Preview: How Not to Suck at Presenting Your Work

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If you are in the design field it’s highly likely you are comfortable with ambiguity, you do whatever it takes to get the job done, and you are consistently playing scenarios out in your mind and turning these scenarios into something visually appealing. Even with this comfort with ambiguity, many designers do not present their work appropriately to a client. In today’s modern society, it has never been more important for people to understand the value of designers. That means, more than ever designers need to present their work in a way that is memorable, actionable and accurately advocates their ideas.

In the panel “How Not To Suck at Presenting Your Work” Michael Gibson, Associate Professor of Communication Design and Graduate Programs Coordinator at the college of Art and Design at The University of North Texas and Megan Mead, Art Director and Designer at Creative Suitcase will give their audience a chance to understand the important techniques to presenting work.

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“Every presentation is based on making an argument. You must have the ability to simply and sufficiently articulate rationales,” said Gibson. “You must be credible and be able to align with a client.” One crucial aspect of presenting is to be conscious of the audience, keeping their interactivity and engagement high. “I look for anything but a glazed over look” said Mead, whose background in acting helps her be a little more relaxed when being in front of an audience. “You have to work the room, become a more confident character based on yourself, but at the same time you have to cater to your audience.” Although there are a lot of components to a presentation, it is important to remember why you are presenting your work to a client.

During the panel, the audience will be shown several techniques to an effective presentation. Beginning with the planning and preparation before the presentation. “Athletes don’t go play a sport without properly warming up,” claimed Mead. “The same goes for presenting, you have to be mentally prepared.” Both Gibson and Mead understand the importance of an effective presentation. Gibson has 27 years of experience with presentations as well as 19 years of academia work focused on design and presenting. Mead has her current job because of her ability to present. “Many young designers don’t have the confidence to sell their work,” she proclaimed. “If designs aren’t presented well, it opens the doors for competitors and discredits the overall design discipline.”

Attending this panel will be well worth it for anyone whose profession entails presenting. Gibson and Mead are both knowledgeable in their field and work extremely well together. There is no doubt that their SXSW panel will be memorable, with the audience walking away with tools and techniques to use during their own future presentations.

Check out Michael and Megan’s SXSW video proposal: