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13 Ways Designers Screw Up Client Presentations58:46 with Mike Monteiro
The hardest part of design is presenting work. I’ve seen people who did amazing work get up in front of a client and lay eggs. I’ve also seen people do alright work and wind clients around their little finger. Optimally, you want to do good work and present it well. But I’d rather have a good designer who can present well than a great designer who can’t. Work that can’t be sold is as useless as the designer who can’t sell it. Presenting is a core design skill. In this session we’ll go over the most common mistakes designers make when presenting their work, and how to avoid them.
[SOUND] I cannot see you because of this incredibly bright light. 0:04 Stand up if you're a designer. 0:11 Thank you. That's better. 0:15 I'm not going to stand up, Mike. 0:17 I'm a user experience professional. 0:19 I'm going to wait until you call on me. 0:20 If you put anything on the web you are a designer, so stand up and 0:22 give yourselves a round of applause. 0:26 >> [APPLAUSE] >> Because what you do is hard and 0:30 I am going to make you feel very bad about it for the next hour. 0:36 >> [LAUGH] >> When I'm done, 0:41 I'll make you feel good again, and it'll be worth it. 0:43 My name is Mike Monteiro, and I am a designer. 0:47 And I am here to help you, because we share a craft. 0:50 And I care about that craft. 0:55 I think it's an important craft, an honorable craft. 0:57 A craft that when you do it right can mean the difference 1:00 between people doing something wrong and people doing something right. 1:04 People having a bad time. 1:08 People having a good time. 1:09 It can mean a better life for the people who come in contact with our work, so 1:13 it's worth practicing right. 1:16 And I know all of you feel the same way. 1:18 Or you wouldn't be here. 1:20 I have some very bad news for you though. 1:23 You have been lied to! 1:28 You have been deceived. 1:32 You have been told fictions. 1:34 Given this information, told falsehood, sold the bill of goods. 1:38 You, my dear brothers and sisters have been bamboozled. 1:42 >> [LAUGH] >> Your design 1:45 professor told you that if you just follow good design basics, 1:50 if you just kept it simple, if you just made it Swiss enough. 1:54 >> [LAUGH] >> If you learned how to use 2:00 Helvetica correctly and keep things to a nice tight little grid, 2:05 your clients couldn't help but be swayed by it. 2:09 And he was wrong. 2:13 The mayor of Brooklyn told you. 2:18 That if you just poured your soul into it, if you just lovingly crafted it, 2:22 if you stayed true to yourself, if you meant it more than anybody else did. 2:28 Well then people just couldn't help seeing how pure your heart light was could they. 2:35 >> [LAUGH] >> And in the end, 2:41 doing what you love was the utmost calling that a designer could aspire to. 2:44 And he was full of shit. 2:49 >> [LAUGH] >> Your 2:50 design school taught you that if you could talk about your work with other designers, 2:56 and formally critique it with other people who share your craft. 3:01 And other people who spoke the same language. 3:06 That would be enough. 3:09 Designing for designers is bullshit. 3:11 And they are releasing designers into the world who do 3:16 not know how to earn a living. 3:19 Staying alive is not a soft skill. 3:21 They stole your money, and their sin may be the biggest of all. 3:27 Your design education was terrible. 3:32 And it wasn't your fault. 3:37 Cooper Union president or soon to be former Cooper Union President. 3:42 >> [APPLAUSE] >> Jamshed Bharucha lied to you more than 3:47 anyone. 3:51 He said you can no longer have a free education. 3:51 He almost destroyed one of New York's most venerable institutions, but 3:56 thanks to the efforts of people like Mike Essel and 4:01 the good work of the New York attorney general, his lies were exposed. 4:04 He cannot lie to you anymore, and good riddance. 4:09 You, my brothers and sisters, were told that good design sells itself. 4:16 You were told that good things come to those who wait. 4:22 You were told that quality rises. 4:26 You were told that the making was enough. 4:29 That your place was in front of a screen. 4:34 They labeled you a creative, gave you a panda hat, and 4:37 told you to go off and find inspiration. 4:40 >> [LAUGH] >> You were deceived. 4:42 >> Does good design sell itself? 4:53 >> [LAUGHTER] 4:55 [APPLAUSE] >> Fundamentally, no. 5:02 No, it does not. 5:08 I run a design shop. 5:15 And we stay in business by moving projects through the door. 5:18 They come in, we do the work, they go out. 5:21 And then we get paid. 5:23 And for all that you hear, about quality of life, 5:27 collaborative environments, having beer on tap. 5:31 Having a ping-pong table in the workplace. 5:34 All of that bullshit. 5:40 All of those reasons people tell you about 5:41 that are the reasons why they love where they work. 5:45 There is one thing, one thing that will always hold true. 5:47 If you stop paying people they stop coming to work. 5:53 >> [LAUGH] 5:57 >> That means that I need to one get work. 6:03 Two I need to move the work through the door. 6:10 Three I need ensure a certain level of quality with all the work. 6:15 And four, I need to get paid. 6:22 We managed to stay in business because we know how to sell the work we do. 6:25 Now some of you may be surprised, 6:30 because you thought you came to a design conference. 6:35 This is a design conference. 6:40 I am talking about design. 6:41 I am talking about how you present your work to a client. 6:43 And this is important whether you call yourself a designer, 6:46 a developer, a content strategist, an IA, 6:49 or whatever other funny little word you come for what we do this week. 6:52 To me, they are all the same. 6:57 This is about how to make the argument for your work. 7:00 This is about putting your work in front of a client, or a boss, or 7:04 a manager, or an investor. 