Whether it is to clients or to coworkers or supervisors, there are a few tricks to presenting well: Connect, Be Confident, Have Structure, and Tell a Story. Even if you never present to a room of people, even if your presentations are over Skype, FaceTime, or in an email, considering these four areas will help you sell your ideas.
Eye contact is a non-verbal way to persuade your audience to see things your way and to understand and connect with you.
Above all, you must be confident in your skills and in your ideas. When presenting in person, one of the most obvious ways of being confident is to stand up, literally. Make it very apparent that you own the ideas and the concepts you have been asked to create. Actually standing up immediately shows via basic body language that you know what you’re doing, and assures them that you can lead them through the presentation. Another key to showing confidence is to use phrases like “this will work”, and “this looks like this because”.
Try to never say the phrase, “I think”. Those two little words can completely derail your momentum in a presentation and will cause you to lose a client’s attention and eventually their trust.
You never want the client to question if hiring you was a good decision. You were obviously hired or chosen for a reason, someone trusts you and trusts your design ability, to solve their problem and you need to see yourself as the expert that they hired. Give them reasons for every single thing you did and they will trust you. Even in email presentation, using words like “this will” and “I know” will show them why what you did will benefit them and solve the projects’s goals, without any doubt. Being confident allows you to push aside misgivings or fears you might have because you know that you know what you are doing, and your client will be able to tell. Prepare your structure and plan what you will say throughout the presentation. Knowing the answers before the client can ask the questions will take the pressure off of you and allow you to exude confidence. Confidence will be your sharpest, most powerful tool. Even if you don’t know the answer at times, if you are confident on the outside regardless of the way you feel on the inside, you will be able to convince the client that you are “legit”.
Speak with conviction and inspire people to believe in your ideas and they will.
Structure gives you assurance that you won’t get lost or forget what comes next and the fear of the unknown disappears.
Insight: Share your most relevant observations from your research.
Therefore: Explain the conclusions you’ve come to based on the insight.
Concept: Articulate the design concept by revealing your actual idea in a few sentences.
Execution: Communicate how the concept will conveyed in the project/design you’re creating.
Benefit: Reveal the reason why you’re executing the project in this way and how it will relay the perks to the consumer.
Message: State the takeaway for the consumer based on the project you’ve described.
Objective: Reiterate the goal that was outlined in the initial client brief or project assignment.
Tell a Story
At this point you have already given them all the reasons and research for all that you have designed, now is the time to tell them how all of these amazing design decisions will actually do their job in a real world situation.
Side note: When explaining your design decisions, don’t get lost in the details. In other words, tell them why you chose color XYZ but don’t tell them the name of the Pantone swatch, or tell them why you chose the kind of typeface or font you chose, but don’t bore them with the name of the font. Most clients don’t care, and they won’t remember anyway; if they care, they will ask. Save that stuff for your design friends after you’ve won the client over.