A few tips to remove the awkwardness when showing clients new work.

Blog / November 20, 2018

In the business we are in, we often hear the expression “moments of truth”. One of these moments is generally the creative presentation, where we get to share work with clients who have been eagerly waiting to see where we net out. With that said, it is also a moment filled with apprehension for our clients: “What if I don’t like any of the ideas?” “How do I respond?” “Do I have to choose one idea in the room?” Not easy. Here are some tips to make the ride as smooth as possible.

Set the stage: Yes to showing less fleshed out ideas and preparing clients on what they are about to see as we begin the presentation. Creatives won’t waste time making everything perfect and spend time finding more ideas. It’s also a lot easier to let ideas go at this stage vs when you have had it mocked up 78 ways overnight. Bonus: The client is also a lot less worried about its retainer that way.

Have faith: Yes to sharing showing what they asked for, as well as what they need. Trust should go both ways, so let’s give clients a chance to see the difference between both and make the right call.

Make time for a breather: Yes to letting the dust settle before asking for feedback. Add a roundup slide of everything that was showed to facilitate discussion. Most importantly, give clients time after the presentation to sleep on the ideas, regroup as a team and come back with clear and constructive feedback.

Be humble: Yes to actually getting feedback. Our clients #1 job when they get presented ideas is to comment on them. Let’s welcome feedback and analyze its implications openly. If feedback kills an idea, kill the idea and move on.

Alex is a Managing Partner of Rethink Canada and works out of Montréal. He’s worked on the client side just long-enough to know that you want to be your agency’s favourite client.