you don’t need PowerPoint to facilitate a presentation.

I cut my teeth in training and facilitation as a Peace Corps Volunteer.  Recently, an old Peace Corps friend of mine remarked with surprise that I still use flipcharts when there are so many other technologies to make a presentation look and feel more professional.

Here are the four reasons why I will never abandon flipcharts:

1. Flipcharts are forever (or at least for the entire presentation).  Once you advance a slide, the learner can no longer look at it.  The image is gone and attention has shifted to something new.  When I facilitate a train-the-trainer session, I spend an entire day referring to a 4-step training design model.  I find myself pointing to the following flipchart when I’m introducing the concept, later when participants are asked to design a practice lesson plan and yet again later when feedback is given during practice facilitation sessions.

Four Training Design Steps

2. Flipchart is dynamic.  Yes, you can annotate slides while you are presenting (Tamara Bloom gives some quick tips on how to do this).  My personal preference, however, is to pop the cap off a marker at any point without worrying about right-clicking and selecting a drawing tool.  Have you ever tried to write words using a mouse and a drawing tool?  I find it easier to simply walk up to and write on any visual aid posted around the room.  I’ve also found this helps keep a natural flow of conversation and participation.

3. Flipchart shows I care.  Below are two different welcome messages.  What kind of tone do you think each one sets?

PPT Welcome       Flipchart - Welcome

One of my participants described the difference between PowerPoint slides and flipcharts this way: “I really feel a PowerPoint presentation is similar to getting an email. I get them every day, and they look pretty much the same.  Flipcharts are a little like a hand-written letter you might get in the mail.  A little more unique.  And someone obviously took some time to write it out.”

4. Flipchart spreads session ownership.  When I use PowerPoint, I like to be able to walk around the room and advance slides using a wireless remote.  The fact of the matter is, however, that when I use PowerPoint, I’m really the only person in the room who owns the presentation.  When it comes to flipchart, everyone in the room can have access to it and can contribute and write on it to create new content.  Flipchart can be a portal that transforms the session from sole proprietorship to true partnership.

 Flipchart - Socialism

The Train Like A Champion Blog is published Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  If you think someone else might find this interesting, please pass it along.  If you don’t want to miss a single, brilliant post, be sure to click “Follow” at the top of the page!

A Poem for Mr. Sketch

This post is for anyone who has ever fallen in love with a particular office supply, only to come to work one day to find your beloved office supply has gone missing because someone else apparently loved that office supply, too.

Mr Sketch

Folks have gathered

From near and from far

Taking their seats…

And there you are

Lying still

Atop the tables

An array of colors

White lettered labels

“Mr. Sketch” someone mutters

Removing your top

Writing a name tag

In the middle he stops

He sniffs

Yes, there’s definitely a hint

Could it be? Could it possibly be?!

Yes, that’s definitely mint

Looking around

All over the room

People in suits

Huffing your perfume!

There’s apple and cinnamon,

Orange and blueberry

Licorice, grape,

Raspberry and cherry

No icebreaker needed

For strangers who walked in the door

Bond and write

And smell and smile and giggle galore

Mr Sketch

You’re simply the best

This much is true

You don’t run dry or gunk up

You don’t bleed through

The room may be too cold

Or for some it’s too hot

The mic screeches with feedback

No more coffee in the pot

The projector bulb blew

And the DVD won’t play

Mr. Sketch you are my one constant

All through the day