Collaboration is increasingly becoming an essential strategy for running a successful business. Today, 83% of global employees leverage technology, spending 50% of their time collaborating with in-house and remote teams. What’s more, business owners believe that effective collaboration can enhance productivity by nearly 30%.
But how do you ensure effective collaboration? Brainstorming regularly with your team members is a great way to start. Business executives can leverage a physical whiteboard for their brainstorming sessions. A whiteboarding session encourages engagement to ensure all team members contribute to the topic as much as possible.
However, effective whiteboarding requires some skills and tips. This article gives you a more in-depth insight into what is whiteboarding and how to make your sessions more productive.
- 1 What is a Whiteboarding Session?
- 2 7 Tips for Effective and Productive Whiteboarding Sessions
- 3 Takeaways
What is a Whiteboarding Session?
A whiteboarding session entails collaborating with teams through brainstorming, sketching, and writing on physical or digital whiteboards. In addition, remote team members can leverage an online whiteboard for video conferencing. This allows everyone to edit, share, and even comment on online files in real-time.
7 Tips for Effective and Productive Whiteboarding Sessions
You already know how whiteboarding sessions are great when it comes to building a cohesive team, whether online or offline. But, on the flip side, whiteboard meetings can go off-track quickly, especially if you run the session without a defined structure. So here are some tips to get you started more effectively and productively.
1. Know Your Brainstorming Goals
Planning is critical if you’re going to realize the set objectives of the project. Ensure you have clear brainstorming goals before holding whiteboard meetings. For instance, what are the aesthetic features that you want to introduce in a product? How do these features enhance the experience of the end-user? Are you going to select a team to spearhead the project?
Defining these goals before the meeting will ensure you have a fruitful session. Also, it helps if everyone on the team understands these goals before they start coming up with ideas.
2. Leverage the Best Whiteboarding Tools
Whiteboards are essential for holding meetings and brainstorming sessions. They are much easier to read than sticky notes, which will help keep everyone engaged. And with a few organization ideas, like creating columns for each topic or using different colored markers to break up text, you’ll be able to get the most out of your meeting. However, all whiteboarding tools are not equal. Some feature standard tools, while others come with bonus features to compliment an intense collaboration session.
So, what should you look for in the best whiteboarding tool? Besides cost, ensure the board is simple for everyone to use. For instance, anyone should be able to pick up a marker and illustrate ideas on the board easily. Digital options that facilitate file sharing and document transfer through a VPN might be important to your team for security reasons.
3. Build a System for Collaboration
Collaboration is effective only if all members get equal opportunities to contribute or dissent. In other words, the process should be creative instead of chaotic. In that case, you would want a specific brainstorming technique that works for your team.
Popular brainstorming strategies that you can implement include figure storming, brainwriting, rapid ideation, and the eidetic image method. There are other techniques, too, all with varying pros and cons. Engage your team to discern which one works best for them.
4. Use Other Online Collaboration Tools
Virtual whiteboards come with various online tools to enhance your collaboration process. For instance, you can access visual aids, chat boxes for communication, or even segmented boxes. Even better, users can upload images to share graphs, statistics, and the progress of individual work.
Moreover, you can also use other third-party collaboration tools, such as Slack. Slack allows team members to communicate through encrypted channels. Also, participants can reply to individual messages via threads. This makes future follow-up easier.
5. Organization is Key
Brainstorming sessions can get heated sometimes. Everyone wants to contribute and see their points jotted down. After a long session, you can end up with a full whiteboard that looks pretty chaotic. This can distract the team, especially when any other business ideas overlap the main ones.
That said, always aim to organize whatever you write on the board in a structured way. Start with the main ideas as you trickle down to the minor points. Also, you can approach the topic with a visual representation, say a chart.
6. Begin Every Session with a Clean Slate
It’s good to build upon points discussed in previous meetings. However, that doesn’t mean building upon old writings. Instead, it will help if you clear them off and start afresh. That way, you give your team a fresh start for generating new imaginative ideas.
Starting a new session without cleaning off the whiteboard can distract participants from the task at hand. Moreover, the team will be reluctant to bring up new ideas about the same project. However, if the notes discussed earlier are important, you can take a picture and refer back to it later.
7. Assign Tasks and Deliverables to Team Members
Many people make the mistake of holding a whiteboarding session and simply walking away after the meeting is over. Unfortunately, this doesn’t yield any positive gains after investing a lot of time in the meeting. That said, always assign tasks and deliverables to follow up on the issues you discussed during the meeting.
Alternatively, the assigned tasks can act as guidance for the next brainstorming session. This allows team members to have the project in mind throughout. Most importantly, assigning deliverables enables team members to think over the ideas they discussed earlier.
Leverage these tips to get the best out of your whiteboarding sessions. The more organized you are, the better the ideas you’ll generate. Most importantly, the type of whiteboard you’re using has a lot to do with the team’s overall success.