Mar 18, 2012

5 Tips for Effective Whiteboard Presentations

This is a guest post by David Gerrard. He works for Boards Direct, one of the UK's largest online retailers of whiteboards, glassboards, noticeboards and other office supplies.

In an age where everyone seems to be cranking out endlessly dull Powerpoint presentations, a return to the traditional whiteboard format can often be a more engaging and effective alternative. There are, however, some differences when it comes to using this method and in both preparation and execution, you have to approach it in a different manner.

Here are some tips to help you in presenting effective presentations on whiteboards.

Prepare and Rehearse
In the majority of tasks you approach, preparation is the key to being successful. If you're well prepared you will feel more confident and consequently, present more effectively. When it comes to using a whiteboard, not only do you have to think about what you're saying but – unlike with a Powerpoint presentation – you also have to illustrate aspects of your presentational content. In order to be well prepared you must decide what you're going to draw and what you're going to write. A good thing to do is create a storyboard beforehand, so that you can visually make sense of how the presentation is going to progress and have a clear picture of each particular step.

Be Visual
Rather than filling your whiteboard with reams of text, which your audience will undoubtedly neglect to read, it's important to be visual and include drawings and diagrams to illustrate your points. Don't worry if you don't have an ounce of artistic talent, even the most rudimentary drawings will be more engaging than simply transcribing what you are saying.

This follows on from the last point and simply involves thoroughly explaining the visual aids you've elected to draw. A simple diagram by itself can be completely baffling, but a simple diagram accompanied by a thorough explanation will be extremely effective. You should always remember that people often find visual-based learning very effective.

Improve Your Whiteboard Writing Skills
It's a widely known fact that the quality of one's handwriting seriously deteriorates when writing on a whiteboard. A beautiful cursive style on paper becomes an illegible scrawl when upscaled and written with a marker pen. Practising your whiteboard writing skills before you present allows you to develop a clear and legible style. If your audience can read what you're writing, they will be much more likely to listen and take something valuable away from your presentation.

Organise and Structure Your Whiteboard Space
Rather than just scrawl notes and sketches in a disorganised manner, you should also structure your visual space for maximum impact. When you watch Powerpoint presentations, you often experience information overload as presenters can include as many slides as they feel necessary,  often failing to highlight the most important aspects of the issue they're tackling. With a whiteboard presentation, you will only get one canvas and unless you are continually erasing things, you have to make it count. A clear visual structure will make everything simple for you and clearer for your audience.

If you follow these tips, you'll be well on your way to becoming a whiteboard presentation guru, renowned the world over for your clear and effective style. Ok, so maybe you won't be quite that good, but you will certainly stand out from the Powerpoint masses and learn that engaging your audience is not as hard as it first may seem.

Image source: jannoon028

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