When you have to make the sale, collect user feedback, present the progress you have made to your client or simply demonstrate how your product works eventually or not, you’ll be required to demonstrate your software.

Through the years I’ve had the pleasure to give hundreds of demonstrations to audiences of various sizes. I’ve also had the opportunity to attend demos hosted by other individuals. The following are the top 5 tips I’ve picked up over the last decade with regard to demos.

Manage Your Audience’s Expectations

Have you been to see a movie everyone was talking about, only to leave totally disappointed? More often than not, moviegoers aren’t disappointed due to the fact that the movie was not good instead, it’s because the movie was worse than they anticipated. It did not meet their expectations.

Similarly, if people show up to a demo  scan to pay sign thinking they’re going to see the finished product, they’ll expect that it will be completely free of defects, visually pleasing and easy to use. They wouldn’t be impressed for instance, if a Web-based application that contains typos or JavaScript errors If they believe the application will be live in just a week. If they are aware beforehand that you’re presenting a scrappy prototype, that same public will be more accommodating. They’ll be more than happy to give the needed feedback to assist you with your work in progress.

Controlling your audience’s expectations is critical to the success of your presentation. If you want your audience to walk away from your presentation feeling satisfied ensure that you have set expectations for them prior to the presentation. Be truthful with them. Don’t try to oversell your demo. Make it easy to sell it, and never strive to deliver it to the max.

One Bad Apple Spoils The Whole Bunch

The most you need to do to screw the demo is one person. If someone starts snarkily critiquing every single feature of your program or continuously interrupts your presentation simply because they like to hear the sound of his/her own voice, your demo will be a disaster. It is your job to ensure that these people don’t come in your demo.

If you’re not hosting a closed-door demonstration, it’s a challenge to control who will attend the event. If you don’t include someone on your invite list isn’t a guarantee that they won’t hear about your demo through the media or simply attend.

Here are two methods to entice people who aren’t good at attending your presentation:

Create a scheduling conflict for those who have a bad attitude. Make sure they’re not working or not in the office when your demonstration takes place.

Book two separate demos. Invite the people whose comments you truly value to your first demo , and the naysayers to the apples to the second. Most of the time all of them will show up to the demo they’ve been invited to. If it’s time to go to the second demonstration, go ahead and give it your best shot or if there’s no time, just cancel it.

I’m fully aware that these two tips are reminiscent of an extract in Scott Adams’s Dilbert And The Way Of The Weasel But unless you’re comfortable confiding in your bosses, colleagues or clients to not show up to your demo the two choices are basically all you have.

Do A Practice Run

I attended a presentation this week, which was hosted by the CEO of an established local startup. After meeting him at a trade fair, he managed to convince me that his company had developed the technology to meet one of my clients’ needs. I therefore offered him 30 minutes of my time so that the product could be demonstrated to me. capabilities.

I didn’t have to wait for 30 minutes to realize I didn’t want to deal with him. It only took 30 seconds.

The guy was unable to log on to his own application that runs on the Web! He was for most of the demonstration looking for the password.

Always test a run on the machine you’re going to use during the actual demonstration. It’s possible that you know the software as if it were you hand. But in the event that someone else has access to the demo system, who knows what shape it’s in. They might have removed features, updated components, or like the CEO with this CEO the user’s login credentials without telling you.

If you’re not afraid of looking like a fool, conduct a practice session on your demonstration system prior to presenting to your audience.

Pay Attention To Details

The hundreds of demonstrations I’ve conducted throughout my career I’ve learned that users pay greater at how an application looks than what it can do. Your software could provide the answer to hunger but if a member of your audience notices a typo in your GUI or interface, they’ll make sure that you know!

The attention span of readers is heightened by text that is easy to read – and that’s a fact. Deal with it by carefully looking over the text on your web interface as well as within your graphics. If you don’t have time to go through and edit the text, use Lorem Ipsum.

Lorem Ipsum displays a normal distribution of letters, which makes it appear like readable English and not causing distraction to your viewers. I’m currently creating new designs using Lorem Ipsum, and then add real text when and only whenever I am able to write content that I know won’t become a subject of discussion during my next demonstration. I strongly suggest that you take the same approach.

Point Out The (Obvious) Bugs

Software contains bugs. It’s that simple. Anyone who doesn’t agree to that assertion clearly hasn’t worked in the software industry for a long time. Although we’ll often try to make flawless products, the truth is that all complex systems have defects – even when they’re generally available.

A practice run prior to the presentation will enable you to pinpoint and eliminate issues that cause the most trouble, and using Lorem Ipsum can take care of those small-scale details that could otherwise distract your audience. But what are the other issues that can be attributed to Murphy’s Law?

If you discover an obvious flaw does manifest itself in your demo Please highlight it!

The majority of your readers will have observed the issue. Any attempt to conceal it can give the impression that you’re not truthful. As a result, they’ll be curious about the other things you’re trying to hide.

Point out the bug and explain how you have a solution be confident your commitment to have the solution implemented at a specified time, and then move forward. This sincere behavior will reassure your clients they know that (a) that you aren’t trying to sweep it under the carpet and (b) the issue will be fixed by the time they deploy your system.

I’m not suggesting that you go hunting for bugs during your demonstration. If you’re able to avoid the issue that you are able to, please do so. If there is a problem that does show up during your presentation, do not pretend it doesn’t exist. The only person you’ll be in the wrong is you.


You’ve got it. Five ways to create a memorable demo of software.

Manage your audience’s expectations

Ensure that bad apples don’t make a mess of the crop

Do a practice run

Pay attention to specifics and make use of LoremIpsum

Note the obvious bugs

Do these five tips reflect everything I’ve learned from the hundreds of demos that I’ve given? Absolutely not! The hardest part about writing this piece was condensing it to just 5 points. It is possible to add additional tips for example: (a) be in control of the circumstance, in addition to (b) always have a plan B. However, my goal was to not point out all the tips to aid you. The top five tips are the only ones that matter!

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