7:08 This is helpful whether you work in a studio, an agency, 7:11 a startup, a big company, or for yourself. 7:15 You are always, always going to have to be convincing someone of something. 7:19 You're always gonna have to be convincing someone the work is good. 7:26 You're always gonna have to be convincing them that you made the right decisions and 7:29 matching those decisions to their project goals. 7:33 That is what I mean by selling design. 7:36 And you can do this by using 7:41 a very simple formula that I have come up with and patented. 7:44 It is so simple that I have gotten it down to two steps. 7:48 Step one, do good work. 7:55 Easy, right? 7:59 Step two, persuade them that it's good. 8:02 You take either of these things out of the equation and it falls apart. 8:07 That's how you know it's a good equation. 8:11 If you take step one out, you're pushing swill. 8:13 If you take step two out then it doesn't matter how good the work was, 8:17 because you didn't convince anybody that it was good. 8:22 A designer who can do pretty good work, and persuade a client that it's right. 8:28 Is worth more to me than a designer who does incredible, 8:34 amazing work, but cannot persuade a client that it's good. 8:39 The former? 8:45 The former's helping me meet payroll. 8:45 The latter is a burden to my payroll. 8:47 The myth that good design sells itself, it's a myth. 8:51 It's a terrible, destructive, stupid myth. 8:54 Good ideas are not always obvious. 8:59 Lets take a look at an example. 9:03 Who knows what this is? 9:07 You're all terrible. 9:13 Obviously this is a hula-hoop. 9:16 You know, for kids. 9:22 Has anyone here seen The Hudsucker Proxy? 9:23 Okay, so that's the people who are over 30, great. 9:28 >> [LAUGH] >> So in the Hudsucker Proxy, 9:31 weird-ass Tim Robbins, who's always taller than you remember him being. 9:35 >> [LAUGH] >> He went around with his stupid 9:39 drawing folded up in his pocket through the entire movie. 9:43 And every once in a while, he would pull it out. 9:46 And he would try to convince whoever he was talking to that this 9:47 was a major breakthrough idea. 9:52 And it was. 9:55 At the height of it's popularity in 1957, 9:58 Wham-O sold 25 million Hula Hoops in two months. 10:02 That is a lot of stupid little circles. 10:08 And every time I watch this movie I cringe because poor, weird Tim Robbins. 10:12 Keeps pulling out this stupid drawing with a gleam in his eye and 10:20 saying you know, for kids! 10:24 And he was sitting on an incredibly rich idea. 10:29 But he couldn't sell it, and no one took him seriously because this was possibly 10:34 the worlds most terrible sales job. 10:38 It leaves too much for the client to figure out. 10:41 It leaves too many dots to connect. 10:43 No idea of how this is in the clients interest. 10:47 And no research as to whether there would even be a demand for it. 10:51 Dumbass Tim Robbins had either no data, nor 10:56 a good story to back up his stupid circle. 10:59 All he had was this one dumb, adorable line. 11:03 You know, for kids! 11:07 And yet, I have seen way too many designers in my lifetime throw a site up 11:11 on a screen during a presentation, and basically do the same thing. 11:16 >> [LAUGH] >> You know, for users! 11:21 For users! 11:28 I've done this myself. 11:32 Selling is one of the last and toughest skills that a designer picks up. 11:35 So tough that some designers convince themselves that it's not even a skill 11:40 they need. 11:44 They're happy to leave it to somebody else. 11:46 Maybe an account manager. 11:49 Maybe a creative director. 11:51 >> [COUGH] >> But the thing is, if you 11:52 let somebody else sell your work, you have to be happy with how they've sold it. 11:56 And you can't complain that somebody else isn't selling your work the way 12:01 you would sell it. 12:04 You need to be doing it yourself. 12:06 Oh, but my boss won't let me. 12:09 Your boss is a choice. 12:12 >> [LAUGH] 12:14 >> [APPLAUSE] 12:20 >> Make better choices. 12:23 >> [LAUGH] 12:24 >> Selling is a core design skill. 12:28 You should be able to explain every single decision that you have made on 12:33 this project to your client. 12:38 And you need to be there to answer the clients questions. 12:40 You need to be there to receive their feedback. 12:44 And to see the look in their eyes when they're seeing it for the first time. 12:47 Seeing it for the second time. 12:50 Seeing it for the third time. 12:51 You need to be there, because when the client says, change this to blue Bob. 12:53 The account manager's gonna write down, tell the designer to change this to blue. 13:00 But only you, will know to say what are you hoping to accomplish by doing that. 13:06 Because that is part of a designer's toolbox and it takes a designer to know, 13:14 to ask that question. 13:19 And how many of you have had an account manager- 13:23 >> [LAUGH] 13:26 >> Or a creative director return from 13:27 a client presentation with a list of prescriptive changes without 13:30 any context whatsoever? 13:34 And half of which run counter to the project goals. 13:38 And you roll your eyes and oh, how designers love to roll their eyes. 13:44 And then you get angry. 13:52 And you should be angry. 13:55 You should be angry that somebody didn't do their job right. 13:56 Except that person was you, sweetness. 14:01 >> [LAUGH] >> You had somebody else doing your job. 14:03 So you don't get to complain about how they did it. 14:10 And I'm gonna let you guys in on a little secret. 14:15 It may not be a secret to some of you. 14:17 Just between us, last year sucked. 14:20 >> [LAUGH] >> There were fewer clients. 14:26 The clients that did exist were taking a longer time to sign. 14:33 We were in one of those terrible down cycles, 14:38 the worst down cycle I've seen in the 20 years that I've been doing this. 14:40 And while I try to stay away from the ridiculous 14:44 all the design studios are dying, chicken little bullshit. 