Why designers should lecture more often

Snaskified is a recurring column by Snask, an internationally renowned creative agency that strives to challenge the industry by doing things differently. Here, founder and creative director Fredrik Öst explains the merits of lecturing…

Back in March, we went to Dublin to speak at the great OFFSET festival. This was one of many talks we will do this year but it's definitely one of the highlights.

So why do we do so many lectures? Well, we don't just get a lot of fans from doing it – we get enemies as well. But we also get work. From one talk we got Microsoft, Samsung, Scandinavia's biggest investment bank and three more clients, all from the 25 people in the audience.

Passion and energy

But back to enemies: we often get a few of them when we do presentations. They rage on about us making a show instead of presenting our work. Well, we would much rather talk about what makes us do that work and how we find the passion and energy to keep doing it at that level.

If you go to listen to a book author you wouldn't want the author to sit and read from the book for one hour. It would be much more interesting to hear how the author thinks and how they live. How do they come up with the stories and how did they end up writing? What does he or she get out of it? And so on.

The same goes for us when we talk. There are so many people talking about their own work already and if people want to see our work and know more about the actual work, it's on our website.

We know not everyone is an entertainer – and you don't have to be. Just remember there's no need to take yourself too seriously. Add humor and you will get smiles. Smiling faces are the best review of a talk.

In Dublin, Richard had a lot of stage fright and had to live up to our motto, 'Say Yes!' The audience was 2,500-strong and it was his first lecture. He pulled it off in great style and the lecture went great.

Engage your audience

A week earlier, Richard had shown his grandfather a photo of some billboards of him erected all over Dublin for the talk. His grandfather just stared at it and asked: ";What is it you're doing again?"

So at the talk, Richard filmed the entire audience and asked them to scream his grandfather's name – Colin – and they did.

If you ever get the chance to stand in front of 2,500 people, ask yourself if you want to entertain them or simply just pretend they're not there and push slides. Make them laugh and scream your name! Don't settle for anything less (unless you want to).

Words: Fredrik Öst

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