The Whiteboard Essays: An Introduction

At my current employer, every person in Professional Services goes through New Hire Training, which includes The Whiteboards.  Ask anyone in PS who has gone through The Whiteboards, and they will speak about them in reverent tones, along with a few war stories about the first time they flamed out.

The proposition is simple: stand in front of your peers (who are pretending to be a customer), and give a whiteboard talk on a product/service for 45 minutes.   Your peers want you to succeed, but they have to be convinced you know the material.  The process of passing a Whiteboard typically results in three things: a better knowledge of how the products work, a crash course in basic salesmanship, and a familiarity with the concept of “humility.”   If you’re really paying attention, you also end up deriving Pedagogy 101 from first principles.

The next several essays are several of the lessons I learned from doing the Whiteboards, with a couple of side-trips into how to survive in a fast-paced corporate environment full of grownups.

Jump To:
Essay 1: Feedback // For the whole story, start here.
Essay 2: The Do-Over // To get right to the Helpful Safety Tips, start here.
Essay 3: Bringing It
Essay 4: Training Montage!

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