Why are these whiteboard apps becoming THE new way to run presentations, slides, and workshops?
10 years ago in 2010, I had just graduated from a french engineering school and I was starting my career as a consultant in a parisian consulting firm. During these years, I learned to master the art of Powerpoint: the art of getting messages across through slides! I lead an impressive number of steering committees, follow-up committees, and I had to stay up to date with the tech.
“Enough with this sheet”
The years have passed. I became a senior consultant. And strangely today I couldn’t remember the last time I opened PowerPoint! I still prepare workshops though and by dozens but now, I use Miro, Mural, Figma, Klaxoon & co. Thanks to these apps, I find my meetings to be more interactive, discussions are easier and more numerous, and the decisions are taken by the majority with the shared opinion of all!
“Indeed, the norms and habits have changed… and this for good.”
The first thing is that all these apps have the same features as the very-well-known presentation app. Everybody meets on the whiteboard and you can arrange the screen exactly the same way you would do on a presentation deck.
From presentation meeting to collaborative meeting
Since 2000’s, we do meetings in a room, sitting on a chair with our laptop open and listenning to the speaker (or not!). The phenomenon reached such a point that some of us are actually working on other stuff on our laptop during meetings!
Powerpoint is so 2010!
This being said, lots of start-ups tried to bring more interaction during meetings, so that they could actually be helpful and not a waste of time. Beekast, Prezi, and others have innovated so much in this regard. For example, Beekast offers different features to create the conditions that foster the commitment and enthusiasm of your participants. One of them even send surveys during the meeting! Unfortunately, these applications were very rigid. i.e. each feature has to be used in a certain way. It is often necessary to follow the instructions for use. I tried to use a few of them and find out not to be very obvious/intuitive.
Collaborative meeting is so 2015
But in my opinion, they miss one point: the value of visuals. People tend to retain a lot more when it’s visual and when it’s concrete. I think that’s what all of these applications do, allowing you to draw some diagrams, animating ideas in a way that is even more advanced than the collaborative meeting apps.
Whiteboard app is so 2020
Whiteboard app is a total freedom
In contrast to the collaborative meeting applications, whiteboard apps allow you to start from a completely blank sheet of paper and create your own world in terms of activities and visuals. This is surely part of the success of its applications. Indeed, each meeting and each workshop is so specific. it is always necessary to personalize the elements.
We can take an example we know well (with @mydesignsprint). There is no such thing as an identical design sprint template. Whether you take the one from ITX design sprint, AJ&Smart, de Deepwork, or Just Mad… they are all different. The creativity of each facilitator and presentator is satisfied with this possibility.
However, this can be a big problem, especially for beginners. Indeed, there is a real white sheet effect. That’s why each tool has created its own template library and that’s why we created Boardle.
Meetings are becoming workshops
As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, many meetings have become so boring these ays. Sometimes, participants are reticent to attend them, afraid that they will actually be a waste of time in their -very- busy day. But for some time now, more and more consultants, facilitators, workshoppers have been trying to reverse the trend by bringing the notion of workshop!
One of its first promoters is of course AJ&Smart.
Workshops widen around the world and workers realize that it is no longer useful to attend a meeting just to get information.
Whiteboard apps are a key support to generate new ideas
Before in meetings, the famous question “do you have any ideas?” or “how should we do it?” was often asked. However, many people were reluctant to answer. Between the shy, the tyrannical bosses who judge everything, it was difficult to express oneself. With the implementation of whiteboard tools, the good practice of 5 minutes of reflexion each on his own is more and more present. This is such a great help for shy people.
Whiteboard apps bring democracy
Another good practice that comes both from workshops and the use of whiteboard apps is that the decisions are no longer taken by the one decision-maker on the fly. Voting sessions are more frequent. Therefore, decision-makers take decisions with more democracy …
Finally, Remote is the new office!
It’s no secret that since the beginning of the year, companies have made a good step forward in the practice of “working from home”.
Ten years ago, armed with smartphones and PowerPoint, this scenario would have not be possible for many of us. It would have been very difficult to maintain the operational working conditions for large groups. However, today’s whiteboard video tools are well spread out and serve this cause perfectly.
With the remote control, there’s a need to find a creative workspace where everyone can share thoughts and ideas. Tools like Miro, wall, Figma, or Klaxoon are there for that.
We have even reached the day where business seminars are done on these applications (i.e Bryter’s virtual company gathering).
How to: Host a virtual company gathering that creates magic | BRYTERBeing a remote-first company with people from all over Europe, our quarterly company gatherings ‐ we call them on-site…bryter.io
So now, … use whiteboard apps for your next meeting and/or workshop and make it funnier!
Just to be clear, I don’t work for one of these tools and I don’t want to sell one. Through this article, I am simply trying to make you aware of the -many- advantages they have. They are so helpful in bringing more collaboration and democracy in meetings. If you don’t believe me, have a quick look on LinkedIn : you will find lots of posts that agree about the revolution these tools are making!
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