Whiteboards are great tools. Tools to help us think. Tools to help us shape vision, unpack ideas and build out super-sized plans.
A whiteboard can help you engage team members, explore crazy ideas, and expedite problem-solving. They can be powerful tools for transforming a team into an effective, strategic and creative micro-community.
Having facilitated several hundred sessions in the last several years, we’ve tried to develop some consistent habits and best practices for facilitating effective sessions. Here are a few more tips for you:
1. Obtain the biggest and baddest board you can find.
We think the only bad whiteboard is a small whiteboard. Go big!
2. Bring fresh markers and cleaning supplies to every session.
There’s nothing worse than showing up for your meeting only to discovery used up and worn out markers. Recently, we created our own “white board kit” to help ensure that we have all the supplies we need. That way, when working on location with clients, we can be sure that we are ready to rock it. I know, weird, huh?
3. Share the markers and open up the conversation.
For fresh ideas, throw the marker to a team member who is engaged in the conversation and invite them to facilitate. This kind of collaboration fosters communication from quieter team members who might not otherwise engage.
4. Keep your board clean so it actually looks and stays “white.”
Give your eyes a break! Use color sparingly and for emphasis only. Simplicity helps the brain easily organize and process concepts.
5. Clean up the mess.
When you facilitate your sessions well, it should stimulate a ton of great ideas and get downright messy. Take a 10 minute break. Rewrite and organize content as it develops to help reinforce what is emerging as most important in the discussion. Distinguish between big ideas and small ones, and break up your creative sessions accordingly. This helps build focus. Big ideas help build brands. Small ideas flesh out strategy.
So, go breathe life into your white boarding and develop some good habits for consistent quality sessions!