Wow ‘Em with the Whiteboard

A whiteboard is the name for any glossy-surfaced writing board where non-permanent markings can be made. Unlike the predecessor chalkboard, there is no chalk dust, and markings remain longer than they would on a chalkboard.Whiteboards have been around since the 1970’s, and are now vastly improved and more affordable compared to early models. The use of a whiteboard helps to promote interactivity during a presentation.

Traditional and Electronic Whiteboards
Traditional Whiteboards: Traditional whiteboards are attached to the wall, or are available in free-standing frames. Unlike pre-written flip chart paper sheets, whiteboards cannot easily be moved from site to site. However, they are usually larger, and are useful for recording the results of small group exercises or spontaneous information arising in a discussion.

Traditional whiteboards cost less than $100, or up to $1,000. A traditional whiteboard requires a set of wet or dry erase whiteboard markers, a whiteboard eraser, and whiteboard cleaning solution.Electronic Whiteboards: An electronic whiteboard looks like a traditional whiteboard, but is a unique combination of hardware and software. The surface is connected to a computer and a projector. A projector beams the computer’s desktop onto the board’s surface, where users control the computer using a pen, finger, or other device.

Uses include:

  • Operating any software that is loaded onto the connected PC, including web browsers and proprietary software
  • Using software to electronically capture text or marks written on the whiteboard
  • Translating cursive writing to text
  • Controlling the PC.

Because the markings on the whiteboard are digitized, the resulting electronic information can be stored, printed, or shared in real time with participants in other locations. Electronic whiteboards cost more than $1,000.

Using Colors Appropriately
Colors on a whiteboard are often more vivid than those on a flip chart. Otherwise, most of the same rules apply:

  • Blue, black, and green offer the greatest visibility, with blue the most pleasing color.
  • Avoid purple, brown, pink, and yellow for any type of general printing.
  • The use of two or three color combinations can be very effective; however orange should only be used with red as an accent color. Never use yellow, and avoid orange and blue together.

Creating a Plan B
Traditional Whiteboards: When using a traditional whiteboard, have extra markers on hand, because they tend to dry up easily.If your presentation is longer than one day, plan to make a backup of your work from the computer to a USB flash drive in the event that they are erased overnight.Electronic Whiteboards: If you are working with an electronic whiteboard and encounter technical issues, you can show a previously created PowerPoint presentation through a projector. Plan to carry at least one copy of the PowerPoint handouts for duplication if needed. You can always quickly jot down key points on a flip chart.Regardless of which type of whiteboard is used, key content should be available in a handout master or on flip chart pages as a backup.