The hardest part of design is presenting work. You can’t even argue about this. 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 work 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. In fact, I’d argue whether it’s possible to be a good designer if you can’t present your work to a client. Work that can’t be sold is as useless as the designer who can’t sell it.
Great article by Mike Monteiro on the much needed skill of presentations. Even though Mike is really a designer who’s medium is the web, this is still solid advice for any designer regardless of your medium.
I hated giving presentations back in my uni days because my tutors always felt like they were just out to challenge your work for the heck of it and rip it to shreds. My mistake was to take it all personally and in many ways it affected me for years. I never really felt like they were on the same side as me and years later I’ve realised that’s a terrible way to posture oneself when presenting to a client.
The reality is that a client has hired you so that you can employ your skills to benefit them and so you are intrinsically on their side. Seeing them as the ‘enemy’ just doesn’t set the right tone for the entire project.
Thankfully I’ve benefited from some really good clients and that’s bolstered my confidence a lot. The fact that I can stand in front of a group and talk without stammering is the best I’ve gotten so far.