Think back to being in the office, grabbing a dry erase pen, and jumping in front of a whiteboard. Besides double-checking to make sure you haven’t grabbed a permanent marker, what comes to mind when you think of whiteboarding? For most of us, this method of communication offers a unique and memorable way to convey information. Research tells us that visuals are a far more concrete and easy way for people to remember content – a psychological concept called the picture superiority effect. Thanks to science, we know that anchoring a conversation topic in strong visuals increases the recall rate by up to 65%! Those numbers are hard to ignore.
For these reasons and others, whiteboarding is the go-to instrument for brainstorming, collaborating, or sharing information. A whiteboard session is also often used as a sales tool for explaining customer challenges, or the cause-and-effect relationship of using technology within a business. Another example is using whiteboarding to illustrate complicated topics, whether it’s diagraming or mapping out a proposed SD-WAN solution, adding a data backup or storage system, or sketching out any number of technical concepts.
With so many people working remotely today, it’s more important than ever for us to learn how to share ideas and collaborate in new and useful ways. So, that begs the question – does virtual whiteboarding translate in the digital era? Is it still an effective way to communicate? In short, the answer is yes!
Remember Kindergarten and show & tell? Think about how boring show and tell would have been without the show part. Don’t be that kid. Three of the most popular cloud communication technologies with built-in whiteboard capabilities are Zoom, Cisco Webex, and Microsoft Teams. All three platforms have features for creating a whiteboard, either from a phone application, desktop, or tablet. And, as the meeting host works, adding to the whiteboard, their changes are saved automatically and shared with the meeting attendees. For those hosting a casual brainstorming session, hosts can ask for immediate feedback from the audience. Or if it’s a more formal session with a larger audience, the host can restrict participants from adding visuals. For those informal sessions, these tools also allow users to edit existing whiteboard drawings offline to enhance collaboration or build upon meeting ideas over time.
Besides jumping in and learning your organization’s cloud communication whiteboard capabilities, what should you keep in mind?
Whiteboarding, virtually or not, isn’t necessarily hard, but it is a skill that takes time to develop. Specifically, understand how your virtual meeting interface works! That way you can gracefully share content when the time comes. Practice drawing the images you intend to use and make sure they’re not overly complicated or time-consuming to illustrate. While visuals can engage the audience, they may add an unnecessary distraction if you’re not prepared. By rehearsing and learning your virtual visual tools, you can make your whiteboarding session crisp and highly memorable.
While you don’t have to be a great artist to tell a memorable visual story, you do need to be prepared and thoughtful. Keep your images simple and select words with an impact to include on your whiteboard. Also, take the audience on a journey, finding ways to raise a question or reveal a gap in their knowledge. Ensure your message has a destination, and fill in those gaps to keep your audience connected.
While it can be uncomfortable at first, taking measured breaks throughout the conversation lets the audience put the pieces together of your conversation. Individuals appreciate the opportunity to internalize what you just said and think about how it applies personally.
Most believe that whiteboarding does translate to the digital era. Virtual whiteboarding – done right – is still an effective way to engage with people and ultimately elevate your relationship and interaction with the audience. It can spark meaningful conversations, build trust, and draw people in because even in a remote work setting, people like that the format is informal, human, and let’s face it – imperfect. Do you have questions about virtual whiteboarding? Do you have a story to tell about your whiteboard experience? Or do you have questions about optimizing your UC application? Talk to Anexinet! We’re here to listen and help.
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