10 Tips for Becoming a Master Whiteboarder Part 2
As we wrote in the first part of this post, success in business depends much on being able to communicate effectively and getting everyone on board–the whiteboard!
The whiteboard is, again, one of the central gathering places for team brainstorming, collaboration and the exchange of ideas. But not everyone feels comfortable using the whiteboard to lead a discussion.
To help, here are five more tips anyone can embrace to become a better whiteboarder.
(For the first part of this two-part post, click here.)
- Using Sticky Notes
Many people don’t realize a key aspect about the whiteboard: it’s yours to use however you wish! Instead of always relying on dry erase pens, try incorporating Post-it or other sticky notes. These will give you more flexibility in introducing certain points that can be removed later to free up space. They’re also a godsend in visualizing plans and whatnot in a way that allow you to quickly rearrange key components or moving targets such as order of priorities and who’s being assigned what. Engineers often rely on sticky notes when creating a scrum task board. Authors commonly use them to plot out their stories. Start-ups can use them to visually plan and organize their VC presentations. Automakers incorporate them into their kanban scheduling systems for just-in-time manufacturing. The possibilities are endless!
- Creating a Parking Lot
One of the biggest challenges of not losing control of your whiteboard during a team brainstorm is when sideline issues are brought up. This can keep very good ideas from getting on the board simply because they don’t fit the current schema. A parking lot, which can be a simple box drawn in a corner of the whiteboard, can help keep track of items that you may want to return to as a group later.
- Sharpening Your Presentation Skills in General
Let’s be clear, a whiteboard doesn’t make you a great presenter. You have to possess that skill before you step up to the whiteboard. Being able to effectively present is one of the basic skills in business that everyone should master. So take a class or sign up for a webinar. Learn how to become a better presenter in general, and you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll improve as a whiteboarder, too.
- Learn from Others
There is no shortage of whiteboard experts to learn from. All it takes is some Googling or YouTubing to find how all kinds of workers, teachers, students, creatives and other professionals are using the whiteboard in creative and effective ways. But you could also pay attention to the people who are already doing it well in your organization. Watch how they blend concise text with visual cues to tell a complete story in a way that engages everyone in the room.
- Plan in Advance and Practice, Practice, Practice
Finally, whiteboarding is a skill that, like most skills, requires practice to master. So do it. Practice, practice, practice. A perfect time for this is when you know a presentation or collaborative meeting is coming up. Think ahead to the things you’ll need to convey. Experiment with how you’ll use the whiteboard to frame the conversation for a more productive meeting. Once you start acquiring your own special style, you’ll realize you’ve learned a new language and quite a valuable one at that!