Jeffrey Zeldman on speaking and writing
When asked “Which of your qualities helped you most to succeed in the industry?” in an interview on PSDtoWP:
My speaking and writing ability has done more for my career than my Photoshop skills or coding chops. I encourage every designer to blog (even if nobody is reading), and to speak. Hold sharing days at your company where you talk about a project you’re working on. Give ten-minute talks at local meetups. Work your way up from there. Designers and developers tend to be shy. We’d rather be in our cubicle, in our hoodies, with our headphones on, tuning out the world, than interacting with other people and defending our ideas. But it’s only by verbalizing ideas that we develop ideas. Teaching is another great way to figure out what you actually know by sharing it with someone else. The more writing, teaching, and speaking you do, the more confident you will become in your ideas, and the more you will be able to influence others when it counts. This is hugely important if you’re going to have a design career. You don’t just present your work, you must sell it. Most clients have no way of properly evaluating design. If you don’t explain it to them, they’ll pick the safe option every time. Stubbornness and willingness to speak directly and boldly have also helped my career. If I hadn’t had those qualities, I wouldn’t have been able to sell web standards to browser makers and designers, and the web would be completely different (and nowhere near as advanced).