5 tips for productive design meetings

Hi! I'm Qi Qu, a designer at 👉 NOVODA LONDON. I communicate on Twitter(@cooky77) and share designs on Dribbble(dribbble.com/Q_Q) sometimes.

As a designer here at Novoda I’m often out meeting clients and presenting design concepts and iterations. I’ve picked up a few tips along the way that might help my fellow designers to have more productive client meetings:

1. Be prepared

Set an agenda in the meeting invite to make it clear exactly what will be covered.

Open all the necessary documents and web pages before the meeting so you don’t have to take time to find things in the meeting, which can look a little unprofessional.

2. Speak the client’s language

In any industry there is a lot of jargon and not everyone will use the same terminology as you do. Clients may not appreciate you correcting them, so it helps if you adopt their way of describing things or find easy ways to explain what you mean without making anyone feel stupid. For example, not all clients are familiar with the Overflow button in Android so I sometimes refer to it as the ‘3 dots’ button to make it as clear as possible what I mean.

3. Keep the bigger picture in mind

When you’re presenting a design to client, don’t get drowned in the details like shadow depth or corner rounding. Put the design in context of the bigger picture eg how your design serves the business goals or meets the user requirements effectively.

4. Don’t get defensive

It can be hard if a client is critical of your design but it’s always best to avoid getting defensive.

Clients may have valid questions about how it suits their branding or meets their needs and they may know their audience better than you so their points could be valid. Ask open questions to get as much information from them as you can about what they feel isn’t working. Revisit the brief to see if this needs to be adjusted and get any further relevant information you can from the client, like brand guidelines or examples of other materials.

If you feel you have a strong argument then don’t be afraid to discuss this further with the client and try to help them see why you’ve approached the design in that way.

5. Be smart when challenging clients

When you have a strong opinion about why something you’ve been asked to do won’t work, you need to explain your thought process clearly to the client to get them on board. Avoid making negative statements like “This won’t work!”.

Instead try walking through step by step explaining what might happen if their design suggestion is implemented, and pointing out the potential risks along the way before offering them another solution. It will be even more convincing if you can back this up with evidence or examples to support your argument.

About Novoda

We plan, design, and develop the world’s most desirable Android products. Our team’s expertise helps brands like Sony, Motorola, Tesco, Channel4, BBC, and News Corp build fully customized Android devices or simply make their mobile experiences the best on the market. Since 2008, our full in-house teams work from London, Liverpool, Berlin, Barcelona, and NYC.

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