More talking, and more slides in our meetings! Says no-one ever. Command the whiteboard, and get everyone more engaged, with these 5 simple tips.
No-one likes boring aimless meetings, or long wordy slide decks, and a big way to make meetings much more engaging is to use a whiteboard. Writing and drawing on a whiteboard is a great way to visually reflect what’s being said in the meeting. In a way, the whiteboard becomes your second voice in the room.
No matter what you think your ability at the whiteboard is, here are 5 ways you can take your own whiteboarding skills from good to great.
1: SLOW DOWN
Drawing on a whiteboard is a lot like public speaking: if we rush it, we won’t sound very confident in our ideas, what we draw will look like an unruly mess, and others won’t be as confident in our ideas either. How often have you seen this sort of thing on the whiteboard, scratched your head and wondered what it was:
Just slow down. Slow. Down. Breathe. Spend just a few extra seconds as you draw, and be more deliberate with each line. It will inject so much more confidence in what you draw and what you say. And when you project more confidence, others will have more confidence in your ideas. And they’ll remember them longer, too. Try to aim for something that’s just a bit neater, like this:
2: Get decent whiteboard markers
There are a lot of really ordinary whiteboard markers out there, and they do you and your ideas no justice at all. Let the ink speak to the quality of your ideas, and get a set of decent markers that don’t run out by the end of the meeting. Chances are, there’s a newsagent or office supplies store near you that has a range of markers to choose from, for less than the price of a cup of coffee. My favourite tends to be a chisel-tip marker (rather than a bullet tip), so I get a chunkier line:
3: Practice your writing
This is related to tip #1: be a little more deliberate and neat with your writing. What you write is like your voice recorded on that whiteboard long after you’re not in the room, so it’s worth putting a bit of effort into your lettering.
We’re not aiming for precise calligraphy with graceful ligatures and flourishes, of course! But just a bit of neatness goes a long way to projecting more of your character, and more of that confidence. Try practicing on the whiteboard before the meeting, in both lowercase and capitals:
4: Master outline text
Outline text is pretty hip right now, and used sparingly as a title or two on your whiteboard it will command attention and inject a little more life and energy into the meeting, for very little effort. It’s best to practice beforehand, if you’re not confident. The best way I know to get good at outline text is to draw the regular letter first, draw an outline around it, and then rub out the first line:
5: Master a small set of icons
Try to practice a small set of simple icon-like pictures that you’re likely to use over and over, from meeting to meeting. Pictures like these tend to be visual metaphors that everyone will recognise. You might like to start with some like the ones below, that represent things like goal, problem, process, conversation, security, company, options, and so on.
These tips will really take what you draw on the whiteboard to the next level, and inject more confidence and life into what you have to say, so why not try them in your very next meeting?
Let me know if and how you’ve put these tips into practice, or maybe a share a killer tip of your own, in the comments section below. Here’s to better whiteboarding, and better meetings!
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