14:46 Because I know, I've been doing this 14:50 long enough to know that this shit is cyclical and it comes back. 14:53 There were times when just keeping the studio afloat and being able to pay my 14:56 people meant that I had to walk out of a presentation with a check. 15:00 Or we would die. 15:09 Our very survival depended on our ability to sell design right then and there. 15:12 And great design if you can't sell it, isn't gonna keep any lights on. 15:20 It's not gonna pay your people. 15:24 And every studio owner I know, 15:29 every person who hires designers made two lists last year. 15:31 And if they tell you they didn't, they are lying to you. 15:37 And there were lists of who was staying and who was going. 15:42 And sadly, a lot of us actually had to pull those lists out this year. 15:45 And the number one criteria for figuring out which list you went on. 15:51 Was whether you could sell design or not. 15:59 If you are a designer the best way to measure whether your job is safe, 16:02 is whether you are coming back from those presentations with a sign off or 16:06 even better a check. 16:10 Nobody is gonna fire the money maker. 16:12 That means you need to be able to present your work. 16:16 You need to be able to present it on point and correct. 16:18 Because presenting is the life force of staying in business. 16:22 And that's true whether you run your own place or your a freelancer or 16:26 you work at a big company. 16:29 You might not feel it right away at a big company, but 16:31 eventually it catches up with you. 16:33 And I know that everyone here wants to keep practicing this 16:37 craft that we love so much. 16:40 And I wanna help make you better at it. 16:43 So let's take a look at the 13 biggest mistakes designers make during client 16:46 presentations. 16:50 And let me just start off by telling you, I have made every single one of these. 16:51 I still make some of them. 16:58 Everyday, I strive to be a little bit better. 17:00 Some days, I manage it. 17:03 Some days, I don't. 17:04 I go back, and try it again the next day. 17:05 But before we get into it let's make a couple of assumptions. 17:08 One, let's assume the work is good because like I said, 17:13 I am not here to help you learn how to push swill. 17:16 I have no interest in it what so ever. 17:19 And two, 17:22 let's assume that you've done some due diligence in terms of testing this work. 17:23 All right, let's roll. 17:30 Mistake number one, you are not there to be the clients friend. 17:32 No one hired you to be their buddy. 17:43 There's another name for that. 17:46 It's not designer. 17:47 They hired you to solve the business problem. 17:50 Your client hired you, because you are the expert at what you do. 17:52 They hired you because they have a business need. 17:57 A business need that you are uniquely qualified to solve. 18:00 You need to get used to that. 18:05 That is your value in that relationship. 18:07 And in hiring you, they have acknowledged that one, 18:09 they have a need and two, that you can solve it. 18:12 You have been brought in to add your expertise to 18:17 the client's expertise to help them accomplish a goal. 18:20 What they did not hire you to do is to make them happy or to be their friend. 18:24 Your decisions should revolve around achieving that client's goal. 18:29 Not pleasing them. 18:33 And while you should do everything in a professional and a well-natured manner. 18:34 Because nobody likes working with a dick. 18:39 >> [LAUGH] >> Never conflate helping a client achieve 18:41 a goal with making them happy. 18:45 They can be happy later, after the work launches and 18:48 all their goals are met correctly. 18:51 And clients have this amazing way 18:55 of asking you to do things that run counter to their goal. 18:58 Your job is to convince them not to do those things. 19:02 That's what they hired you for, they hired you to meet a goal. 19:06 In the end, they are gonna be better served if you see yourself 19:10 as the expert that they believe they hired. 19:14 That means that you need to present yourself 19:17 as the expert they believe they hired. 19:20 And while this may result in some uncomfortable conversations during 19:23 the project. 19:27 I guarantee you that avoiding this uncomfortable conversation now, 19:28 is gonna result in an even more uncomfortable conversation about six 19:33 months down the road, that may include people getting laid off. 19:37 So have this conversation now, to avoid that one later. 19:42 You are service professional, and 19:48 sometimes service professional has to deliver bad news. 19:51 Your dentist- Has to tell you that you have a cavity every once in a while. 19:56 Your mechanic has to tell you if your brakes are shot. 20:04 Your accountant has to tell you if you owe more taxes then you expected. 20:10 Can you imagine If any of these other service professionals 20:15 shielded you from the truth, because they didn't want to hurt your feelings? 20:20 Because they were afraid you wouldn't be friends anymore, they have a job to do? 20:26 And that job comes with ethical responsibilities. 20:32 Your job comes with ethical responsibilities too. 20:36 You are hired to solve a problem to the best of your ability, 20:40 not the best of the client's ability, the best of yours. 20:45 Mistake number two, not getting off your ass. 20:55 A client should never have to guess who's leading a presentation. 20:57 It should be obvious from the moment that they enter a room, who is in charge. 21:03 Let them know that this is your room, and make them feel welcome in that room. 21:10 Who remembers this guy? 21:18 This is an old person. 21:19 >> [LAUGH] >> This is an old person with a fuck 21:22 ton of experience. 21:27 This is Sully Sullenberger who just a few years ago landed 21:30 a fucking airplane right in that river out there. 21:34 Has anyone in this room landed an airplane in a river? 21:39 >> [LAUGH] >> Great. 21:43 But the amazing thing to me about this story 21:50 was when they started going through the audio in the black box. 21:55 There's a moment where you hear Captain Sullenburger say, my cockpit. 