Sunday, November 06, 2005
I have a tendency to grab a marker during a discussion, and write on a whiteboard. I idealistically imagine everyone is benefiting. I benefit by getting my thoughts down in front of me, where I can see them, and critique them, if I have too many to sort through mentally. Others can following more easily what it is I am talking about, especially the connections between the concepts.
While whiteboards are a cognitive facilitator, they are not necessarily a social facilitator. I notice a different dynamic around whiteboards than around conference tables generally.
- People who talk a lot don't necessarily like to walk up to a whiteboard.
- The person with the pen is sometimes assumed to own the floor, even if they aren't writing.
- Writing something on a whiteboard can be presumed more authoritative than something said orally, especially if the end result is printed.
- People often treat diagrams as important, regardless of what they are. People seem incapable of critiquing diagrammatic logic (or lack thereof). Diagrams are often simply ways to associate information, rather than show cause and effect.