Do Your Demo Right

Few months back I joined WS02 as a Software Engineer and was assigned to the Identity and Access Management (IAM) team. There I was assigned with a task to develop a demo app that demonstrate WSO2 Identity Server’s Single Sign On (SSO) and Single LogOut (SLO) capabilities. After finishing the implementation I had to demonstrate it to set of people, including the leads and other interested parties.

It doesn’t matter how well we have developed our application, we need to present it in an effective way such that the audience buys whatever we are presenting to them. It is very true that presenter’s verbal communication capabilities, and presentation style matters a lot. Equally some of the small things also matters a lot. If we ignore these subtle things, at the end of the day that can adversely effect the whole demo or presentation, drawing a drastically bad impression on the product that we have presented.

I have listed few of the guidelines that we should put our attention into when doing a demo or presentation. Please feel free to enrich this post with any other suggestions in the comment section.

1. In demos first show the problem then Give the solution.

One of the best approaches in starting a presentation or a demo is by introducing the problem or whatever the concern that we are going to address first. It is a bad practice to assume that audience know the problem because there can be at least one person who does not know anything, and we can’t neglect that very person. Who knows? that particular person could be the very person who is going to invest on our product.

there can be at least one person who does not know anything, and we can’t neglect that very person.

2. Use Desktop Clone Mode in demonstrations. Use presentation mode only if notes and timing is used.

It is bad practice to look into the projector screen while doing the demo. It would be distracting for you and for the audience as well. Thus using desktop clone mode is the best approach. Additionally it would give the audience an impression that, you are high in confidence with what you are doing. Furthermore it would ensure the audience that there is nothing mystical going on the other screen. 😃

It is bad practice to look into the projector screen while doing the demo

If notes and timing is used, then obviously can’t go with the desktop clone mode, have to go with the presentation mode. Anyhow it is a trade off. We must decide on which mode to use prior to the presentation and should get ready according to that.

it is a trade off, choosing between clone mode and presentation mode.

3. Close unnecessary apps and browser tabs. Keep Only the required apps and browser tabs open.

Although it may seem like very obvious most people forget to do that. Then on the demonstration they distract both audience and themselves while mingling with these apps and browser tabs.

don’t distract both audience and themselves while mingling with these apps and browser tabs.

Once you start either a presentation or a demo, you should keep the audience till the very end, without distracting them by any other means.

4. Don’t forget to clean up your OS’s recent history, Web-Browser history if not important.

better not reveal personal things on a large screen. 😃

Having a cleaned-up laptop prior to the presentation is important because in case we need to search something, our recent history will pop up as we type on the search bar, revealing our personal things on a large screen. That could sometimes be highly embarrassing. 😃

5. Keep urls , keywords, and etc. on a text-note that you need to copy paste during the demo.

This may seem like a lame guideline, but believe me this is really effective . Once you have all the required urls, keywords, and etc. that we need to use during the demonstration we just simply can copy paste it and do our demonstration. Furthermore if we want to engage our audience in the demo, we can just distribute that text note and ask them to follow the steps with us easily. There will be no chance that we forget something and we have to go check for it because we have everything we want to do the demo in a text note.

we have everything we want to do the demo in a text note.

If the demo is related to going to a web-page and then doing some work there, then the proper practice is to open a new browser or tab, copy paste the url from your text note, go to the site, then do the work. Though it seems not that important, it gives a clear end to end picture to the audience on what you are doing.

All in all it is all about preparation, from developing the product you want to sell or the topic on which you want to do the presentation to these small things because every little thing plays a significant role in an excellent presentation.

Every little thing plays a significant role in an excellent presentation.