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8 Masterful Ways to Wield the Whiteboard Marker in Your Next Meeting

Meetings can be incredibly time-consuming and, at times, not too productive. Whiteboard sessions usually follow the same old format: everyone sits around a table, strategically positioning themselves to be either closest to the coffee pot or door. And there’s always that one person who will be late due to an important “work-related” call.

How would you like to hold meetings people genuinely look forward to attending? Do you want to see an increase in attendance and greater employee job satisfaction? We have eight tried-and-true ways to help you wield that mighty whiteboard marker at your next meeting. These tips will inspire attendees to enjoy whiteboard sessions.

1. Define your goals

You are in a leadership role and tasked with making sure the desired outcomes of this meeting are met. You need to know your end goals and have an agenda to reach those objectives.

“What’s the purpose of this meeting?” If this question isn’t easy for you to answer, you have some work cut out for you. Ideally, you should be able to answer this in one sentence. Your purpose and specific goals for this whiteboard session should be identified ahead of time and sent out to meeting attendees. Everyone needs to be on the same page.

2. Master timing

Do not schedule a meeting based solely on attendee availability. According to Daniel Pink, author of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, this is one of the most common pitfalls: “The ‘when’ of meetings isn’t purely a logistical decision. It’s also a strategic one.”

If you schedule a meeting first thing in the morning, you’ll have people physically present, but not mentally. Schedule it too soon after lunch, and you’ll be dealing with people suffering from food coma. The best time to hold a meeting won’t be the same for every company and organization. You will have to take a closer look at your attendees and decide for yourself when they work best. Your primary objective is to have attendees that are caffeinated with the ability to give you all of their attention.

3. Create the meeting agenda

The agenda should include the meeting date, time, location, objectives, and — if this is a recurring meeting — anything that needs to be addressed from the previous meeting. It should be as detailed as humanly possible with an emphasis on a start and end time.

Send out the meeting agenda preferably 24-48 hours in advance. This allows people time to construct their thoughts and questions. Also, if there are any related notes or documentation they might like to have on hand, this gives them time to prepare.

4. Escape the office

If you’re looking for fresh ideas and a renewed energy from your audience, why not escape the conference room? Get out of the confines of the office and find a venue on Peerspace. Do you remember the excitement you had back in elementary school when your teacher would take the class outside on a beautiful summer day? Was there anything better than that fresh air and nature? That excitement of escaping your everyday surroundings doesn’t just apply to your youth — there’s something about offsite workshops and meetings that fosters innovative thinking and creativity.

Did you know you can hold a whiteboard session at an upscale winery or in a spacious loft with panoramic views of Lake Michigan? There are so many unique yet functional locations available on Peerspace.

5. Cut to the chase

According to a study conducted by Microsoft in 2015, the average attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish. What does this mean for you? You have exactly eight seconds to captivate your audience before they start thinking about what they’re going to be ordering for lunch.

Though it’s obviously impossible to hold an eight-second meeting, it’s a good reminder to keep your audience on their toes. Follow the agenda and don’t veer off the course. If it’s not on the agenda or advancing the meeting, then you must bid it farewell.

6. Delegate key roles

Two roles need to be assigned before the whiteboard session begins: a note-taker and a timekeeper. The note-taker is responsible for recording the date/time, purpose of the meeting, and important actionable items. These notes will then be shared with the rest of the group afterwards.

The timekeeper keeps the meeting moving forward, making sure everyone stays on task. The role of timekeeper needs someone assertive who isn’t afraid to interrupt and speak up when required.

7. Use the FISH! Philosophy

Have you heard of the FISH! Philosophy? It was modeled after the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, Washington. The fish market is not a spot you’d think of to find joy-filled employees, but that’s exactly what John Christensen, the creator of this philosophy, found in the late ’90s.

Various companies and organizations across the United States have implemented the FISH! Philosophy — from the Ranken Jordan Pediatric Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, to Ford Motor Co. in Detroit, Michigan. Workplaces that apply this philosophy statistically show greater overall employee job satisfaction, as well as a significant decrease in staff turnover. So, what does the FISH! Philosophy have to do with leading a meeting? Two words: have fun.

Suggestions

  • Put a few containers of Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty in the center of the table. Studies show this pliable putty may increase focus, decrease anxiety, and enhance creativity.
  • Other items that can be put around the table include a variety of fidget spinners and tangles. 
  • During the meeting, when someone answers a question correctly or participates in a discussion, hand out tickets or stickers. At the end of the meeting, whoever has the most tickets or stickers receives a small gift of some kind, such as a gift card to a coffee shop, mini succulents, pens, a water bottle, etc.


8. Plan for a follow-up

You must follow-up with people who signed up for a certain task or project, as well as everyone in attendance. This lets you find out if there were any points left out or things that need to be brought up at the next meeting.

For those not in attendance? It’s important to ask if they understand the meeting minutes and if they have any questions regarding the topics covered at the meeting.


The grandest ideas can come up during a meeting, but as soon as people leave — their brains might switch to auto-pilot. They’re busy people. Everyone’s busy. That’s why if you’re holding an in-person meeting, a little planning will pay off with greater productivity and employee job satisfaction. Here’s an insightful quote to consider by management consultant Peter F. Drucker: “Efficiency is doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right things.”

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