Yes, there is a right and a wrong way to do post-its


“You’re doing it wrong”. I must have been somewhere in my twenties when someone approached me during a brainstorm meeting we were facilitating, pointing to my post-its, repeating “you’re doing it wrong”. The way I was peeling off my post-its resulted in them not sticking well on the wall and eventually falling off. There was a better way. So, yes, there is a right and a wrong way to do post-its. 

The right way and wrong way to peel off post-its

It might be best illustrated by the two post-its on my office wall. The left one is peeled of the stack the ‘wrong’ way, instantly curling upwards and falling off moments later. The right one if peeled of the stack the ‘right’ way, sticking way better and not falling off (we’re three days after taking the picture and it is still there on my office wall).

The difference is remarkably simple – it is in how you peel off the post-its.

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Doing it right - post-its
Doing it wrong - post-its

When you peel off the post-it vertically (like most people – me included – do instinctively), the post-its will curl up, stick less and fall off. However, when you peel off the post-it horizontally, it will stay in its place and wont curl. Again, yes, there is a right and a wrong way to do post-its.

The right and wrong post-its

Then there are ‘wrong’ post-its. Lets put it this way: if you peel off cheap post-its from your local supply store the wrong, you’re sure to have them fall off. If you peel off better post-its the wrong way, there is a chance they will actually stick. It is always a great way to instantly know whether the facilitator bought the cheap knock-offs or the real deal: just peel off a post-it vertically and try and stick it to a wall.


The best post-its?!

Empathy Map in Mural

… and then there’s the digital post-it, as used in whiteboarding tools like Mural and Miro for remote workshops. Although I do still like the feeling of having physical, tangible post-its in my hand and do appreciate the group dynamic that goes into the blood, sweet and tears of a productive workshop, there is clear value in remote workshops where you use digital post-its.

Because of the structure, workshops tend to go faster and with less noise. Captured ideas are digital, so easily captured, and re-used in the rest of the product design, innovation or customer experience process or in something as simple as a recap.

To conclude

There are always ways to improve your meeting design and facilitation skills. Even on the detailed level of something simple like post-its. There is a right way and a wrong way to use post-its. There are better post-its. And then there are the best (?!) post-its.

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