Gail Swanson

Director of Strategy, 18F


Presenting to Decision Makers

Mon 24 October 16

The job of design includes working with decision makers, collaborating to accomplish business goals. Building a shared understanding of abstract concepts, and complex decisions is as important to a designer’s success as the quality of their work. Relying on rationale and persuasive powers to get support for that work leads to unpredictable and frequently unproductive outcomes. Effective strategies use a broader spectrum of tactics to start collaboration, get buy-in and share knowledge.

Reliable presentation strategies have emerged from years of observation and experimentation in a wide array of situations. Learn to create a presentation strategy, identify purposeful details, and handle difficult moments. Be more successful by using work presentations as an opportunity to connect and make progress.

Slides from Gail’s presentation.


Presenting to Decision Makers—The Workshop

Wed 26 October 16

The ability to work well with decision makers is critical to design success. Developing a shared understanding gives you an environment to confidently guide decisions and gather input. This workshop teaches how to craft presentations that connect with decision makers in a productive way. Attendees will play with techniques in a no-stakes atmosphere. They will also see what it looks like to get past checking homework to working with others to refine and inform the output. Share experiences, experiment and break through one of the biggest roadblocks to design success.

By the end of this workshop you will:

  • Understand the dynamics of introducing change
  • Learn how to select the details that will get results
  • Understand how to produce collaboration and alignment
  • Have strategies for when things take unintended turns

About Gail Swanson

Finding a better way, a happier way to do something is in Gail’s DNA. She couldn’t stop if she wanted to. She has spent over 15 years guiding teams to look deeper, and learn about the people they serve to create technology that helps.

Gail’s past work spans a diverse range of industries including financial services, leisure travel, advertising, and even brewery operations. She started her career as a front end developer with an education in fine art. With experience, she formed her creative approach to design, molding technology into usable systems. Gail is currently serving her country as Director of Strategy at 18F.