Whether it's in front of just one person or in front of a board of directors, giving design presentations to your clients can be scary, even for the most seasoned graphic designer. In this episode of Resourceful Designer, I share 12 steps you can use to make your design presentations great.
Please listen to the podcast to hear me act out two fictional presentations to show you the difference these 12 steps can make.
It doesn't look good if you stumble on your words, or you don't come across as knowing what you're talking about. It doesn't matter if you're presenting in person or via video, you need to come across like you know what you're talking about. After all, you should know what you're talking about. If you need to, write out your presentation in full or point form and study it. It will help you know your material inside and out. Plus, should your client interrupt you with questions, you'll know your presentation well enough not to be thrown off track.
This one should be obvious. Make sure you show up for your design presentations on time. If you don't show up on time you already have a strike against you regardless of what you present. The client may love your design, but as far as future projects are concerned, designers are replaceable and they may not consider you if they think you are not punctual.
I'm a T-Shirt and Jeans kind of guy. But I would never go into a meeting dressed that way. when you're doing your research for your design (you are doing research aren’t you?), also find out what type of client you have. If they all wear suits and ties to work, you should do the same. If they wear khakis and Hawaiian shirts, dress better than them. Don't be afraid to be overdressed. It's better than looking underdressed.
People like holding things, but don't give them out before the meeting. You want their eyes on you as you lay out the story of the design. If you give them handouts they will be more focused on what's in their hands and not on you. By the time you reach the grand finale of your presentation, they will have already seen it in the handout.
If you show confidence people will be more inclined to trust you and engage with you. You've been hired to do a project, so don't act as if you're applying for the position. Act like someone who is already familiar with the position. You also show confidence with the words you choose. Never use words like "I think you'll like this" or "Maybe we could do this". Instead show your confidence in your abilities by using decisive words like "You'll like this" or "We should do this". Don't give your client a chance to consider if you are right or not. Use your words with confidence and they'll know you are right.
Work recognisable keywords into your presentation. Use keywords like brand recognition, brand awareness, customer loyalty, increased sales, better exposure, growth. Terms that will leave a positive impression on your client and make them more inclined to go along with what you say.
Whether you were provided with a formal brief for the project or it was just a casual email conversation, make reference to it. Not only does this show that you were paying attention but it shows that you take what the client has to say seriously.
Your client doesn't know what goes into designing something. All they know is what they are paying you. Give them some peace of mind by explaining the type of research you did. Give details so they know the money they are paying you is worth it. Plus, talking about your research gives them insight into the type of person you are and they will appreciate you that much more.
The best presenters use a system. They tell the audience what they are going to see, then they show the audience, and finally they tell the audience what they saw. Your presentation should be done the same way. This three step approach will help you client retain the information you are giving them and they will feel you've given a very good presentation.
This one is tricky. When preparing your presentation try to think like your client and anticipate any questions they might have. Then address them in your presentation. You'll come across as someone very knowledgeable and help put them at ease.
This might be just one project. But there's no harm in planting the seeds for future work. Try to work into the presentation other things you could do for them. Mention other services you offer. Things they may not have even thought about. The best thing to do is include them in the process. Don't say things like "This new design will help you grow your business" instead say "Together, with this new design we can grow this business"
Don't wait too long. Call or send an email the next morning asking if there are any new questions that came up that you could answer. In fact, let them know during your presentation that you will be following up the next day in case they think of any new questions. This way they know to expect your call. A few days later follow-up if you haven't heard from them to inquire if they've reached a decision.
Let me know what you do for your presentations? Please leave a comment for this episode.
Due to time constraints, I didn't answer a question this week. But I would love to answer yours in a future episode of the podcast. Submit your question by visiting the feedback page.
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Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org