Ian Wharton reveals the secrets of giving a talk about your work

Ian Wharton has already had an enviable career – and he’s only 25. While still a student, he was lauded for his (and Edward Shires’) CG short film Solar. He went on to join top post house The Mill, where he art-directed ads for Electronic Arts and Sony. He’s now at new interactive design house Zolmo, where he helped create the hit iPhone app Jamie Oliver’s 20-Minute Meals.

As one of the select group making up the Art Directors Club’s Young Guns 8, Ian recently gave two talks in London at the Apple Store in Regent Street, and at Ravensbourne College opposite the O2. He says speaking at events is a powerful way to network. “You never know who might attend and be impressed or inspired by what you say.”

Ian Wharton at the Apple Store Regent Street

Ian describes the Apple Store talk, titled ‘Bright Eyed and Bushy Tailed’, as a “dream come true”. In it he discussed his work and career, and gave young creatives advice on navigating the industry. He put in over 40 hours of preparation time, starting work on the talk months in advance. “Trying to keep an audience captivated for that period of time was a daunting prospect,” he says.

Ian approached the talks in a similar way to other creative projects, by constructing a story he wanted to tell. “I essentially have a discussion with myself on paper to flesh out ideas and see which bits of narrative to pursue,” he says. “The whole process is iterative and involves brutal self-editing. Over time you build a picture of the best talk to give and most relevant story to tell.”

A rapt audience at Ian's Apple Store talk

Ian admits he was nervous, but says this motivated him to ensure he did a good job. Luckily, he found his nerves subsided once each talk was under way.

If you’re giving a talk, Ian’s advice is to write yourself a brief and aim to answer it. Ask yourself, he says, who will be attending and what you want the talk to achieve – for example, whether it should inspire, educate or start a discussion. As for the actual delivery, he says: “Rehearse a lot. Speak clearly, confidently and with passion.

Projects worked on by Ian include the Jamie Oliver’s 20-Minute Meals iPhone app (top) and commercials for EA games including Battlefield 2

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