Using a Whiteboard When Presenting

Welcome back! Today I want to look at some tips about whether and how to use a whiteboard as part of your speech. You should think about a whiteboard in the same way you think about Power Point and any other type of visual aid you might want to use when you make a presentation.

What purpose will it serve? Is there a better alternative? Do you actually need it for a successful speech? What will be lacking without it? Are you willing to put the necessary time into planning on how you’ll use it and practicing with it?

Here are some pros and cons to consider when thinking about using a whiteboard.

Pros

  • – Using a whiteboard adds variety to your presentation and helps keeps your audience engaged.
  • – Adding important points, diagrams, graphs, and other pictures can help your audience remember what you talked about. This is especially true for people who are visual learners.
  • – Using a whiteboard as a tool for engagement can make people feel comfortable speaking up and help create a more collaborative environment.
  • – A whiteboard gives you something to do with your hands while you speak, even if it’s just holding the pen when you aren’t writing

Cons

  • – Visibility can be problematic. It’s challenging to write large and legibly enough for the entire audience to clearly see and easily read what you put on the board. Letters should be at least 3” high and written in a simple, easy-to-read hand.
  • – Just as with any other visual aid, using a whiteboard takes planning and practice. It is one more thing to plan for and be comfortable with using during your presentation.
  • – Whiteboards are usually on the same level as you are. It’s easy to forget to stand to the side so that you don’t block your audience’s view. It’s important for everyone in the room to be able to see it easily. Here is a short clip that demonstrates how to stand in front of and next to the board at appropriate times. Notice that the presenter shouldn’t talk while her back is to the audience. It’s a great time for pausing as we’ve talked about before.

So, if you do decide to use a whiteboard, how can you best prepare?

  • – Think about what points you want to emphasize on the whiteboard and how you will write them. Will you use individual words, phrases, diagrams, or illustrations?
  • – Will you need the entire board for any of the points? How will you transition and at what point will you need to erase the board to make room for your next point?
  • – Practice writing on the board in front of other people. At the very least, practice and then step to the back of the room to see if you can read what you have written.
  • – Be sure you are comfortable and confident integrating the board into your speech.

In closing, just remember that whiteboards are like any other visual aid. They take time and consideration if they are to become a successful part of your repertoire as a public speaker.

Do you use whiteboards in your presentations? I would love to hear your tips for making it work!

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Writen by Dave Griessmann