21:59 And at that point there was absolutely no question 22:08 of who was in charge of that situation. 22:12 I want you all to stand up. 22:14 Oh my God, but we're so tired, we've been here all day sitting. 22:17 Stand up. 22:22 >> [LAUGH] >> And I want you to repeat after me. 22:22 This is my presentation. 22:26 >> This is my presentation. 22:28 >> Oh my God. 22:31 This is my presentation. 22:32 >> This is my presentation. 22:34 >> My cockpit. 22:36 >> My cockpit. >> My presentation. 22:37 >> My presentation. 22:40 >> My cockpit. 22:41 >> My cockpit. 22:42 >> My presentation. 22:43 >> My presentation. 22:45 >> Pretty good, now sit down cause it's my stage. 22:46 >> [LAUGH] >> This is your room. 22:48 Your first job when you walk into that room or 22:54 when a client walks into that room is to inspire confidence. 22:58 Not just confidence in your work. 23:03 But confidence in the client that they hired the right person. 23:05 Every interaction that you have with them is an opportunity to 23:09 reaffirm their decision in hiring you. 23:12 Get off your ass and lead the presentation. 23:15 You will seem more confident if you're standing up. 23:18 Your voice is gonna carry better. 23:21 You're gonna look like the authority in what you're talking about. 23:23 You get to work the room. 23:26 You get to walk to where you're needed. 23:28 But Mike I'm a shy and quiet person. 23:33 I'm self effacing, and being insecure is my, is part of my oh so 23:38 well crafted designer persona that I've been perfecting over the years. 23:43 >> [LAUGH] >> I just found 23:49 the perfect pair of really big headphones to wear at my desk. 23:53 Well isn't that delightful and adorable. 23:59 You know what else you are? 24:02 You're a designer and confidence is part of this job. 24:04 The meek may inherit the world but the rest of us have to work for a living. 24:10 And like the great George Carlin said, they're meek, we'll take it back. 24:17 >> [LAUGH] >> Confidence 24:23 isn't about making you feel better, it's about making your client feel better. 24:30 It's about helping them see that they're in good hands. 24:35 It's about showing them that that big check that they wrote 24:38 had the right name on it. 24:41 It's about their insecurity, not yours. 24:43 These people have one shot at doing this project. 24:47 They worked hard to get that budget approved and 24:52 some of them are worried that their jobs might be on the line if it goes wrong. 24:54 Your confidence is about making them feel better, it's about making them at ease. 25:01 And that's good for you because the more they trust you, 25:06 the more inclined they'll be to let you do your job. 25:10 And to not interfere with how you're doing it and 25:12 to trust your decisions, especially the hard things that they don't want to hear. 25:16 So you can sit quietly in the corner and speak in a low hushed voice, but 25:24 you better be ready to go back to work and do another couple of rounds of revisions 25:27 because the client wasn't confident in what you showed them. 25:33 Because you were not confident when you presented it. 25:37 Number three, 25:43 I'm sure no one here has ever done this but starting with an apology. 25:47 Every time you apologize for something, 25:53 you are freaking the client the fuck out. 25:58 >> [LAUGH] >> Oh my god, 26:03 I wrote these people a huge check, I gave them a whole year's budget and 26:04 every time they come in here, there they apologize. 26:08 Every time you apologize you are asking your client for a reason to distrust you. 26:15 Every time you apologize you're putting a future job in jeopardy, 26:22 because this shit gets around. 26:27 And no matter how much you hope to present 26:30 at that presentation, by the time you get in that room, 26:36 whatever you have on you is the perfect amount of stuff. 26:40 So never apologize for what you're not showing, it just doesn't exist. 26:46 And any resetting of expectations should have been handled before that 26:53 meeting ever happened. 26:56 Now obviously, don't do anything stupid that you should apologize for, 26:58 like forgetting an adapter, 27:04 spilling coffee on your shirt, coming in with your zipper open. 27:05 All things I've done, by the way. 27:09 >> [LAUGH] >> If you do something boneheaded like 27:11 that, go ahead and apologize. 27:15 But do not apologize for the work. 27:17 If you don't feel like the work is up to spec, cancel that presentation. 27:22 Do not have a presentation of work that you cannot stand behind. 27:26 It is better to cancel it than to waste people's time. 27:31 And you can get away with this exactly once during a project, no more. 27:34 But by the time that you're in that room you need to be ready to present strong and 27:43 to exude confidence. 27:48 And again I'll keep stressing this, 27:51 that confidence is for their benefit, not for yours. 27:53 Your client probably answers to somebody higher up and the minute that you start 27:58 apologizing, they're gonna start picturing themselves apologizing to their boss. 28:02 And that is not a good feeling. 28:09 Mistake number four. 28:16 Not setting the stage properly. 28:18 You have gathered all of these incredibly busy people together. 28:21 They probably have other things to do, so 28:25 let them know why they're in this presentation. 28:27 Let them know why they're a necessary and an important part of this conversation. 28:31 People really like feeling needed. 28:36 And they hate having their time wasted. 28:39 So every single time that you gather people together you need to be 28:42 able to answer two things. 28:48 One why the hell are we here. 28:51 Start the meeting by thanking them for their time. 28:55 Let them know what their role's going to be, why they're here, 28:57 what you're showing them, and what kind of participation you need from them. 29:00 This is your opportunity to make them feel like experts, and they will love that. 29:05 Let them know what stage of the project you're in. 29:11 Let them know how you got to this stage. 