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3 Tips for Using a Whiteboard

Tips for using a whiteboard during a presentation

One of the most effective methods I’ve found for technical presenting is using a whiteboard instead of a PowerPoint deck.  I really like to use the whiteboard because it allows me to be able to ask questions and reflect the responses from my audience on the whiteboard.  While we talk a lot about PowerPoint, I feel like we have short-changed other methods of presenting.  Because of that, I want to share 3 whiteboard tips with you to help you have another method of making a memorable presentation.

Tip #1: Before starting your whiteboard session, mentally divide the whiteboard into sections.

It could be any number but what this allows you to do is compartmentalize what you are going to be talking about into distinct areas of the whiteboard.  For example, I might be doing a whiteboard to explain a product.  The first section I might use for drawing out something like industry trends or current problems that customers are facing.  The second section I might show the business impacts of these trends or problems.  The third section I would then use for showing a product that will help solve the problem and make the trend more useful.

Tip #2:  Use more than one color in your drawing and be consistent with what the colors mean.

Earlier in my career, I created whiteboards that were done in only 1 color.  While the information on the board might have been very useful, it was very difficult to follow what I was trying to explain after it was drawn.  I’ve watched a lot of different presenters work on the whiteboard and I’ve found that if the presenter is consistent in the usage of color, it is much easier to understand the information on the board after the fact.  My standard is to use 4 colors and the meaning for each color is this:

Black – Context setting and infrastructure

Blue – Process or communication flow

Red – Bad/Negative

Green – Good/Positive

Tip #3:  Bring your own Dry-Erase markers.

How many times have you been in a conference room and the only marker available is a half-dried up yellow pen?  If you are going to be doing any whiteboard presentations, make sure that you have your own pens with you.  There are all kinds of tips (chisel, fine, ultra-fine) and numbers of pens in a case.  I prefer having a set of 4 pens that have a chisel tip.  Of course, you have to decide which type of pen you prefer and makes you feel the most comfortable.  Just make sure that you use Dry-Erase markers and not permanent ones!

So, there are your 3 whiteboarding tips for today:

  1. Mentally divide your whiteboard into sections
  2. Use multiple colors and be consistent in their usage
  3. Have your own Dry-Erase markers


Bob Goodyear
Bob Goodyear
Bob is a communications expert for technical professionals. He speaks and coaches them how to make their message easier to understand by knowing when to include and eliminate the “Geekinese” in their communications. Learn more about Bob's keynotes, workshops, and coaching services at

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