5 Tips for Great Design Presentations

This topic is a challenge and a passion for me. I’m not a designer but I’ve been working on this in the latest projects. On one of this projects I had to prepare a design presentation for a large group of stakeholders and directors. Since then, design presentations are one of my major concerns in all projects, with no exceptions. They are a mirror of our work quality and most important, they set the story straight: We know what we are doing. We’re professionals and that’s why you’ve hired us.

One of my first inspirations was Mike Monteiro’s article 13 Ways Designers Screw Up Client Presentations. Great tips that really helped. Even now, I sometimes revisit the article to remember these recommendations.

So, what I’ve learn from all this experience? Here are 5 tips that really make a difference when presenting Design to a Client:

1. Storytelling

Begin telling the project’s story. Where did it begin, why, what’s the goal, the success metrics, what UX & strategy activities did the team worked on, the major conclusions. Everything that you are showing in the presentation has a story behind it. The story helps you justify every decision and of course, your previous work (if they had any doubts about the worth of it!)

2. Ask for specific feedback

Ask exactly what feedback you want to hear. And don’t be afraid to say the words “We don’t want to hear now if you like or not. We really need your feedback about ….”. Be very, very specific. That helps focus the meeting on what really matters for the project. Don’t blame the client for feedback that doesn’t benefit the project. It’s your responsibility to educate and ask for the right kind of feedback.

3. Be prepared to explain

Study your lesson very well. Every decision needs to be justified. Every question needs to be answered with facts, information and towards the project’s goal. And never be afraid to say “I don’t know” if that’s the case. But you better be prepared to explain why.

4. Stay in control. The meeting is yours.

Stand up! Set the rhythm. What they are going to see? When is the Q&A part? Share the agenda, how and when things are going to happen. Be friendly but assertive. Be yourself. And remember: you’re the professional they’ve hired to do that important job.

5. And please, please, don’t email your design.

Never! I know it’s easier and sometimes it’s a time saver, but the impact it’s dramatically different. Do a remote presentation if you need to. No excuses.

And one more tip (maybe the best one): It’s your turn now. Be confident. Just fu$%#& do it!