29:13 And let them know what the decisions that come out of this meeting 29:16 help them get to the next stage. 29:19 And most importantly, number two. 29:23 When the fuck can we get out of this meeting? 29:25 Everyone's favorite part of the meeting is the end. 29:28 Let them know what it'll take to get there. 29:31 If you are looking for a design approval, start the meeting by saying, 29:33 I don't know, something vague like, we're looking for design approval today. 29:38 >> [LAUGH] >> And the minute that you get it, 29:43 the minute they give it to you, it is so 29:48 hard to get that the minute that you get it, the meeting is over. 29:50 Close your laptops. 29:56 You're done. 29:58 There are no more agenda items. 29:59 You have achieved your goal. 30:01 Never give a client time to unmake a decision, 30:03 especially a decision in your favor. 30:07 So, last year, I published this book, you're my favorite client. 30:13 Has anybody here read it? 30:18 Oh, my god. 30:19 >> [LAUGH] >> Well, I love all of you that have read 30:22 it, and there's room in my heart to love the rest of you. 30:25 >> [LAUGH] >> Tell you what. 30:31 I've got five right here, if you can get to the stage fast enough. 30:35 >> [CROSSTALK] [LAUGH] 30:38 >> Okay. 30:41 You're all disqualified. 30:42 >> [LAUGH] >> She makes 0.73 cents to your dollar, 30:43 she gets a free book. 30:47 >> [LAUGH] [APPLAUSE] 30:48 >> Lady, you already got one? 30:53 Okay. 30:58 >> [LAUGH] >> All right. 30:59 Read that, it'll make you better at what you do. 31:02 It's about client relationships, and 31:04 it was written with the intent that you would hand it to your clients. 31:06 It talks about their role in making projects go well. 31:10 And also it tells them how to deal unruly panda hat wearing designers. 31:13 And one of my favorite stories in that book, and it's got a lot of stories. 31:21 Is about one of my very favorite clients, Larry. 31:26 Larry was awesome. 31:33 >> [LAUGH] >> Larry loved to argue which is great 31:34 because I love to argue, and Larry and I would get into these huge arguments. 31:41 He was also incredibly open minded, so 31:47 you could talk him into anything as long as you were able to make your point well. 31:49 So, he was swayable, which is all you want from a client. 31:55 But we go at it, and one time we were going at it, and 32:01 we had the same goal in mind by the way. 32:04 We just had two very different ways to get there. 32:06 So, I'm making my case, and at one point Larry just leans over and 32:10 he says in a very blurry deep voice, sold. 32:14 >> [LAUGH] >> And like an idiot, I kept arguing. 32:19 And Larry to his infinite kindness, he let me finish. 32:27 And then he leaned into the table, and 32:31 said, you don't understand, when I say sold, it means you've won. 32:33 It means you can shut up. 32:39 >> [LAUGH] >> Larry taught me a fantastic 32:41 lesson that day. 32:45 Once you have gotten what you need, shut the fuck up. 32:47 >> [LAUGH] >> Everything that you do beyond 32:51 that threatens to undo the victory that you just got. 32:54 >> Number five, a particular favorite, giving the real estate tour, 33:00 let me tell you if you've ever been in this design presentation. 33:04 We put the logo on the top left. 33:11 To the right of the logo, we put navigation, 33:20 it says, book >> [LAUGH] 33:26 >> Check in. 33:30 Manage. 33:33 To the right of that, we put what we are calling utility navigation, and 33:35 then all the way to the right, we put personalization. 33:41 How many of you have sat in that design presentation? 33:50 How many of you have given that design presentation? 33:53 Never explain to a client what they can obviously, see right in front of them. 33:57 They can all see the logo. 34:02 They can all see the nav. 34:03 There is absolutely nothing more boring than a designer walking a client down 34:04 a page explaining every single thing they can see. 34:09 You gotta pull up. 34:12 You don't sell a house by talking about sheetrock. 34:14 You sell it by getting a buyer to picture themselves in the neighborhood. 34:18 You sell it by getting a buyer to picture their kids on the playground, and you get 34:22 it by scheduling the showing at the same time the really hot UPS driver comes by. 34:27 You sell the benefits of the work. 34:35 You sell how the work matches the project goals. 34:37 You sell how their new site is going to crush their competition, and 34:39 make them buttloads of money beyond their wildest dream. 34:43 Let's try this again. 34:48 So, we did some research, and 34:52 it turns out that the main reason people come to your website is to book travel. 34:54 >> [LAUGH] 34:58 >> And we looked at your current site, and 35:07 the place where they book travel is really tiny and over to the left. 35:10 And we thought, why don't we make the whole site about booking travel? 35:15 Because that happens to align with how you make money. 35:20 >> [LAUGH] 35:22 [APPLAUSE] 35:26 >> And while every decision on that page 35:33 should be made with the benefit of data and good research. 35:36 People are irrational creatures who do not make decisions based on data and research. 35:40 The data and research is what you need to make your decisions. 35:47 If people made decisions based on research and data, the world would not be boiling, 35:52 and anti-vaxxers that are literally the worst people in the world 35:57 would not be reintroducing measles into society. 36:04 People make decisions based on stories, so 36:10 when you're presenting your work find your story. 36:13 Figure out how to tell it. 36:15 Mistake number six. 36:18 Taking notes. 36:21 If you are giving a presentation, you are giving a presentation. 36:25 Find somebody else to take the notes. 36:28 They are undoubtedly important, but somebody else can do it. 36:30 That guy over there is taking notes right now. 36:34 But you're not giving a presentation. 36:37 Mistake number seven, reading a script. 