With the increase in e-learning, digital classrooms, gamification, and remote work, more individuals must lead online smart whiteboard meetings. But running a successful whiteboarding session can feel a bit daunting. We’ll give you our best tips for running this type of session to help you prepare.

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What is a whiteboarding session?

Whiteboarding is when a group of contributors write, sketch, and brainstorm ideas on a whiteboard. A whiteboard application allows users to collaborate remotely through technology as though they’re participating in an in-person whiteboarding session.

Online whiteboard applications make it easier to facilitate remote group activities, including:

Related: Use This Easy Game Plan to Make the Most of Collaborative Meetings

How whiteboarding boosts collaboration

A whiteboarding session boosts collaboration by bringing teams together to share ideas, ask questions, and develop solutions openly. A whiteboard allows all participants to think creatively and contribute in a no-judgment environment. 

When everyone is working around a whiteboard, whether physical or online, it boosts morale by valuing every member’s ideas and opinions. Whiteboards engage teams to work together to resolve problems or increase productivity. Collaboration is the most effective when every member feels supported and heard.

When are whiteboarding sessions most effective?

Whiteboarding is a great way to engage teams when you need everyone’s input and is particularly effective in these scenarios:

  • Visual thinkingStudies have found that visually capturing ideas can help individuals understand the composition and expression on a deeper level. Many enterprises use visual thinking to illustrate flowcharts and design products.
  • Collaborative learning: Whiteboards enable collaborative learning by creating a learning environment that encourages participation, problem resolution, and experimentation. 
  • Brainstorming: A whiteboard can offer an infinite canvas for ideation. The board can easily be modified, edited, and categorized to allow free-thinking and collaboration.
  • Gathering feedback: An online whiteboard allows teams or individuals to share concepts, documents, or products to get real-time feedback and constructive evaluation.

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Prepare for your first whiteboarding session

Great whiteboarding sessions require careful planning and preparation to be successful. Here are a few tips to ensure your first whiteboard session is effective, then continue reading below for even more strategic advice.

  1. Use an online collaborative whiteboard
  2. Activate your video conference camera
  3. Use a template to focus your session
  4. Leverage the infinite canvas feature
  5. Focus participants during brainstorming
  6. Create a space on the whiteboard for rogue ideas
  7. Encourage all participants to contribute

Use an online collaborative whiteboard

Even if your team isn’t remote, you should use an online collaborative whiteboard because of its robust features that surpass a physical whiteboard’s capabilities. Essentially, an online whiteboard hands every participant a pen and the ability to add to the whiteboard in real-time.

A collaborative whiteboard engages participants and keeps them focused on the meeting’s purpose. Then, the software captures and saves all whiteboard concepts into a viewable document for later reference.

Related: Digital Whiteboarding 101: An intro for Marketers, Designers, and Innovators

Activate your video conference camera

While not everyone enjoys being on camera, having each participant activate their camera will increase engagement. Seeing all the participants makes the session feel more personal and encourages team bonding and culture building.

Participants will also feel more inclined to activate their camera if they’re told beforehand to expect to have it on. Encourage this for all remote meetings to create a company norm, which will reduce employee pushback.

Utilize templates to focus your session

When using an online whiteboard, you can create a template that organizes and structures the meeting to focus on resolving an issue or working toward a common goal. Having a template saves time and helps everyone work more efficiently.

You can create your own whiteboard template or use an existing template. You can create different templates depending on your meeting’s goal, whether it’s brainstorming, strategy planning, or product development.

Leverage the infinite canvas feature

With an online whiteboard, you can take advantage of the infinite canvas feature by uploading any relevant content to enhance and support your meeting discussion. Try to structure the space intuitively so that team members can easily access, examine, and contribute to any uploaded content.

A man leads a whiteboarding session using a Vibe Smartboard Pro.
Visuals and annotation are a great way to focus a strategic whiteboarding session.

Focus participants during brainstorming

To get participants to think outside the box and create new ideas that facilitate better solutions, you need to create a no-judgment environment where all ideas are good—even if they’re out of left field. As the session builds, take some of the best ideas and have participants expand on those concepts to keep the flow going.

Write the main goal or problem to resolve in a central space on the whiteboard to keep everyone’s attention on the main topic. List prompt questions to spark ideation or get things rolling in the direction you need.

Brainstorming is about quantity instead of quality. You can edit and evaluate after the session is over. 

Create a space for rogue ideas

If ideas start to get off-topic, create a space on the board to capture and revisit those ideas later. Creating a “parking lot” for great ideas that aren’t necessarily on topic creates a valid space for them. And now you can refocus the group back on topic.

You can address and revisit any ideas in the parking lot at the end of the meeting to determine their value and relevance moving forward. You’ll want at least five to ten minutes to resolve these ideas and organize how you will address them in the future.

Encourage all participants to contribute

In meetings, some participants are always more vocal than others. An online whiteboard encourages these quieter participants to add value in more subtle ways, such as:

  • Using the chat feature
  • Adding notes
  • Uploading supportive content

Depending on your meeting’s structure, you can assign different participants to lead other discussion points. By empowering them to control the discussion, they can come prepared to lead and contribute.

Related: Lead Meetings with Confidence Using the Ultimate Conference Room Checklist

Make whiteboarding sessions successful with careful planning

Before your first whiteboarding session, ensure that all participants have access to the whiteboard application, are prepared to turn on their camera, and be aware of the session’s goal. When participants have time to prepare, they will be more inclined to share ideas and collaborate with other participants.

Interested in making an interactive whiteboard part of your future whiteboarding sessions? Then register for one of our upcoming webinars where we cover all the ways Vibe can change the way you do business.

Vibe offers a collaborative solution combining an interactive digital whiteboard and innovative smart software. Increase engagement and efficiency at your brainstorming sessions, virtual training, and classroom sessions by integrating your favorite applications with video conferencing and an infinite, mess-free writing canvas. Collaborate today with Vibe.

Looking for the latest in interactive whiteboard technology? Check out Vibe today!

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