Presentation Success - Tips to Streamline the Process

Streamlining the Process of a Presentation 

I often hear clients talk about working with newer designers and how they:

1) Take a long time on providing what they see as a simple project (we know its not so simple but the new designer isn't polished and needs to practice how to communicate their ideas.

2) the designer may get their feelings hurt when the client disagrees with their choices and selections.  OR they push their ideas without really hearing the client.  AND the client has paid for this presentation

Typically, as designers, we are hired to envision, create and implement a new design for our clients but there is so much more involved in the process that most clients are not aware of.  Often the client is nervous about all the changes and possibly overwhelmed.  Communication is key.

But....for the sake of assisting you with the presentation process here are a few tips.

1) Hear the client.  You may know exactly what you think needs to happen but the key is in creating something they like and want to live in.  Of course, they want a tasteful design but you must take into consideration, this is their home or office.

2) Pull together 3 selections.  "Good, better and best.  This is so you are not proposing one design without any backups or also helps for you to be able to "move on" to something else if the client simply cannot agree with your choice. It keeps the presentation fluid and you the designer are in charge.  The client does not lose confidence in your choices if you have solutions to their refusal to one or two items.

3) Remember, your job is to deliver a cohesive design, implemented and installed for them.  This is your work but your true talent will be in being able to elevate their taste to a finished product that reflects their lifestyle.  You have to collaborate with them to create the ultimate end result and have a happy client.

4) Don't do elevations, drawings, and renderings until you have the scheme and general details worked out.  Usually, most clients do not require hand drawn or computer renderings if you do your job right.  If they do, that will cost them and you need to be sure they realize that.  Most often, you can provide the images and details in such a way they can work to understand the overall design.  More tools are being developed to create digital renderings but it is still time-consuming - more than clients realize.

5) Stay fluid at the beginning.  Understand the end result.  Pushing a client on a favorite table or item can become a problem for you.  Advise and show selections...options that will work.

Again, there are great ways to work with clients and  help them get through any fears  they may have practice the skills of communication and slow down.  This is all new to them and they need clear explanations in order to understand the process. 

But the most important thing is to remember to stay professional, stay focused on the end result and stay flexible.  If it isn't working out, then it may not be the right fit.  Don't spend hours upon hours developing a presentation.  Get the general details and scheme down so you can best provide guidance to your client and a good presentation....with options.

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Elizabeth Ribons ASID, CID,NCIDQ