It’s been said that the highest compliment a whiteboard session can get is that when you left the room, anyone else could walk in and immediately understand what your board was about. That being said, let’s talk about how we can get there — virtually! With an increasing number of online whiteboarding tools at your disposal, brainstorming sessions are yet another meeting type that can be taken online. And with these tips, your online brainstorming sessions can be as close to the real deal as possible:
1. Know your tools.
Prior to your session, make sure you’ve tested each of the tools available to you so you’re not hung up on the how-to’s, and you can spend more time on the actual task at hand. There are an abundance of both open -source and paid whiteboard tools available to anyone with enough gumption to Google “online whiteboarding,” each with a different suite of tools. One of our favorites is Dabbleboard, because of its ability to easily create flow charts and wireframes.
*** It might sound elementary, but a good way to test your whiteboard’s functionality is by executing a mock meeting. The more hands-on time you have with your virtual whiteboard, the better.
2. Meet, normally.
Operate your meeting like you would an in-person gathering. Dedicate one of your guests to be the primary note-taker and jot everyone’s thoughts on the board, while the rest of the group discusses edits and promotes ideas. Many whiteboarding tools allow for multiple attendees to simultaneously amend the board—enabling a creative, fun environment that achieves the goal of your meeting and gets everyone’s best ideas on paper.
3. Record it. Save it. Share it.
One obstacle with any whiteboarding session is how to save and share the explosion of ideas splattered on your board. Most virtual whiteboards have a simple save function that will record the final product in a JPEG or GIF format, which can then be sent out to other attendees after the meeting.
If you want to take it a step further, web meeting products, like GlobalMeet, with integrated web and audio (and a whiteboard tool, to boot) can be especially helpful with recording. You can chronicle the conversation, context and evolution of the whiteboard—not just the final product.
With these simple suggestions, try taking your next whiteboarding session online and see if you can mimic, or even one-up, your next in-person brainstorm session. A new, virtual experience may shake loose the best ideas from you and your colleagues, and inspire truly great innovations.
More questions? Need some help? Just ask a PGi Meetings Expert! We’re here to help.