Whiteboards have long been an essential item in business meeting rooms. In today’s digital world, they are being integrated into virtual meeting rooms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom. They help your team by offering to securely share sketches, files, notes and photos. They’re just like in-person whiteboards — except you can access them online (aka an online whiteboard.)
What Are Digital Whiteboards?
A digital whiteboard performs everything a normal, in-person whiteboard does. It can be used to:
- Brainstorm responses.
- Perform complex math equations.
- Serve as a visual tool to help staff collaborate on work issues together.
- And much more.
Digital whiteboards encourage teamwork as people share ideas during meetings and make workplace discussions more engaging.
A digital whiteboard takes the best elements of its real-world counterpart whiteboard, like text and sticky notes, with digital features like screenshots and automatic saving, so you don’t have to worry about someone erasing your ideas.
What Can a Digital Whiteboard Do?
There are many types of digital whiteboards, each featuring benefits in its own way. Here’s generally what to expect:
- Customizability: Pick your digital whiteboard template, background and pen color to align with your company’s visual branding or keep things interesting.
- Collaboration: Coworkers and clients alike can use the digital whiteboard in real time to add sketches, notes and documents. If you’re presenting to a group and want people to listen instead of doodle during important topics, you can switch to read-only mode, then switch back to collaboration mode after you’ve given pertinent information.
- Ability to write and draw: You can write on a touch screen with a digital pen or type text. Some digital whiteboards can turn sketches into shapes and automatically convert handwriting into text to keep things easy to read.
- Sticky notes: These are the online equivalent of those colorful Post-It notes but they never get lost. You can rearrange them, write on them and circle things just like you would with the real-world office supply.
And here are a few ways to use digital whiteboards effectively:
- Organize a meeting: A meeting head can set up the whiteboard with brainstorming guidelines, an agenda or meeting goals. There is a slew of templates for things like project milestones, a persona builder, a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis, a retrospective or a Kanban board (a Japanese manufacturing system in which the supply of components is regulated through the use of an instruction card sent along the production line). Common backgrounds include grids, lines or a solid color to make your meetings pop.
- Use attachments: Add images and drawings, insert a document or paste a URL to insert a preview of a webpage. It’s as simple as that.
- Follow up: You can continue to edit your digital whiteboard after the meeting ends, export the board as an image, add more contributors, share it and even print a copy for reference in future meetings.
Why Should I Use Digital Whiteboards?
Digital whiteboards allow you to facilitate real-time collaboration no matter where your team is located, whether they are across the seas or across the street. With hybrid workstyles becoming the norm, digital whiteboards can help efficiently connect everyone without the usual geographic constraints.
Digital whiteboards can:
- Align remote employees. Including everyone and making sure all voices are heard when you’re all around the world can be extremely frustrating. Statistically speaking, people spend about 37 percent less time working together than they did before the pandemic shifted many people to working from home. Digital whiteboards can help increase collaboration because contributions are enabled across teams, and they’re more interactive than a presentation.
- Promote creativity. Sometimes when you’re working, you need a little extra space to compile a list of product name ideas, share prototype sketches or just doodle while you’re thinking. Digital whiteboards invite playfulness and experimentation, which often produce some of the best ideas.
- Develop your business. Anything that assists in project management is great for your bottom line. Digital whiteboards help you picture each step of a process, so it’s easier to spot any problems before they become costly issues.
- Increase productivity. Online whiteboards help everyone stay on topic during meetings, so you can make the right decisions faster. Since everyone has a visual reference during presentations, they can focus on brainstorming instead of taking important notes.
- Achieve peace of mind. There’s nothing worse than losing your invaluable meeting notes and insights because someone erased the whiteboard too soon. Digital whiteboards auto-save to the cloud, so they’re easy to reference and access after the meeting ends.
4 Digital Whiteboard Collaboration Tips
While the benefits of digital whiteboards and their possibilities are endless, here are some ideas of what is possible with them, and how to use them to meet your company’s goals:
- Brainstorming potential: Create an inviting place for ideas. Whether you’re coming up with potential conference themes or meeting with customers to determine their top feature requests, you can start with a few images or a blank slate for inspiration, then jot down suggestions. Since it’s a virtual whiteboard, you’ll never run out of room.
- Hybrid work support: If only a few people are in the office, they can snap a photo of an existing whiteboard, upload it to whiteboard software and continue working online from there. That way, you don’t have to start from the very beginning.
- Streamline the decision-making process: Select a few choices for your team and have them vote on the best one. You could also show options to clients and get their feedback. Once you’ve divided a particular project into smaller chunks, it’s easier to assign tasks. Use an online whiteboard template designed to manage follow-up tasks, with a preformatted space for names, check boxes and assignments.
- Planning for the future: Digital whiteboards can help you diagram each step of a new product launch or list major expenses for budget planning so you can better schedule and plan for the future.
We’ve just given you a lot of information about digital whiteboards and how they can help streamline your
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