How to present a project in 3 simple (yet not-so-easy) steps

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You've done your research, designed and mocked up the artworks, created a kickass presentation and passed it on for feedback. The next step is presenting your work to the client. To many fear, chills and creative block are the first to take over at the very thought. But worry not! Creative Mark Buttigieg shares some tips that will put you in the right mindset so that you leave that meeting room with a satisfied client.

People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.

Seth Godin

When you're working in a creative agency there are many factors to keep in mind when presenting a project. But first, let’s rewind a little. Before you head off to present your work, you need to make sure you built your presentation on solid ground. 

The first thing you need to do, before you start working, is make sure you're briefed properly. Ask the right questions, understand the client’s needs, the market you're approaching and the timeframe you've been given for your work. Secondly, working in a creative agency means working with creative people so you should not be working alone. If you are, you’re in trouble. When the right people are involved, the more feedback you get, the stronger the end result.

These two somewhat obvious, yet hugely important, points will help you start off strong and build the confidence to succeed and win at presenting. And when the time comes to present your work, the following three tips can help you break free from fear, creative block and anything interfering with a positive mindset.

Believe in yourself

There’s a lot of noise out there - at work, on social media, the news etc. With so much going on, it’s easy to start comparing your work to that of others and start feeling you’re ‘not as good’. Don’t let this noise get to you. Filter the rubbish and follow the real stuff, the stuff that pumps you up and helps you move forward and build on your personality. 

Being humble is vital, but you must also believe that you’re insanely good at what you do. That’s why your boss employed you and trusted you with the job you've been assigned. So realise and believe that you're awesome (without sounding cocky) and build the confidence you need to boost your spirits. Keep thinking you're shit at what you do, and chances are you will create shit.

Believe in your story

We've heard this countless times. Believe in this, believe in that. Story this and story that. But it’s so true. If you don't believe in the story you're building for the client, how do you expect the client to believe in it? Our job is not just creating outstanding visuals. It’s building stories. We’re ambassadors of business identities. The client is investing a lot of time, money and trust in your story and expertise. 

I once had to do a small job for a huge, local, retail company. The job was simply to create a brochure. However, we ended up reverse engineering the process to a full-on company rebrand. How did this happen? I believed the company’s identity could look so much stronger. I understood the client’s goals, created a story they were willing to listen to and sold it like it was a proposal for my own company. 

Getting strongly briefed from the start will help build a strong story from its initial stages. Work on it, keep building on it and believe in it. In the long run it will help build the confidence you need to share your story with colleagues and people involved. Don’t be afraid to take different routes, even if it breaks the rules. 

Believe in your craft

There will be many times where you feel like a failure. I know I have. This happens to everyone. So when you feel you’re failing, embrace it. It’s through our mistakes and failures that we learn and grow. When you’re faced with these hard times, keep believing in your craft and the purpose of what you do. Keep learning and working hard. Get out of your comfort zone (you'll know when you're in it) and help others improve. 

As creatives, account executives, content writers or managers, we're not in it simply to create outstanding work. We’re building lasting relationships that give us new experiences. 

Present your projects as though you’re telling a story. Go through every single detail with precision and clear understanding. Some projects may be tougher to sell than others. But believe in your craft, your skills and your story and together they will boost the confidence you need to successfully win your client's trust.