Presenting to Clients 101

Artists and designers are extremely creative and full of passion. Each project involves pouring a little bit of your heart and soul into it. So what happens when you’re then asked to present this labor of love to a client? Often presenting design work can be intimidating and seem daunting. How do you ensure the client sees your passion and interprets the work you’ve expended so much time and energy into? RMCAD has compiled some tips to consider when presenting to clients. 

Before your presentation

First impressions matter in any industry and ultimately help you close a deal. Do your research on who you will be speaking to beforehand. Make sure to be punctual, greet those you are presenting to, and introduce yourself professionally. Take into consideration each aspect of your presentation. The wording and visuals are extremely important. Think about the purpose of the presentation, are you showing research, sketches, selling an idea, etc? Keep in mind the time allocated for your presentation. Use a well-designed template for your presentation to keep your brand imaging consistent. With things increasingly shifting toward a digital modality, prepare your space, presentation, and yourself for virtual delivery of your presentation. Practice as much as possible. 

While presenting to clients

Be aware of the body language you’re potentially presenting. Eye contact is crucial and should be used as often as possible. Avoid using “filler” words such as “like” or “um” as it shows hesitation and unpreparedness. Use imagery and language that will speak to the clients (which is why researching them beforehand is essential). Your message should be well-worded, but not rushed. Your job is to tell a story. Talk through the design, how it came to be, its benefits, and how it solves the problem the client has expressed. Keep in mind the 10/20/30 rule for PowerPoint presentations. This means you should use ten slides for a twenty-minute presentation, and each slide should use a thirty-point font. Be confident in your presentation. You are giving this because you believe in whatever it is that you are showing to the audience, and if you believe your idea is good it will come across in the way you present. 

Concluding your presentation

Remind your client what they want in the first place, and reiterate how your solution helps them accomplish that goal. Ask questions about moving forward and what is needed on your end, and be prepared to also answer any questions they may have. Be open and honest with your client(s) about your limitations, and keep communication open throughout each step of the design process. Thank them for their time and the opportunity to present. When negotiating a proposal or contract, you want to set the expectations early in the process. Make sure you understand the cost, time, and design scope that is expected of you. 

Presenting to clients should give you more respect and less pushback. The more practice you have and the confidence that you portray, the better your work will be understood. As a RMCAD student, you always have the option to utilize the Student Learning Center to practice your client presentation skills and get some experience under your belt. Utilize the resources and people around you for help as often as possible. 

This piece was written with the help of Andrea Guevara from the SLC. The SLC welcomes students from all programs both on-campus and online who strive to do better in the classroom while perfecting their craft. Self-schedule an appointment with the SLC here or email the SLC at learning@rmcad.edu.