Creative ways to use online whiteboards in virtual meetings

Mike Butts profile image June 18, 2024 | 4 min read

Key Points

Online whiteboards are a great tool to engage colleagues on videoconferencing calls. Use whiteboards to:

  • Brainstorm and share ideas that can be stored in a centralized location.
  • Plan special events and major projects to keep everyone aligned on deadlines.
  • Collect data points to serve as a reference when launching a new program, product or service.
  • Explain complex concepts to remote teams.
  • Build camaraderie with ice-breaking activities.

These days, virtual meetings are a must, and to be honest, we know they can be a drag to sit through. Your employees probably agree. Considering that approximately 55 million business meetings take place in the U.S. each week and 50 percent of employees spend one to three hours a week in virtual meetings, it’s understandable. So, you need a way to boost engagement, and we’ve got an answer—the future of videoconferencing: virtual whiteboards (an Ooma Office feature, but more on that later).

For decades, businesses and schools have used physical whiteboards. They’ve been a staple in businesses across America since the ‘80s for good reason. Whiteboards are a quick and easy way to brainstorm, plan, teach and troubleshoot. Still, like many physical business tools, as virtual everything began to take over, whiteboards fell by the wayside. Enter online whiteboards. Online whiteboarding has many benefits, including increasing creativity, engagement and collaboration while improving outcomes. A virtual whiteboard can be used in many of the same ways as a physical whiteboard, and then some. Let’s take a look.

Brainstorm ideas

A virtual whiteboard is a great video conferencing tool to brainstorm and share ideas as a team. With an interactive whiteboard, meeting participants can draw, write, present and create while collecting ideas in a centralized location for everyone to see and engage with. And because this is an online collaboration tool, meeting attendees can find and add visual aids to spark creativity and generate even more ideas than they would with a traditional whiteboard. Once you have your ideas, online whiteboards can go a step further than physical whiteboards and allow participants to vote, rate, comment and chat about ideas. Plus, a virtual whiteboard can be easily exported digitally to your team. Gone are the days of having to recruit someone to transcribe all the entries on a physical whiteboard or take digital pictures.

Create mind maps

Online whiteboards are useful tools to dial in and brainstorm around one key concept with a technique called mind mapping. To get the whole team involved in mind mapping, pick the central topic and place it at the center of your virtual whiteboard. Allow team members to contribute words and ideas that branch out from your topic, as well as multi-media solutions like visual images and sound bites they associate with that idea.

Planning

Whiteboarding is an agile tool for planning a variety of special events and major projects. You can set up your online meeting so attendees have a visual schedule of each task and expected completion dates. Using a virtual whiteboard helps keep everyone on the same page and add project details as they evolve. No matter what you plan, using a digital whiteboard will enable you to post notes and ideas to your project and add other planning tools like kanban boards. Once your plan is finalized, you can export it to your team so they have all the details in a digital format.

Collect data points

Whiteboarding is a useful way to collect and visualize data points. Whether collecting pieces of information to troubleshoot a project issue or aid in decision-making, you can do so seamlessly with a digital whiteboard. And what’s better is you can save it and add data points as you go, revising them as you need to in order to resolve issues or add newly discovered information, so the team has a place to store all the project’s relevant data. This is especially helpful when launching a new program, product or service.

Explain and teach concepts

The classic use of a whiteboard is to teach in a variety of settings from school classrooms to conference centers. You can now teach your concepts in virtual classrooms and online meetings with a web whiteboard. These also make great tools for your business when it comes to team training and explaining complex concepts.

Build camaraderie

Online whiteboards aren’t just for mundane business practices. They can also be used for team building and ice-breaking strategies when working with new teams and clients. It can be as easy as asking every member to introduce themselves using just a visual, keyword or a sound, adding a personal and creative touch to an otherwise awkward first meeting.

The bottom line

As online whiteboards have become part of video meeting best practices, Ooma includes them at no additional cost in its videoconference platform, available in both the Ooma Office Pro and Ooma Office Pro Plus subscription plans. Ooma Office is an award-winning VoIP business phone system that offers more than 50 features besides videoconferencing, like a mobile app for use on the go and advanced business tools such as hot desking, call park and call queuing. Learn how you can work smarter, collaborate easier and connect from anywhere by visiting Ooma Office today!

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