Presenting Concepts: In Person vs. Email

Hi everyone,

I’m an in-house designer but the CEO frequently works out of the country. I’ve always liked to present my concepts in person so I can control the flow of the conversation and provide context for my designs. However, for the sake of time this isn’t always possible. How do you present a concept via email/online slideshow while making the best case for your designs?

Thanks in advance!

99% of the time, I present concepts over email. I have several clients that I’ve never actually met face to face.

There is nothing you can do to prevent someone from skipping ahead in your PDF presentation. The best thing you can do is provide them with a strong enough presentation that provides context for each option you present.

I typically present each option on it’s own page/slide, along with a short description of what makes this option unique compared to the other options. Maybe even include alternate views of the option on the same page as well. And if its a very large/deep conceptual project, I might even provide title/transition pages between each options to provide more context to the option they are about to see.

Then I will follow up all of the options with a comparison page that shows each option together on one page.

And finally, a page dedicated to alternate designs that were made in the process of making the main options I presented.

In the email, I might say which one is my favorite and briefly state the reasons why.

I don’t present in person unless it’s a big deal and the stakes are high. That’s the client’s preference.

I schedule a phone appointment, then put the proof in a shared dropbox. During the appointment they open the PDF and we go through it page by page and discuss.

There’s also Skype, which can work quite well once you get used to it.

Still, I greatly prefer in-person interactions when I’m showing people things. When working with many clients — especially new ones — it can be difficult to overcome a client’s initial skepticism and establish the trusting relationship necessary to convince them to take a leap of faith on ideas they might have reservations about.

Even though it’s often necessary, email is especially bad for doing this since written words can be so easily misunderstood. Phone calls are missing the whole visual thing, but at least voice inflections can be heard, which really helps. Skype, GoToMeeting, Facetime, etc., adds the visual part back into the equation, but it can be awkward and somewhat unnatural.

I present via email. Saves time. I thoroughly dislike meetings.

I understand that designers want to sell and make a case for their designs. If I’m presenting several concepts, I might note which design I think works best and why but ultimately, it’s the client’s choice.

If you don’t like a design, best not to show it at all.

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