This could get uglyPresenting: this could go one of two ways.

Presenting in front of a client is no longer common place.
Everyone is busy.
Everyone is impatient.
Everyone is tuned to immediate gratification.

Added to that, computers and the internet make transfer of files so quick it’s hard to argue a presentation should be delayed until there’s time to meet.

That means when you do get in front of a decision maker, it’s gold. You need to have clarity about what you want from the meeting and that in part depends on the why of the meeting.

There are two reasons why a meeting:

  1. For an update.
  2. For a decision.

What you present and how you present depends on the why.

An update

If a meeting is called for an update, it’s safe to assume there’s already an agreed strategy and a set of tactics. The meeting is to confirm direction.

If that’s the case, respect everyone’s time.
Confirm the scope.
Explain where you are at within the scope.
Zoom in on the actions in play.
Explain what’s working and what isn’t.
State what you need to progress.

Ask for a decision.


If the meeting is to change opinion, zooming into irrelevant detail will waste precious time.
Change is bigger picture.
Change is about ideas and perception.
Change is about making impact and impression.

Explain the change you want and why.

Ask for a decision.


If you are making a presentation rather than sending a pdf, make sure it is clear why you are there, and what you want from the meeting.

It’s about soft skills like respect and communication.
And collaboration and co-creation.

Use those skills well and you’ll be invited back for a second meeting.


Carol Mackay

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The Design Business Review is Australia’s only online design management magazine. It’s professional development information written specifically for Australian designers by Australian designers. Best of all, it’s free.

Carol Mackay has embraced change. After 30+ years running a graphic design firm, she pivoted from client-focused projects to consult to the design industry. Now with the Design Business Council she uses her experience, and research, to help designers build robust, sustainable businesses, and help businesses integrate, and profit from, design.

Carol works to help designers de-mystify the complexities of managing a small business. The core of the DBC is the building a design community – over 85% of designers work in businesses with less than 5 employees, many less than 3. That means designers don’t have the same support network of other professionals. The DBC’s solution is supplement  paid gigs with mentoring breakfast meet-ups, informative UNseminars and practical workshops in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

In 2018 Carol co-founded the Clear Communication Awards, and the Business of Design Week. Both will be run in 2019

An archive of her design work at
Her current work can be viewed at and

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