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Four Steps To Giving A Successful Demo

So you’ve been working hard on your project for the last 3, 6 or 10 weeks/months and it’s time to show it to the customers. Great news! You’ve reached an important milestone. Feeling a little terrified? You have good reason to. Demonstrating your work – be it an enhancement to an existing system or an […]

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February 26, 2013

So you’ve been working hard on your project for the last 3, 6 or 10 weeks/months and it’s time to show it to the customers. Great news! You’ve reached an important milestone.

Feeling a little terrified? You have good reason to. Demonstrating your work – be it an enhancement to an existing system or an entirely new product – can be a make-it-or-break-it moment for an IT project.

How can you set yourself up to conduct a successful demo?

Here is our list of steps to go through:

First, Know Your Audience

Who are you demonstrating the product to? Is it stakeholders? Potential advocates? The product owner? End customers?

Understand whom you are showcasing to and what their needs are. For example, if it’s your first time meeting the Board of Directors, take some time to do background research and connect the client’s business goals to your product. Be sure to highlight the specific aspects of the project that apply to that specific group. If you have presented to this team before, you can anticipate the level of participation and questions you might get. Never presented to this group before? Find out who has and ask them what to expect.

Second, Know Your Product

What is the really cool feature you think will make the biggest impact for this group? Show that.

Did they ask for something specific? Absolutely show that.

When Excella designed a new intranet for a federal government agency, the CIO asked for search results to include phone numbers. It’s a small use case, but it was important to him. Our developer created a flexible search that could easily include that feature. In our demo, we highlighted this small but applicable feature. He was greatly impressed at our flexibility and attention to detail. We’d won him over and his endorsement helped a great deal as we rolled out the rest of the project.

Third, Know Your Environment (including what technology you will be using!)

Will it be a few people in a small room? Will it be a large group in an auditorium? Is it the Board of Directors at a scheduled meeting? Cater to their environment. Be more formal than the audience. If it’s suits, show up in your best suit. If it’s a jeans-and-t-shirt crowd, wear nice jeans with a collared shirt.

Know what equipment you’ll have available and determine what you will use and what you will bring. Make sure it all works.

Do you have a screen or projector? Do you have a computer? Do you have an internet connection? Do you have a podium and/or microphone? Schedule a test run (or several) in the same space before your demo and always have the phone number of the tech assistant on hand the day of the meeting.

Finally, Present Well

There are a lot of tips to consider, but here are a few key ones to start with:

Did I leave anything off? What’s your experience demonstrating new products?

Category: Tech Tips

Tags: Business Analysis

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