In continuation of our Demo Wizards series, one of our very own Demo Wizards, Martin Booth, is going to look at some of the common ways a demo can fail and how these failures can be avoided.
We’ve established that there are 3 main goals for a technical demo: winning an opportunity, education, and proving a concept. In the previous weeks we have explored winning an opportunity and education, and you can check both of these out in more detail here.
Today, we are exploring the third goal and final portion of this trilogy, Proving a Concept.
Proving a concept – “Did you see that demo crash and burn…”
Don’t let minor, or even major hiccups, deter you from your message.
I’m sure you’ve seen the video of Windows 98 giving the Blue Screen of Death in a Bill Gates demo:
This is probably the most famous example of a demo failing spectacularly. The expected outcome of these kinds of failures are that you either fail to prove the concept you’re intending (such as how easily and reliable plug and play in Windows 98 is) or you erode trust built between you and your audience, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
Check out our Demo Wizards Series and our blog post, Top 5 Tips for a GREAT Live Demo Presentation, for tips on how to guard against these kinds of failures.
Beyond preparing well, the important thing to remember when giving a demo is to maintain trust and professionalism. It can be awkward for the audience to see a presenter stumbling over a demo failure. Keep calm and carry on! If you can explain why the demo failed, do so, but do not waste valuable time trying to solve the problem live. Anything other than the most simple of fixes will take too much time and will mean the audience’s memories will be about the failure and not your message. In my experience, audiences are forgiving if a demo doesn’t quite work out according to plan, so go with the flow and move on.
The demo failures that people remember the most tend to be those big technical slip-ups, but the failure that really impacts a business is not conveying your target message. Glitches and bugs can hinder a demo, but even with the odd hiccup you can still leave your audience feeling their time was well invested in watching your demo by staying on script and making sure you land your talking points.
At 3Sharp, we have plenty of experience building demos to be as bulletproof and failure resistant as we possibly can. One of 3Sharp’s key objective is to ensure our demos are meeting the needs of our customer’s audience, whether it is equipping technical sales people with demo tools, providing conference keynote demo support, or simply telling a better technical product story that informs, excites, and wins deals.
Our demo wizards have seen it all. Stay tuned for more in this series!
Want to learn more? Check out our other blogs from the Demo Wizard series: