Whiteboarding Tips and Tricks V.1


I was at a holiday event the other evening where I met a lot new and interesting people; had a great time. Naturally, and inevitably, the question surfaced during one or more conversations: “So, what do you do?” I then proceeded to talk about Wipebook, subsequently imparting the functional aspects of our products such as portability, overall greenness, et cetera. And in one particular conversation I described the Wipebook as being very similar to a whiteboard, but more nimble because you can take it with you wherever you go; it’s your own personal, portable, whiteboard space for capturing and communicating your ideas. The individual’s response: “Awesome, I love whiteboards. I'm a whiteboard person too.” Which was pretty cool -- well to me anyways. (If you are whiteboard person you'll know what I mean.)

Then things proceeded to get a little geeky as this individual and I opted to spend the next 30 minutes or so sharing our own little whiteboarding tips and tricks with each other. And as it turns out, today I was reflecting on the conversation and I thought to myself: This could actually be useful information for someone. So, here it is: 4 Simple whiteboard tips to help spruce-up your meetings and brainstorming sessions.

  1. Chairing Meetings: The whiteboard could be used to solicit additional topics to augment the present meeting agenda to promote engagement within the group. These points should be written in bullet form for instance, and visual to everyone. This will help keep the group on task and ensure that team members are cognizant of everyone’s time, including their own;
  2. Focus: It’s easy to get carried away when you are in front of a smooth writing surface like a whiteboard, which makes for the perfect, conducive, medium for you to capture and relay your thoughts quickly and effectively to the group. But this continuity could have the opposite affect and convolute the primary message that you want to impart to the group. So remember to stay focused: Keep your whiteboard session narrowed to only include your main points; don’t let your doodles, notes, and creative ideas sway out of control; 
  3. Share the power: The whiteboard space is an awesome communication and visualization canvas. With that being said, just because you have the marker doesn’t necessarily imply that you are king of the room. Instead, why not share the power, and use the whiteboard space as an opportunity to get others engaged and involved. For instance, solicit feedback, and encourage whiteboard-interaction from the team; and finally
  4. Share the information: Before the advent of the ubiquitous smart-phone, 9 times out 10 whiteboard sessions would get lost in the ether. Now it’s easy to share and retain these valuable ideation sessions forever by making use of the smart-phone’s camera. As such, remember to take 10-15 minutes after the meeting and share photos comprising the ideas presented on the whiteboard space, along with an adequate summary of topics presented, and a list of actionables for the team members. Google Docs or Evernote is great platform for this sort of thing.

Finally, if this post proved to be useful to anyone, please let me know in the comments section below. By the way, any feedback is welcome -- positive or negative. 

Have a good one.