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Top 10 Writing Tips for Whiteboard Presentation

Whiteboards (or dry erase boards) make it extremely easy to collaborate in hybrid workplaces and classrooms. You can plan, brainstorm, and run effective meetings with whiteboards. However, having a whiteboard at your disposal isn't enough. You must know how to use one effectively to have a successful presentation.



As a marketing manager, I found myself using whiteboards all the time when pitching ideas in the office. Initially, my presentations weren't good. If it wasn't my illegible handwriting, it was poor use of space, awkward illustrations, and many other issues. But after constantly practicing, I now consider myself seasoned in whiteboard presentations and would like to share some great tips.


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Tip 1: Black Markers Offer the Best Contrast


Visibility is a big issue with whiteboards. The best contrasting marker pen color to use on whiteboards is black, which offers the best contrast visually. What's more, the pen should be nearly new or fresh, otherwise, people won't see whatever you are writing.


However, this shouldn't be mistaken to mean that black markers are the only color you should use. There're blue, red, green and many other colors. You can use these colors if you like. But just know that they don't offer the best contrast.


Tip 2: Check for Glare 


To have perfect contrast, ensure your presentation room has ideal lighting levels. Glare from overhead indoor lighting or sunshine can compromise visibility from different angles. You can draw office curtains if you have to and/or switch off some overhead lights above your whiteboard to ensure your whiteboard is perfectly visible from all positions. 


Tip 3: Consider Bringing Your Own Whiteboard Marker


Since black guarantees visibility and you need a pen that is new/nearly new, you should consider having your own pen just in case you need one. This tip stops you from being at the mercy of whatever marker you find in a conference room, boardroom, or other presentation venues.

If you are among many presenters, having your own supply of black dry erase markers will save you from using nearly dried-up markers that offer poor visibility and compromise your presentation.


Besides having a marker, you could also have your own eraser to avoid using your hand as an eraser. Remember to check the meeting room beforehand just to ensure there's everything you need to "kill" your presentation. 


Tip 4: Plan Structure of Your Whiteboard Space


It's always easy to scribble all over on your whiteboard, presenting all the contents and then ultimately distracting your audience. To avoid this, plan ahead. Structure everything before your presentation by thinking practically and exactly how you plan to use it.


For instance, think of what you need to write and draw. Go further and think of how you will write or draw with the average space required in mind. You should know where you need to use a dashed line, how much you'll have covered with an entire whiteboard, and more. If your presentation is about products, it helps to have an illustration of product features. If you present in a discussion meeting with colleagues, it’s better to remember to leave a "Note & Vote Space". 


In this case, if you need to present lots of different information, you may require additional space. This will influence the type of whiteboard you need. For such a scenario, a rolling whiteboard is a good choice since it offers additional space for presenting multiple illustrations.

 

Tip 5: Bigger Writing is Better


While you can get away with small writing in a small presentation room, bigger is generally better for whiteboard presentations. You may be wondering how big you should go. Well, you should be guided by the size of your presentation room. According to Ink Factory, one-inch letters are ideal for the typical presentation room with the farthest person sitting 15-feet away.


This rule ensures your handwriting remains legible even for those people seated at the back of the room. The size of your handwriting should increase proportionately i.e., two-inch letters for a room where the furthest person is 30-feet away. You can go bigger if you get requests from people at the back of the room. 

 

Tip 6: Use Basic Handwriting


Font size aside, you need to use basic handwriting. Remember how you used to write in elementary school? A hybrid cursive or print combination handwriting won't get you far during a whiteboard presentation because very few people will be able to read it. Since presentations are about explaining your points to others, you must do so in handwriting that everyone can read easily.


You may require to go back to class and practice writing A-Z as you did in elementary school. A quick way of doing this is using all caps and combining this with lowercase letters. Most importantly, leave fancy calligraphy or swoopy writing out of it.

 

Tip 7: Emphasize Using Color and Style

 

We may have discussed using black in the first tip because it contrasts well with a whiteboard. We've also discussed the importance of basic handwriting. However, if you have many points to stress during your whiteboard presentation, it would be better to break the rules a bit.


Think of the black color and basic handwriting as the foundation of a good whiteboard presentation. However, a foundation may not draw attention to your most important points. Use a colored marker pen and fancy writing the same way you would use italics and a different font on Microsoft Word.

 

You can interpret this tip as a green light to underline important words, use a red marker pen for topics, bolden words, etc. It helps to emphasize some points. For instance, red represents "danger" or "caution", while green is associated with favorable things. Switching marker pen color with this in mind can help in creating the desired effect.


Tip 8: Use Symbols and Icons


You can also take your whiteboard presentation to the next level by utilizing the symbols and icons we use in our everyday lives. Our smartphones are full of symbols and icons. The same applies to websites, roadway signs, car/machine dashboards, etc. Smileys are a great example. They are simple pictograms that convey messages in a fun, quick, and easy way. Smileys use simple shapes, and they are easy to draw.


You can perform a Google image search to find any symbol/icon used in different industries or scenarios. Once you find ideal symbols, learn how to draw them to spice up your presentation. You don't have to use complex icons/symbols. You can start with simple drawings like the "stickman" you used to draw in kindergarten.

 

Tip 9: Practice

 

It takes time to perfect whiteboard presentations. You must practice repeatedly and implement all the above tips before an actual presentation. For instance, you should have mastered basic handwriting before your presentation. The same applies to drawing icons/symbols, emphasizing using style and color, making good use of your whiteboard, and more. You can do an entire whiteboard presentation in front of a mock audience just to ensure you get it right.

 

Tip 10: Manage Your Time


The pace of your whiteboard presentation also matters. Unlike public speaking, where speed may be mistaken for confidence, a whiteboard presentation should be well-balanced. If you go too fast/too slow, your ideas may fail to inspire confidence. Alternatively, you risk losing your audience.

 

Practice should help you learn to control/manage your time. Through practice, your brain will clearly figure out how long every part of your presentation will take. Take your time drawing your illustrations and making everything deliberate. The tip will save you precious time during a presentation and ensure your audience feels confident about your ideas from the onset.


Remember tip 2, where we talked about bringing your own whiteboard marker? You can take full control of your practicing presentations by having your own whiteboard. Luckily, there are many great whiteboards available today that we can use at home for practice. Most importantly, you'll have ultimate confidence presenting on a whiteboard if you've practiced many times.

 

There you go. While there are other whiteboard presentation tips out there, we've covered the most critical. Try implementing all or most of the above tips before your next presentation and watch yourself move from a novice to a whiteboard presentation expert!


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