I remember being a designer new to the industry and hearing for the first time that less than half of my job would actually be “pushing pixels”. Say that again… I would need to be a design advocate because more than half of my job would be communicating (and presenting) to stakeholders (and non-designers).
So how do we present well? This is a big conversation in the design world right now. Tons of designers are talking about it. Honestly, I think (like a lot of things) presenting well comes from experience actually doing it. There isn’t just one solution.
With that said, I’m going to share my top 3 tips for presenting your work to stakeholders. These tips have helped me communicate my design with success and I think they will help you! Ready?
- You MUST know the ins and outs of your design and be able to speak to EVERYTHING. I’m not kidding here. Every question that might come up — from product manager, to developer, to CEO — will come up, and you are the expert here. Be prepared to address all questions with confidence and an articulate answer. To help with this, set expectations at the beginning of your presentation — an intro to the presentation should be a good way for the stakeholders to know what they will be seeing and what to expect, this is to avoid surprises, assumptions, and speculations and it is also an index of content. Read more about this topic here.
- Pitch a story — not just an idea — people REMEMBER stories, stories INSPIRE, and they establish CREDIBILITY . Think about it, you’ve done the desk research, you interviewed your users, you created a persona that know as well as your best friend. You have read, heard, and written so many stories. Communicate those to the people you are presenting to. These stories will resonate more than just an idea. Framing your design descriptions around stories will give you amazing credibility and get others excited about your work. Read more about this topic here.
- Your pitch is an opportunity to build influence and trust — not just for yourself and your design, but for design at your organization as a whole. Treat every presentation as the opportunity to build influence by communicating your ideas and expertise. Create killer presentations that are clear and to the point (check out this article). And PLEASE, explain your UX jargon. We cannot assume everyone we are presenting to knows what an affinity map is, or even what IA means. As designers, we build trust and influence by communicating well — and this includes translating the language we speak into the language the rest of our organization understands. Read more about this topic here.
I hope that some of these tips are helpful to you as you move forward in your design career!
Hope you have a great week!