Do you remember those old school projectors they used to have in school? Whenever the projector was pulled out in class, I knew I was going to have fun. Teachers would allow us to go up and write on the projector, and it just felt more collaborative.
That's kind of what whiteboarding is like in business. As marketers, you probably have a lot of brainstorming sessions where you're laying out landing pages, writing copy, and creating a strategy for a campaign.
And brainstorming sessions and whiteboarding go together like peanut butter and jelly.
In this post, we'll dive into whiteboarding and learn how you can use this process to improve your brainstorming sessions.
What is Whiteboarding?
Whiteboarding is the process of collaborating during brainstorming sessions on a whiteboard. This can be done remotely or in person. Virtually, whiteboarding sessions use a tool where you can draw, place sticky notes, chat, send files, or type notes. The virtual whiteboards should have the same benefits as whiteboarding in person -- every team member can comment, edit, and share.
While whiteboarding sessions are great, it's easy to lose control over a brainstorming session. To conduct a successful whiteboard session, we've gathered a few tips.
1. Be creative.
One of the best parts of a whiteboarding session is that it allows your team to be creative. People can share documents, put up sticky notes as reminders, and share their ideas with the team. When you're in person, it's fun to let all your team members use the whiteboard, so everyone has a chance to write down notes and share their thoughts.
2. Stay focused.
With any brainstorming session, it's easy to lose track of what the goal is. To stay focused, we suggest writing out your goal at the top of your whiteboard, so everyone can see and knows what they're supposed to be doing. When ideas that are off-topic are brought up, write them down in a section on the side for ideas to follow up on.
3. Encourage meaningful conversation.
Brainstorming sessions also allow teams to have meaningful conversations about different ideas. No idea is too small, and everyone should feel confident speaking their mind. The whole point of a whiteboarding session is to engage and collaborate with members of your team. It's supposed to be interactive. These sessions also help people feel heard and like their ideas are being taken into consideration.
4. Keep the board organized.
When you're running a whiteboard session, it's important to keep the board organized. Even though it's brainstorming, your ideas should be labeled in sections, so everyone knows what idea pertains to what topics. This is also where you can add a side section just for “off-topic" ideas. You'll still want to write those down, even if it doesn't have to do with the topic at hand, so you can come back to it later and keep the meeting focused.
Now that we know what whiteboarding is and how to be successful when you're running a meeting, let's review some remote whiteboarding tools to help you be successful in a virtual brainstorming session.
As we've discussed above, whiteboarding can be done remotely as well. This doesn't need to be an in-person activity. In fact, remote whiteboarding meetings can be just as effective because everyone can use the whiteboard at once, and have full visibility of it at the same time.
Below, let's review some whiteboarding tools to use in your video conferencing meetings.
A great thing about Zoom is that a whiteboarding tool is built into the video conferencing software. If you use Zoom for your remote meetings, then you don't need to look any further for a whiteboard tool.
To access the Zoom whiteboard, click the Share Screen button, and then click Whiteboard. One of the features we like about this tool is that other participants can annotate and participate in writing on the whiteboard (if allowed). It's also nice because you can turn that feature off if you want as well.
Miro is an online visual whiteboard platform where you can collaborate with teams anywhere. You can use this tool during remote meetings for workshops, brainstorming and ideation, research, strategy and planning, and mapping and diagramming.
This tool has an infinite canvas, a robust set of widgets, and prebuilt templates to help you get started. You can even use this tool to create customer journey maps, wireframe your website, develop a roadmap and plan your next sprint.
If you aren't using Zoom, or would rather use another whiteboard tool, Microsoft has an excellent option. With this tool, all team members can edit and comment directly on the screen in real-time.
The whiteboard is also infinite, meaning you can draw, type, or add sticky notes as much as you need. You can also save your whiteboards, so you can continue using the tool as much as you want, while also going back to old sessions.
Limnu is an online whiteboard tool that's realism is the biggest seller. It feels like a real whiteboard, but it has the features of online whiteboarding such as collaboration. Anyone can edit in real-time, but you can also limit permissions if need be. Additionally, there's a chat box function which is helpful for those who don't have editing permissions to give their point of view.
Whiteboarding is a great way to collaborate and brainstorm with your team. And the best part is, you don't need to be in-person to have collaborative meetings. With remote whiteboarding tools, you can hold a brainstorming session just as easily.
Originally published Feb 11, 2021 7:00:00 AM, updated June 11 2021