Three ways to use Zoom whiteboard for facilitation

Three ways to use Zoom whiteboard for facilitation

And then…my whole wide world went Zoom.

Love it or loathe it Zoom has become a large part of our lives. From virtual pub quizzes to virtual learning Zoom is here to stay.

As a facilitator, have you thought about how Zoom can support your facilitation processes? What has really piqued my interest is the use of Zoom Whiteboards to support the collaboration and co-creation of ideas.


Here are three ways you can use Zoom whiteboards for facilitation:

  • Establishing a Group Contract/Working Agreement

As a facilitator you may, at the beginning of a session, invite a group to share the norms and behaviours they feel need to be in place in order for everyone to get the most of the session. Using a Zoom whiteboard for this exercise makes it particularly collaborative. Instead of the facilitator noting what each person says, individuals themselves use the ‘Annotate’ tool on Zoom to draw or type in their responses, thus co-creating the group contract.


  • Dot Voting

Dot voting is a great way to garner opinion on a topic or decision. In a real-life setting ideas are shared using post-it notes on a flipchart or wall, then each person is given a certain number of dot stickers which they then go and place next to their preferred idea(s).
With a Zoom whiteboard a facilitator can note down ideas in text on the Whiteboard and participants can vote on their ideas using the Stamp function within the Annotate menu. Stamp gives us the ability to add a green tick (or heart for example) beside our preferred idea. An added bonus is that the voting process is anonymous (unless you use the arrow for stamping; as a facilitator exclude that from the options), thus reducing (in part) group think bias.


  • Checking in for understanding

This can be used in many ways, one way for example is to check to ensure everyone has a shared understanding of a problem. Using the Breakout function break people into groups and invite them to draw out the problem. The whiteboard function in Zoom allows people to draw on the whiteboard at the same time. Smaller groups can work together scribbling on the board, drawing out their shared understanding.


I hope this has given you some food for thought for your next facilitation session. Do make sure that you regularly familiarise yourselves with the latest Zoom security updates.


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Video: A future visioning tool

Video: A future visioning tool

I’ve made another video – this time it’s one where you actually see my face! I hope you like it. I’m on a mission to get more comfortable with creating videos (I find it strange not having an audience!) so I’d love to hear what you think and what tips you have for improvement.

Today I’m sharing a future visioning technique. If you have difficulty imagining what your future may look like give this technique a try – click on the image below to watch the video. Let me know in the comments how you get on.

If you enjoyed that you may be excited to know that the pilot of the brand new programme Draw Out Your Future is now open for enrolment. The 6-week programme kicks off on Tuesday, January 12th 7pm GMT and I can’t wait to meet everyone.

This programme has been designed so that we can all feel excited about our future regardless of what else is going on in the world.

Over the course of 6 weeks we will:

  • Learn a clear process for drawing out your future (no artistic skills required) that you can reuse time and time again, using visual goal setting and action planning
  • Gain focus, clarity and direction in your life so that you feel calm and in control of your destiny
  • Feel excited about your future and use that excitement to propel you forward
  • Boost your self-esteem so that you feel more resilient when dealing with life’s obstacles
  • Harness the power of the collective and be part of a unique supportive community

We’ll be using digital visual templates which you will get copies of to use and reuse at will 😊.  Let’s start 2021 as we mean to go on – with creativity, flair and purpose.

And as this is a pilot programme, places are going for around half the price of what I intend to sell them for.  There will be a maximum of 12 people on the programme so be sure to act quickly to secure your place!  You can also sign-up for a bundle package which includes three 1:1 coaching sessions alongside the 6-week programme.


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The Spanish guide to graphics

Last year I spent the month of July living and working in Spain.

Before I went I thought I’d better learn some Spanish, so I took some classes and hoped for the best.

At the end of the month I was surprised to discover my Spanish had not improved greatly.

I came back to Edinburgh and bought a book called ‘Fluent in three months’* (a girl can hope). I began to see where I had gone wrong.

I also began to see the similarities between learning Spanish and using graphics for the first time.

So here it is, my Spanish guide to graphics:

1. Find your passion.
Before I went to Spain I thought learning Spanish was a sensible thing to do. Now, having experienced life in Spain and made friends there I have fallen in love with the language. I really really want to get better at it!
The same goes for learning graphics. Where’s your passion? What’s your hook? Find it, and there’s your motivation to learn.

2. Apply a triage system to your learning.
One day I just had enough with the whole ‘esto’ ‘este’ ‘ese’ ‘eso’ etc. business. Why can’t it be as simple as ‘this’ and ‘that’?! Being frustrated with the language wasn’t getting me anywhere, so I cornered my flatmate and asked her to explain it to me till I finally got it.
Where are you getting stuck when it comes to using graphics? Are you having difficulty drawing people, using colour or coming up with icons? Spend some dedicated time working through your sticking points, and feel oh-so satisfied when you break through those barriers.

3. Have a ‘no English’ rule.
I came across a blog recently called ‘A year without English’**. It’s written by two guys who spent 3 months each in Spain, Brazil, China and Korea. They were so determined to learn the language of the countries they visited they decided on a ‘no English’ rule. Amazing!
How about sticking to a ‘no words’ rule to help you improve your visual thinking? Try to explain something to a colleague without using any words or text, just by drawing out what you want to say. I can see this being quite a fun exercise.

4. Get specific.
When I started learning Spanish my goal was ‘to learn Spanish’. No wonder I wasn’t progressing when my goal was so vague. Since my return from Spain I have made much more progress as I am now clear on my goals and my timeframe.
When I train people in graphics I always encourage them to get specific with their goals and their action plans. And by the way, ‘Practice’ is not an action plan, which leads me to my final point…

5. Speak/Draw before you are ready.
I thought I would learn as much Spanish as possible before I started to speak it. That way I would be ‘ready’ and know what to say. Not only was I not ready, I would be never be ready. In fact the more I told myself I needed to ‘be good at’ Spanish before speaking it the less likely I was to actually speak it.
The same goes for graphics. You will never be ‘ready’. You need to just do it and learn as you go along. Because learning from the comfort of your office and then trying to explain that you left your passport back in the flat (with your keys) are two very different things!

I hope you have found this guide useful on your quest to use graphics. Feedback, comments etc. welcome as always.


* Fluent in Three Months, by Benny Lewis. See