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3 Whiteboard Tips


by Bob Goodyear

One of the most effective methods for presenting is using a whiteboard instead of a PowerPoint deck. I really like to use the whiteboard because it allows me to be able to ask questions and reflect the responses from my audience on the whiteboard. While we talk a lot about PowerPoint on this blog with our resident expert, Tom Nixon, I feel like we have short-changed other methods of presenting. Because of that, I want to share 3 whiteboard tips with you to help you have another method of making a memorable presentation.

Tip #1

Before starting your whiteboard session, mentally divide the whiteboard into sections. It could be any number, but this allows you to compartmentalize what you are going to talk about into distinct areas of the whiteboard. For example, I might be doing a whiteboard to explain a product. The first section might be for drawing something like industry trends or current problems that customers are facing. The second section might show the business impacts of these trends or problems. The third section would be for showing a product that will help solve the problem and make the trend more useful.

Tip #2

Use more than one color in your drawing and be consistent with what the colors mean. Early in my career, I created whiteboards that using only one color. While the information on the board might have been very useful, it was difficult to follow what I was trying to explain after it was drawn. I’ve watched a lot of different presenters work on the whiteboard and I’ve found that if the presenter is consistent in the usage of color, it is much easier to understand the information on the board after the fact. My standard is to use four colors and the meaning for each color is:

  • Black – Context setting and infrastructure
  • Blue – Process or communication flow
  • Red – Bad/Negative
  • Green – Good/Positive

Tip #3

If you follow Tip #2, you don’t want to rely on the room where you will be meeting to have different colored markers. How many times have you been in a conference room and the only marker available is a half-dried up yellow pen? If you are going to be doing any whiteboard presentations, make sure that you bring your own pens with you. There are all kinds of tips (chisel, fine, ultra-fine), many colors, and a variety of pens available in a package. I prefer having a set of four chisel-tipped pens. Of course, you decide the type of pen you prefer which makes you feel the most comfortable. Just make sure that you use Dry-Erase markers and not permanent ones!

So there are your 3 whiteboarding tips for today:

  1. Mentally divide your whiteboard into sections
  2. Use multiple colors and be consistent in their usage
  3. Take your own Dry-Erase markers to a presentation

Bob Goodyear is a veteran speaker on technology who understands the communications challenges that technical professionals face. Find out how Bob can help your organization with its presentations. Reach Bob by email or by phone at 678.447.7272