36:42 You need to convince a client that you are excited about the thing you're 36:47 showing them. 36:52 Let's be honest here, this is a show. 36:54 A presentation is a show. 36:57 There's a little bit of smoke and mirrors in this thing. 36:58 You are speaking to a room full of people whose livelihood probably, 37:01 rests on your shoulders. 37:07 And the project you're doing could be the difference between them getting 37:09 a promotion, or getting laid off. 37:13 Not to mean your own ability to have a job. 37:15 You need to get these people excited, 37:20 and the best way to get people excited is to be excited yourself. 37:22 So, show some damn passion in your work. 37:26 You are telling them these things, 37:30 because you cannot not be telling them these things. 37:32 They are bursting out of you. 37:35 Let me introduce you to one of my design heroes, PT Barnum. 37:36 PT Barnum was such a great showman, 37:45 that he could get you excited about things that didn't even exist. 37:47 The excitement was the thing. 37:53 PT Barnum made a fortune for 37:57 himself during the Great Depression by selling excitement. 37:59 And all of you people who stubbornly call yourselves user experience designers. 38:03 Here's the bar. 38:10 Luckily, you are walking into a presentation with a quality object to 38:14 promote, but make no qualms about it because you are promoting. 38:19 You are promoting your work. 38:24 You are promoting yourself. 38:26 And most of all, you are promoting the client's idea, and 38:28 their vision that their idea will succeed, and helping them guide into that success. 38:33 Because if you're not, then you run 38:40 the risk of the client wondering if the idea is even good enough to be working on, 38:45 and that's a conversation that should've happened way before you took the project. 38:50 And the last thing you want going through a client's mind at this point is, 38:56 holy shit. 39:00 Not even the people I wrote that big check to are excited about this project. 39:01 Fuck. 39:05 There's gotta be a little Barnum in your presentation. 39:08 Not so much that it's a clown show, but 39:13 enough that you're building up some excitement. 39:16 You gotta be the carnival barker getting people into the dog boy tent. 39:20 You are selling design. 39:25 So, have your facts straight, have your homework done, 39:28 have your data at hand, know why you have made the choices that you have made. 39:31 But work all of them around a compelling and interesting narrative, and 39:35 practice it enough that you know it going in. 39:39 Otherwise you are going to get defensive. 39:45 You are not your work, and your work is not you. 39:47 Stand up again, I can feel you going to sleep. 39:54 [LAUGH] I am not my work. 39:56 >> I am not my work. 40:00 >> My work is not me. 40:02 >> My work is not me. 40:03 >> I am not my work. 40:06 >> I am not my work. 40:06 >> My work is not me. 40:07 >> My work is not me. 40:08 >> I am not a pixel pusher. 40:11 >> I am not a pixel pusher. 40:12 >> I am not an order taker. 40:14 >> I am not an order taker. 40:17 >> I am not a creative. 40:18 >> I am not a creative. 40:18 >> I am a designer. >> I am a designer. 40:19 >> I am a designer. 40:20 >> I am a designer. 40:20 >> I am here to solve problems. 40:21 >> I am here to solve problems. 40:27 >> I am not my work. 40:29 >> I am not my work. >> My work is not me. 40:31 >> My work is not me. 40:34 >> You can sit down now. 40:36 Your work is not an extension of you. 40:38 And it is not your personal expression. 40:40 It is work product made to meet a clients goals. 40:44 The client is free to criticize that work. 40:49 And the client is free to tell you wether they believe it has met 40:52 those goals or not. 40:55 You are free to present evidence to the contrary. 40:57 But you are not allowed to get all butt hurt about the criticism. 41:00 This is a job. 41:05 There's a difference between defending your work and getting defensive. 41:09 The latter is personal. 41:14 It happens when you're seeing the criticism as a criticism of yourself. 41:16 Good people do bad work sometimes. 41:23 Bad people do good work sometimes. 41:25 The world is a magical place. 41:28 >> [LAUGH] >> So 41:30 when the client starts critiquing the work listen to what they're saying. 41:34 Don't feel like you have to defend everything they're saying right 41:37 then and there. 41:41 You also don't have to promise them anything then and there. 41:42 Sometimes it's best just to sit on it for a while. 41:45 Now, I'm not gonna tell you to keep your mouth shut too often, so 41:49 believe me when I do. 41:52 When a client is giving you feedback, this is a great time to keep your mouth shut. 41:55 Just listen. 42:01 A quick reply will always look defensive. 42:03 Let them finish what they have to say. 42:07 And then reply with something like that's interesting feedback, Bob. 42:10 Let me think about it and get back to you. 42:14 >> [LAUGH] >> Yep. 42:21 Mentioning typefaces. 42:27 Clients don't give a shit about typefaces. 42:32 If they do, they will ask. 42:34 But you don't really want their input. 42:42 >> [LAUGH] >> You don't 42:44 really want their input on this, do you? 42:48 Do you want them picking your typefaces? 42:51 So why the fuck are you bringing it up? 42:54 The thing that I hear most from clients is, I don't know anything about design. 42:59 They're wrong, by the way, but that's another talk. 43:03 This is their way of telling you that they are uncomfortable. 43:06 They're venturing into this arena that's full of mystery for them. 43:10 They hate feeling uncomfortable, which is weird because you do to. 43:14 So, the more you dive in a tight faces, grids, CSS selectors, and 43:19 tools of your trade, the more uncomfortable they're gonna get and 43:23 the more you're making it look like you're inviting them to do your job for you. 43:28 And here's the rub, 43:33 the more that you focus on things that are comfortable for you, the more you're 43:35 letting on that you're uncomfortable talking about things in their realm. 