“Nobody is going to write a huge essay on a whiteboard,” says Representative Katie Porter, who was elected in 2018 to symbolize Orange County, Calif. Videos of Porter pulling out her whiteboard throughout congressional hearings to query C.E.O.s and authorities officers recurrently go viral on-line. Some admirers have even taken to calling it her “whiteboard of justice.” Porter was a fan of the whiteboard lengthy earlier than she was elected; she carries an 8½-by-11-inch one in her purse alongside along with her favourite purple-colored dry-erase marker. “Purple is dark enough that people can see it in pictures, but it’s also a little bit more fun,” she says.
Think of a whiteboard as a software to make clear ideas that may in any other case appear complicated — like, say, math. “There’s a brevity, a kind of conciseness that comes from the format,” Porter says. Let the act of writing one thing down and seeing it there — tangible and scrawled by hand — maintain you, and people round you, accountable. “It’s satisfying to cross off things that you’ve gotten done,” Porter says. Avoid the summary, and know the bounds of your inventive skills. Occasionally, Porter’s workers will recommend she do one thing metaphorical throughout a listening to, like draw a bridge on the snapping point to symbolize crumbling infrastructure. “I’m like, ‘No,’” she says.
When you maintain the marker, you’ve gotten the stage. A whiteboard permits you to be versatile and responsive. Before working for workplace, Porter taught chapter regulation on the University of California, Irvine, the place she used whiteboards moderately than PowerPoint displays. “Some of these other tools are more controlled, but you lose something with that too, which is really being able to respond to the moment,” says Porter. Ask questions and jot down solutions. If you get one thing unsuitable, don’t be afraid to erase it. “The whiteboard encourages revision,” says Porter.
Before a congressional listening to, Porter practices what she plans to write. Sometimes what you don’t placed on the whiteboard might be simply as telling as what you do. During a latest listening to, Porter took out her board and requested the chief govt of a multinational pharmaceutical firm to justify why he and a number of other different prime executives paid themselves greater than $124 million over three years. She then sat there, along with her clean whiteboard, marker on the prepared. “You can visually make a point that can be hard to explain,” Porter says, “which is silence.”