Ensuring demo success
Anyone who has been building, supporting and/or giving demos for any length of time, is bound to run into an untenable situation where their demo isn’t working and they just don’t have the time to get things fixed. It happens to the best of us. And, It is statistically guaranteed to happen to you. Other than praying to the demo gods to withhold their vengeance, what can you do to recover your time and have a successful outcome for your demo?
Have a backup environment
Frequently, when we are doing high-stakes executive keynotes, demos to the press, etc., we will have a duplicate system running in parallel to the one the presenter is using. If anything goes wrong with the primary, we can switch to the backup presentation by pushing a button. The screen blips for a second and the presenter can keep going as if nothing happened.
Use a mocked-up click-through environment as a backup
We’ve seen some presenters switch to this mid-stream when something goes wrong. Frequently, the audience doesn’t catch that they are no longer live.
Switch to a video
It’s obviously not the best, but it is better than nothing. It definitely takes more time to pre-record the video. Additionally, you probably will not have practiced timing your narrative to the click steps, but it is certainly better than nothing. In fact, sometimes, demoing with a video is the winning approach!
Screenshots in PowerPoint
Worst case, at least make sure you have a secondary deck with the key app screens that you wanted to show. You can use this to talk to the benefits of the application you wanted to cover.
Nothing is ever as good as showing the real thing
However, if you’ve spent time building trust with your audience, you have done your research to know what they want to see, and you come prepared with a backup –then when an inevitable issue arises you will be able to salvage your time.