43:39 It's on you, to get them back into their comfort zone. 43:46 Which is their business needs, 43:50 which is great, because even with all the research that you've undoubtedly done, 43:52 you are never going to be the expert in their thing the way they are. 43:57 You're the expert in your thing. 44:02 So, when you're presenting your work, talk about it in terms 44:05 that matter to their business, that relate to their needs. 44:09 Talk about how the decision that you made as a design expert, 44:13 match up against the goals of the project and 44:18 then have the client judge those decisions based on the matter experts that they are. 44:22 But the color, the type, the design shit, you got that. 44:29 If you ask them for 44:36 their opinion on design don't come crying to me when they give it to you. 44:37 And you're all like they don't know anything about design. 44:42 They warned you, they told you that. 44:47 And look we know this isn't really about type faces. 44:52 This is about boundaries. 44:57 The more that you bring up the tools of your trade the more it starts 44:59 looking like you are asking them for approval on using those tools. 45:03 Keep your clients focused on the big picture, the goals of the project. 45:10 You're going to need their help on meeting those. 45:15 You don't need their help picking typefaces, 45:18 which I am sure you are very good at. 45:20 In a room full of people discussing type, have you ever been in that room? 45:24 >> [LAUGH] >> Oh fuck. 45:28 >> [LAUGH] >> It's the most boring room in the world. 45:31 It looks like you worked really hard on this. 45:44 I worked so hard on this. 45:48 >> [LAUGH] >> The worst feedback you can 45:50 ever get from a client is, it looks like you worked really hard on this. 45:54 Stop using your work like a timecard. 46:01 The irony of what we do is if we do it right it looks like it was effortless, 46:05 which is such a pain in the ass. 46:10 It looks like it always existed and the client 46:13 is probably gonna be irritated that they paid you for 30 hours of work for 46:17 something that it looks like it took about 20 minutes which it did. 46:22 They just didn't see the other 29 hours and 40 minutes of 46:30 shit work that went into you getting the 20 minutes of good work at the end, and 46:35 for God's sake don't show it to them! 46:40 A presentation is a terrible place for a sausage-making demonstration, and you're 46:44 gonna end up looking like a defensive, unsure person who needs validation. 46:50 Just learn how to sell the hell out of those 40 minutes of good design. 46:56 Most people cannot do 40 minutes of good design so learn how to sell it! 47:01 Reacting to questions as change requests. 47:10 Why is this blue? 47:18 I can change it. 47:21 >> [LAUGH] >> Why is the logo small? 47:21 I can make it bigger. 47:29 Where is my carousel? 47:34 Coming right up boss. 47:35 >> [LAUGH] >> I have 47:37 seen this happen a thousand times. 47:41 I've done it myself. 47:44 Sometimes the client, God bless them, just has a question. 47:45 They just wanna know why. 47:51 They're just looking for your reasoning. 47:53 And when you reply to their incredibly valid question by immediately offering to 47:56 change the thing they're asking about you are opening up a huge can of worms. 48:01 What was just a question just became a problem. 48:07 Because now, something that could have been handled by 48:11 answering a very simple question, just turned into a giant ma of doubt. 48:16 Their confidence in you just dropped, and 48:22 every decision that you have made on the project is now open to being revisited. 48:25 Because if you are so quick give up the ghost on one question, 48:30 just because they dared to ask you about it, 48:34 what kind of house of straw have you built for these poor people? 48:37 And you may be offering to change something that was right, 48:43 just because someone had the audacity to ask. 48:46 Mistake number 12, not guiding the feedback loop. 48:52 There's only one question worse than what do you think? 48:56 It's coming up. 49:00 But have you ever heard a designer scream about a client giving 49:03 them the wrong type of feedback? 49:07 At which point, I will ask them if they told the client what kind of feedback they 49:11 were looking for. 49:15 And they pulled the panda hat over their head, and they hide their anger. 49:17 Most clients have absolutely no idea what kind of feedback you're looking for. 49:23 And there's no reason why they would. 49:28 They do not do this every day, they are not trained in it. 49:30 Nor do they need to be, 49:35 because guiding them towards the right type of feedback is your job. 49:37 Anything that helps you do your job is part of your job. 49:41 Know what you want before you call this presentation. 49:45 Know what kind of feedback that you're looking for. 49:48 And then guide the presentation towards Those goals. 49:50 Toward that feedback. 49:54 So during the presentation feel free to slap your hands together and 49:56 say, I don't know something vague like, 50:01 this is the kinda feedback we're looking for today. 50:05 Here are some suggestions for guiding questions. 50:12 How well does this reflect your brand? 50:17 How well does this reflect your users needs as we discussed in the research 50:20 and how well does this reflect your ad strategy? 50:26 Now, these obviously won't apply to everything but 50:29 these are the kind of questions that you need a client to give you answers to 50:31 that you cannot move ahead without getting those answers and only they can provide. 50:36 But the others, and they're gonna tell you about color. 50:43 Some of them are even gonna tell you about typefaces. 50:46 But this, this is the stuff that you need from them and they're not gonna give it 50:49 to you unless you explicitly tell them I need this kind of stuff. 50:53 Which brings us to the absolute 50:59 worst question a designer can ever ask a client. 