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Presenting creative to a non-creative client

by / Sunday, 16 March 2014 / Published in Creativity

Presenting creative concepts or design options is tricky. If you just slide a laser print across the board room table for your client to look at, you often run the risk of boring them into a lack of confidence in your design ability. That sounds like a generalization, I know. But, it’s not. There’s something about an un-dramatic creative presentation that just screams, “You’re not a very important part of my day” to your client. Even if your work is good, they might not realize it IS good.

Worse, they may not know what good is.

I love creative presentations. Every chance I get to make one, I like to play it up. If I’m showing them a print design, I’ll mount it to a board and present it to them. If it’s a digital presentation, I’ll often create a walk-through PDF with a setup page, briefly explaining the concept before it’s revealed.

Note the word “revealed”. Magicians reveal their tricks through elaborate showmanship. You should do the same. Even a business card design can benefit from a little spit-and-polish. Here’s my approach…

I always stand to present. Makes it a bit of a show.

I always introduce my team (if the client is new or unfamiliar with the players). Give credit where it’s due.

I always talk about the brief – what we were asked to do. Lets the client know we payed attention.

I always talk about our approach and strategy meeting the brief. Let your client know they had your full attention when working on their brand.

I always present the concepts and designs one at a time. Build the anticipation.

I always show them my favourite version last. End on a high note.

All of this takes about 20-30 minutes. I don’t ramble on, and I keep my explanations very NON-technical and free of buzz words and jargon. You’re a bit like the MC at a gathering, or the stage man introducing the band. An authority figure with confidence, and an entertaining manner. Be brief, and to the point. Be charming. Let the client know you’re excited about the ideas or designs they’re about to see.

Many of the clients you’ll have during your career aren’t creative people. They’re used to spread sheets and meetings with accountants. Further, you represent a part of their job that makes them uncomfortable. They don’t want to make the wrong decision and look bad for their peers. They’re looking to you to show them what good creative is. A lot of that happens in the presentation phase. If you love the work, and it shows, 8 in 10 times, they’ll love it because your confidence in the work eases their anxiety.

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