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Like any tool, when used thoughtfully a whiteboard can yield big dividends. A whiteboard can help get teams on the same page, drive brainstorm sessions, and garner stakeholder approval. But! There’s using the whiteboard and then using it well. Learning how to use the space, write legibly, and convey concisely takes practice. Some tips and tricks won’t hurt, either. Read on to up your whiteboard game.
Rule of ThreeThink ahead about the hierarchy of your messaging. Plan how much space each concept will use. A graphicfacilitation article states this approach well: “Choose font size in accordance with the information hierarchy?—?more important things should be written in a larger font. Usually, three sizes are enough.” Designers know to keep font styles under three to avoid a cluttered look, and the same concept holds true for whiteboards.
Black, Capital, Block LettersOther helpful takeaways from that article included to use capital block letters for the most legible handwriting. Cursive can be difficult to discern, so save your calligraphy for invitations. Block letters are most easily recognized and capital letters tend to keep more even spacing. Black marker is best, because some colors can be harder to read (especially red).
Staying on TrackBrainstorm sessions can quickly lose their focus. Here’s an excellent idea–a visual “parking lot”–designating an area of the board for unrelated ideas to still keep in mind. This officeninjas article explains how it’s done: “People are bound to bring up ideas, pet projects, and issues that have nothing to do with the topic that’s on the table. Whether you truly want to save that idea for a future discussion, or you simply want to appease the contributor, a whiteboard “parking lot” can be helpful. Simply square off a section of one of the whiteboard’s corners and jot down any points that fall outside of the meeting’s goals. The idea is to revisit the parking lot thoughts at a later, more appropriate time.”
Keep it SimpleThis article has a great list of “dos and don’ts.” The list of don’ts is particularly pointed–and super helpful.
With a little planning and a couple of new techniques, the whiteboard can become your best friend. Eliminate the squinting and asking for what phrases say by taking your time with capital block letters. And keep the concepts easily digestible by sticking to the essential points.