You’re standing in front of your training class, marker in hand. You whirl around to face an empty whiteboard. So many kernels of information to pass along, you think. “Where do I start,” you fret. Before you begin scribbling, here are some tips on using the whiteboard to your advantage.

Trainers, start your engines
Prior to your students’ arrival, you can post handy information on your whiteboard. Good to include are:

  • Class topic/title
  • Your name
  • Approximate lunch and break times
  • Short welcome message
  • Special pre-class instructions, including signing in and/or completing necessary forms

You can also include your nickname, if you have one, and your hometown. Writing down your hometown is an excellent way to strike a common chord between the instructor and students, especially if any students have ties there. It’s a great way to break down the communication barrier, increase confidence, and begin a rapport that may last for several classes.

What’s up, doc?
Let your students in on the agenda by posting the outline or subjects to be covered on that particular day. Writing a schedule of sorts allows you to check off each subtopic as it’s taught. This is a vital visual aid to guide the students on their learning path.

Cheeseburger, Pepsi, and fries, please
A really good idea for classes that have students coming in from other regions is to devote a section of your whiteboard to local restaurant information for lunch. Some local restaurants may even offer lunch specials and discounts for your class members.
Wait to post restaurant information until right before lunch. If you’ve worked out deals with some of the local establishments, you may want to list those lunch specials or discounts. Such special offers help build a solid relationship between your students and your company.
I yam an arteest
As an instructor, be creative with the use of your whiteboards.

  • Make up the board to reflect the software being taught.
  • Decorate it according to the time of the year, such as incorporating an upcoming holiday.
  • Create a “masterpiece” to bring smiles to your students’ faces.
  • Let the students draw on it during breaks and lunchtime, if possible. Give them enough markers in an array of colors to do the job properly.

I have found that using all capital letters when writing items on the board works well. Small letters may not be seen well by students with vision impairments or sitting in the back of the room. Another plus for capital letters: They’re easier to create by those instructors who are board-impaired. You know if you’re one of us.

Follow the dotted line
During class, use the board often when showing examples. Always writing on and referencing the board will train the customers to look there for pertinent information.

A room with a view
After the board is finished, make it a habit to have the training manager sit in the back of the room before class to see it the way the customers will see it. Allow yourself the freedom to create and have fun, and both you and your students won’t get bored with the board.

Schoun Regan is a consultant to training firms and travels across North America educating people for Complete Mac Seminars . If you’d like to comment on this article or want to add something to his virtual whiteboard, please post your comments below or write to Schoun .