Presenting at the Whiteboard? It Doesn’t Have to Feel Like Torture!

Two people I was representing for different jobs were asked to go to the whiteboard and present to their audience. One truly excelled; one fell flat on their face proving the truth of the statement, “A mediocre whiteboard presentation will result in interview death.

Here is how to excel.

1. Practice your impromptu drawing and your presentation. Never, Never,  Never wing it. If you think there is a possibility of having to present at the whiteboard, practice the presentation.

2. Be aware of what you wear. For a Caucasian, wearing white shirts or blouses at the whiteboard will cause your audience to lose interest in your presentation as you blend into the background.

3. Use strong colors when you write and reserve red for particularly important points

4. Try to avoid starting your presentation at the whiteboard. Try to use your movement to it to making an initial strong point in your presentation.

5. Make sure your handwriting can be read clearly anywhere in the room. This also involves checking the room for glare and dimming lights if appropriate. Write with letters that are about 2-3 inches large at a minimum.

6. Be aware of how you appear when you walk around during your presentation.

7. Want to point out something factually incorrect and do it in a powerful way? Tell people what most people believe and write it on the whiteboard. Then write down what you discovered and put a big red “X” right through the incorrect statement.

8. If someone wants to start sketching things out with you at the whiteboard, treat it as a fun exercise, rather than a threat or “an ego attack.” Often, interviewers will try to “break someone” by walking up to the whiteboard and challenging a point of the presentation and watching for your reaction.

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