A book named Great Demo!: How to create and execute stunning software Demonstration is an excellent book for gaining knowledge about Demoing. The author believes, and we second it, that you have about one minute to captivate your audience, so don’t try building to a crescendo. Start with “shock and awe”—the absolute coolest stuff that your product can do. The goal is to blow people’s minds right upfront.
Cut the Jokes
If you’re wondering if your jokes are funny, they aren’t. Few people are funny enough to pull off tricks in a demo. The downside of a failed joke—a loss of confidence and momentum—is much more significant than the upside of a successful one.
Do it alone
A Demo man works alone. You may think it’s powerful if the two co-founders do the demo together, and you may think it will show the world how they’re getting along so well. But it’s hard enough for one person to do a demo. Trying to get two people to do an interactive demo is four times harder. If you want a duet, go to a karaoke bar.
Cut the Jargon
The ability to speak and succinctly is the best way to go. You may have the world’s most incredible enterprise software product, but the consumer-device partner of your dream venture capital firm is in the audience. If she can’t understand your demo, she will not tell her counterparts about it back in the office. What the audience sees, not hears, should do the impressing.
Don’t Take Any Questions Until The End
At DEMO, there’s no time for questions—thankfully. But in all cases, you should always take items at the end because you never know what people will ask you—their problems could take you down a rat hole so deep that you’ll never come back up.
End with an Exclamation Point
Start on a high. Once you’ve blown their minds, then you work backward and show them the how. The what fantastic, but the how then makes it possible for mere mortals to understand that they can do it too. Then end on a high. This was part of Steve Jobs’s keynote magic; he always had “one more thing” in his bag of tricks.
Hundreds and thousands of people have read it online, but most demos still suck. This is because people think this advice applies to the great unwashed masses who don’t have a curve-jumping, paradigm-shifting, patent-pending product like they do and are not gifted presenters. You may believe you’re one of them. You’re mistaken. You are the intended audience, and you’re going to learn the hard way.
Eliminate the factors you can’t control
Should you assume that you’ll have Internet access during your demo? Yes, but have backup anyways. Sure, the hotel has Internet access, but what happens when hundreds of people use it at once? Better to simulate Internet access to your server by using a local server. You don’t have to show the entire system.
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