In every office meeting room, you’ll probably find a whiteboard. You might not realize this, but whiteboards are still relatively new inventions. It was reportedly invented around the late ’50s and early ’60s but started gaining popularity throughout the ’90s. Typically, it was used to jot down ideas and help a group brainstorm. Even on television, work meeting groups usually have a whiteboard present. For sitcoms like The Office, it’s yet another tool in which to showcase jokes.
Whiteboards have come a long way in recent years. Virtual whiteboards like the Vibe board help workers all across the globe collaborate together on projects. These days, with everyone working remotely, they can help bring office members together. For those of us who work best with visuals, it’s a great way to stay on task during such a strange time period.
Whether it’s a digital whiteboard or a standard whiteboard, they’re still very helpful for brainstorming sessions. Here are just a few reasons why a whiteboard is a must-have.
1. They’re a good way to organize your thoughts.
When it comes to brainstorming, sometimes one idea might turn into something much stronger. By jotting things down for your team, you’ll be able to reiterate important notes. If you have a digital whiteboard, these notes can be easily saved and made accessible at any time. With a standard whiteboard, employees can take their time to jot down important bullet points in a notebook or a computer doc to reflect on later.
2. They’re great for employees who learn in different ways.
By using different color markers and occasionally drawing out an idea instead of using text, you’re making it easier for all members of your brainstorm to follow along. If you have anyone on your team who may be a little rusty with your language (either the language you speak or the language and lingo of the office and your field) using a whiteboard will help them digest information better. When everyone on your team understands your main goal, you’re destined to have a successful brainstorm.
3. They’re easy to assemble.
Once it’s in your office space, you’re good to go. While PowerPoints are a great way to get information across, jotting down thoughts and goals on a whiteboard is a lot easier and will save a ton of time. Plus, you won’t have to deal with missed slides. For virtual whiteboards, everyone on your team will be able to access your notes later.
4. Digital whiteboards will allow you to connect to other programs.
If you are in a meeting with potential clients, a digital whiteboard will truly impress them. But for the team in your office, they’re a great way to connect to each other while brainstorming together. If your boss happens to be in another country while a meeting happens, he or she can easily connect to your whiteboard using Zoom and participate in the meeting virtually. They will also have access to the canvases and notes that the team put together in their absence. No fax machine or email attachments necessary.
5. Your presentation will be more engaging.
Have you ever sat down and thought about how much text you take in per day? Whether it’s on screens, in printed literature, or through text message. Whiteboards offer a nice break. Not only can you use colors, but you can also draw images. Scientists are still studying how the human brain processes art, but it’s an interesting concept. When people see an image of something, as opposed to text, part of their brain actually feels the need to mimic the act. The Smithsonian reported on this phenomenon back in 2012. “Viewers of Degas’ ballerinas sometimes report that they experience the sensation of dancing—the brain mirrors actions depicted on the canvas,” wrote Abigail Tucker. While you may not be an artist yourself, there’s a benefit to mixing things up when it comes to brainstorming.
Edgar Degas, Dancers. Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
If you’re serious about getting the most out of your team in terms of brainstorming, it makes sense to invest in a whiteboard. And if your team is mostly remote these days, a digital whiteboard will serve so many purposes. Employees often feel comfortable if they can jot things down temporarily, and a whiteboard is a great resource for that.