As designers, we’re creative and passionate people who give our souls into design projects. But we can lose this passion when we present new concepts to clients or teammates. Presenting design work incorrectly can misdirected or lead to overly prescriptive feedback, which in turn leads to sub-par end work. Skillful presenting skills allow us to put designs out into the world that we’re proud to put our names on. Here are some thoughts for your next design pitch or presentation.
Polish your presentation: Present your work in the best possible format. If it’s a static image of a web design, mock it up in an image of an actual computer monitor. If you’re sharing your screen, close unneeded tabs and windows and present in full-screen mode. Download a starter kits of pre-packed mockups for presenting designs.
Use an effective presentation template: Don’t put too much text in your presentation, and when you do, keep it big and bold for readability. Have one main point per slide, even if it makes your deck longer. Too much content per slide will end up overwhelming your audience. Rehearse your presentation few times to become familiar with your points. present each slide—it’ll help you move seamlessly from slide to slide when you present. The rule here is: One Point per Slide.
Set the Overall Project Context: If you don’t know what the hell is going on, probably your audience won’t help you. Nothing is worse than an out-of-context out-of-focus design presentation. Set the appropriate context at the beginning of the meeting and save agony down the road. At the beginning of each project meeting, reiterate the business goals, recall their feedback from last session, and set the main 3 to 5 objectives for the meeting. This reminds them why they’re in the room and what kind of input is needed, while keeping the discussion on target. Using a template that includes an outline slide lets everyone interested know what will be covered and in what is the order. This provides your attendees with structure and ensures you don’t forget to review items during the meeting.
Tell the story: Tell the story about how your design came to existence, walk through each part of the design and explain the rationale behind your decisions. Talk about the design’s benefits, and how it solves the project goals. Avoid talking about what is already obvious or what’s already clear in plain view.
Name your Concepts: When presenting multiple options, give a name to each concept and show a recap with those options on one page. This makes it easier for discussion at the end of the review.
Present your most straightforward design first: Do not play a mystery game with your audience, dive into the main point first, This gives reviewers confidence that you have a grasp to the project and understand its objectives. Once this trust is established, they’ll be more receptive to ideas you present later that may be more conceptual.
Control the speed: Talking faster doesn’t make you look smarter, Take your time to showcase your design in greater detail, be mindful and read the room if you see someone getting distracted checking on their facebook or instagram, it’s time to speed things up (or perhaps to add enthusiasm to your voice). Keep an eye on the time—if the discussion gets off track or the meeting is scheduled to end soon, look for an opportunity to respectfully remind attendees of the goals for the meeting, offer to schedule an upcoming follow-up meeting to discuss the remaining topics as needed.
Get the right input: Explain to the client the kind of input you are looking to get. For example, if you’re showing page flows and wireframes, the client may not understand why you aren’t looking for feedback on graphic design details at this stage, so clarify that for them up front.
Push back on client feedback you disagree with: You’ve been hired to design, and because you’re an expert at your field, so it’s your job to give documented recommendations for a proposed solution. The client may disagree with your suggestions, but you should never get defensive or feel like your feelings are getting hurt. Designers are known for being “sensitive”, however in he professional Arena, your job is not to cry or feel hated. Simply listen to the client and be thoughtful of their point of view. They can bring valuable insights and ideas that can make the final design stronger.
Dealing with Harsh Clients: If the client chooses to continually ignore your advice, it’s a business gamble on their part. To protect your sanity, your best option might be to do all you can within their constraints, leave the project out of your portfolio, and move on.
Be confident: The absolute most important thing when presenting design work: show enthusiasm and confidence. Confidence doesn’t come to you because of a personality trait. confidence people speak confident because they know what they are talking about and are excited to share it with other people. If you’re confident in your work, your client will be too