51:03 >> [LAUGH] >> Do you like it? 51:08 Do you like it, like it? 51:16 If it had a like button on it would you push it? 51:22 >> [LAUGH] >> No really, do you like it? 51:24 >> [LAUGH] 51:31 >> Dear sweet Lord in heaven above, and 51:40 all his angels you just gave away the god damn farm. 51:42 All of the work that you and your team has done just went down the drain. 51:47 All of that great research at the beginning of the project, lost. 51:52 Every hard won victory up to this point just got chucked out the window. 51:57 The client is no longer viewing you as an expert. 52:03 You are no longer their equal in expertise. 52:07 You are no longer the person they feel comfortable enough writing a check to. 52:09 You are now reduced down to a small child showing your dad a picture of the cat. 52:16 >> [LAUGH] >> And hoping that he deems it worthy of 52:22 putting it on the fridge anchored by his magnetic Las Vegas bottle opener. 52:25 >> [LAUGH] >> Every decision on the project has 52:30 been made with the benefit of expertise and data and research and you just 52:35 uttered the most subjective phrase that could come out of a human being's mouth. 52:40 You just invited subjectivity into the room with open arms. 52:46 And why did you do it? 52:53 Well, having done it myself, I can tell you why I've done it. 52:57 Fear. 53:04 Because way down deep inside we want them to like it. 53:08 Our lizard brain equates pleasing people with safety. 53:15 If this client smiles at me he will not attack me. 53:21 And the client for their part, is already feeling uncomfortable because they're 53:29 being asked to judge design which they have never had to do before most likely. 53:33 But if you've presented it right you've described your decisions in a way that 53:39 matches their organizational needs. 53:43 And those, they understand. 53:46 But if you've done it wrong, 53:49 you've asked them to judge your work the way a designer would judge your work. 53:51 You have asked them for feedback on grids, on color, on type, on hierarchy. 53:55 You have asked them for 54:00 permission to make decisions that they have been paying you to make. 54:01 And then, you throw a giant cherry on top of the whole thing by asking them if 54:07 they like it. 54:11 Because if they like it everything is going to be okay. 54:16 We will shake hands at the end of the meeting. 54:21 We will exchange pleasantries. 54:25 We will be friends. 54:28 But no one hired you to be their friend, remember. 54:32 The client didn't hire you to make something they liked, 54:34 and something they like might not be the thing that leads to their success. 54:41 And we are professionals. 54:46 We are service professionals. 54:48 We were hired to solve a problem, 54:50 a problem that we have the unique skill set to solve. 54:52 And, we have been trained to solve it. 54:56 But the minute that we lose sight of our responsibility to solving those problems. 55:01 The minute we actually stop doing the thing that we were hired to do, 55:07 the minute that we ask for permission to do a job that we 55:11 were already hired for, we are no longer doing it. 55:16 If you want to make your clients happy then make them successful. 55:25 Do the project right. 55:29 Work with the client so that both of you are using your expertise to the fullest 55:31 because you're going to need them to do that and 55:37 they're going to need you to do that. 55:39 Respect that they're the expert at their thing and 55:41 behave like you're the expert at yours. 55:44 And trust me, I have never, ever, 55:48 in 20 years had a client come back to me and say, the site is doing well, 55:51 we've increased revenue, we've grown market share and I've gotten a promotion, 55:55 but, I'm still pissed off that you didn't let me get that carousel I wanted. 55:59 >> [LAUGH] >> Because in the end it doesn't mean 56:02 shit. 56:06 Because what they really wanted was success. 56:07 It wasn't a carousel, they just mapped it to the carousel. 56:09 You need to decouple that shit, and 56:13 you'll have to do it several times during the project. 56:14 That is in the job description. 56:18 >> [LAUGH] >> But Mike, why do hate designers? 56:25 Why are you always yelling at us? 56:29 >> [LAUGH] >> You're always telling us what we do 56:31 wrong. 56:34 You're always on the client's side in this shit. 56:35 Nothing could be further from the truth. 56:40 I love each and every one of you, some more equally than others, sure. 56:43 >> [LAUGH] >> But 56:48 most of all I love this thing we do, and I know that you love it too. 56:51 And I wanna help you keep doing it because your ability 56:56 to practice this thing we do depends on what happens in these presentations. 57:00 Work you did not sell is no better then work you did not do. 57:05 And this thing that we do is powerful. 57:09 This thing that we do can change people's lives. 57:13 We have the power to make a difference. 57:17 Good design is the difference between an automobile that explodes on impact and 57:20 an automobile where you feel like your kids are safe. 57:25 Good design is the difference between a textbook that makes you 57:28 wanna learn about science and one that turns you off of it forever. 57:31 Good design is the difference between a blind person being able to tell 57:37 what denomination of bill they're holding by size. 57:41 Good design is as close as we will ever get to touching the face of God, 57:46 and it needs to be practiced with intent, with resolve. 57:53 Sometimes with a few thrown elbows. 57:59 Very few people can do what you do. 58:03 Good design is a skill, and those who do it have been called to service. 58:07 We have a responsibility to use that skill to the best of our capability. 58:11 Because in the end, every fight we throw, 58:17 every fight that we're afraid to have is a fight that we 58:21 pass on to those that we have been entrusted to provide good design for. 58:25 In the end, we are the gatekeepers to the better world we need. 58:32 And that, that's worth fighting for [APPLAUSE] 58:38
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