A presentation will be made to a staff of 15 corporate individuals. Three designers are working on the project. The design staff will present the color, materials and style selection. My concern is continuity in presentation.
Can you please offer some suggestions and tips for a professional presentation?
Answer: Creating a perfect presentation will improve the quality of your design team and give you a chance to outshine the competition! It also is a selling opportunity for your company. There is no room for mistakes, as you know competition is fierce these days.
A professional presentation of your design and the way in which the materials are displayed will enhance your chances for final approval and set you apart from the competition.
Use the following suggestions as a guideline for making a professional design presentation:
• Presentation of color and style boards: At this point, you have narrowed down the style, color schemes and the materials you have selected to present. Putting together these elements is very important.
• Presentation of materials: The presentation of selected materials should be neat and clean. When organizing your selections for the presentation, choose a neutral mat board. A background color of either beige, black or gray will enhance the professional look of the materials. The selection of fabric, floor covering, wall treatments and accessories will look crisp and clear.
The size of each mat board should be the same. Usually a 32- by 40-inch board, shown horizontally, is the easiest for large presentations so that all can see. The samples should be at least five by seven inches in order to be seen from a distance. When making the presentation, always have larger sample pieces set aside in a portfolio so large patterns and colors can be seen and passed around the room.
Neatness and continuity in the display of samples is important to the success of a presentation. Care and time should be spent in creating neat, precise and easy-to-read presentation boards. There should be no wording printed on the front of the boards. It only will distract from the samples. Code each sample with either a letter or a number and place all of the information about the sample on the back of the board. Always type this information.
• Framing the presentation: Remember to leave at least a two-inch border around the mat board. The border can be enhanced by 1/8- to 1/4-inch graph tape in black.
Easels will give the presenter a chance to have his or her hands free. Travel easels that fold into a case are easy to transport and easy to set up in a short time.
• Printed material: When there is printed material to accompany your presentation, present it typed, collated and stapled. Make sure there is a copy for everyone present. At one point in your presentation, this material should be explained and leave time for a question and answer session on all materials.
Unexpected questions may be asked. Be prepared for questions on every aspect of the design concept. If you do not know the answer to a question that has been asked, simply state, "I do not know the answer, but I will get back to you this afternoon with the answer."
A successful presentation will solve a problem-in this case, the solution to the design of a particular space.
• Verbal Preparation: The best way to prepare for the verbal presentation is to practice, practice, practice. Go through your presentation with a stopwatch to make sure you have not gone too long.
Always prepare a set of note cards or index cards with the key points of your presentation. The finest speakers use a set of notes to assist in their speeches, presentations and addresses. Always be prepared!
By following these suggestions, your presentation will run smoothly, and you will stand apart from your competition. Good luck!
Sharon L. Anderson has more than 20 years experience as a professional interior designer in both commercial and residential design. She has taught at numerous colleges throughout California and is currently an educator at Moorpark College in southern California. She is a published author and frequent public speaker.