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Skill Level Intermediate
- The whiteboard is a tool that can elevate a meeting and put your team in a better position to succeed. In this design drill session, we'll be using a whiteboard. If you have a whiteboard handy, then I recommend following along to begin building your skills and confidence around the whiteboard. I break this drill into two lessons, preparation and practice. Let's start with preparation skills. Preparation can happen in many ways. To begin, let's say you have a meeting coming up. Consider where you'll decide to sit in the room. Imagine you walk into your conference room. How do you know where you should sit? In this scenario, you should pick a corner seat closest to the whiteboard. This will enable you to be less disruptive when you get up and down to document and brainstorm or explain an idea. This also reduces the time it's going to take you to navigate the room. Once the session or meeting has begun, you'll want to write out the goals. If the goals haven't been included in the calendar invite, make sure the goals are posted for everyone to see within the first one to two minutes. This helps the room focus on the purpose and it helps set a good example for meeting practices. Next, pick where on the whiteboard you want to start. The trick here is thinking about how much space you'll need based on the number of topics you plan to cover. For example, if you're working on a user journey map, then you might want to start at the far left of the whiteboard. If you're working on a basic wireframe with a couple of screens associated, then starting in a location that is closest to where people can see would be your best option. If you're not sure how much space you'll need, you can also write out each subject you'll be covering and block off those sections on the whiteboard. Now let's move into more practical execution drills for the whiteboarding and focus on practice. Use different dry erase marker colors to create contrast and depth. My favorite supplier of exceptional whiteboarding markers would be JetPens. Always carry a backup marker and an eraser in your sessions. Start by drawing a few simple wireframes only using simple shapes. It's important to remember that even though you might just be drawing a simple shape, you can elevate the conversation with a combination of organized shapes along with a story behind it. These drawings are to help you tell a story, not to impress the room with your drawing skills. Once you get a basic sketch out on the board, you can raise the fidelity and meaning of your drawing by adding a little more detail to each shape. With a little effort, you'll be able to translate this concept into a digital wireframe or mock up. This same method and technique can be used for drawing out workflow maps. Boxes, arrows and simple lines can help you document a complex journey. Finally, you're in a position to be able to capture this work and share it out with your team. I always use my iPhone to quickly snap a photo and then post it in my team's group chat immediately for all to see. It's also good to include any summarized notes and action items. It's essential that the team takes turns doing this so it's not always on your plate. I mean, you've just spent an entire meeting drawing, paying very close attention, documenting, and that's really hard work. As we end the practice session, I'd like to leave you with a reminder. Whiteboarding is a way for you to tap into your creative energy. Since you have to write, draw and facilitate on the spot, it will help you develop a profound skill to listen, translate and draw better. If you have questions about whiteboarding, then feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter @abridewell or you can ask it on my Practical UX Weekly group. Thanks for watching and I look forward to seeing you next time.