How to demonstrate your software product.

How to demonstrate your software product.

If you are looking to close an order, collect end-user feedback, present the progress of your product to customers or simply explain the way your product functions, at some point or another, you’ll have to demonstrate your software product.

Through my career I’ve had the chance to give hundreds of demonstrations for audiences of all sizes. I’ve also had the opportunity to be a part of demos held by other people. These are my top five tips I’ve learned in the past decade about demos.

Manage Your Audience’s Expectations

Have you been to see a film that everyone was talking about, only to leave completely disappointed? Most of the time, people who go to the movies are disappointed not because the film was bad however, it’s because it was more disappointing than they expected. The movie didn’t live up to their expectations.

Similar to when people show at a demonstration believing they’re going to see an actual product, they’re expecting that it will be completely free of defects, visually pleasing and easy to use. They won’t be impressed, by a web-based application that has typos or JavaScript mistakes when they’re under the impression that it’s due to go live within the next week. If they are aware beforehand that you’re only presenting a flimsy prototype, the same audience will be more accommodating. They will also be willing to provide valuable feedback that will help to improve your work.

The ability to manage expectations of your audience is crucial to an effective demo. If you want your audience to leave your presentation satisfied ensure that you have set the appropriate expectations prior to your presentation. Be truthful with them. Don’t oversell your demonstration. Simply sell it and don’t attempt to exceed expectations.

One Bad Apple Spoils The Whole Bunch

The only thing needed to mess the demo is one person. If someone begins to criticize negatively every widget within your program or continuously interrupts your presentation simply because they like to hear the sound of their own voice, your presentation will turn into an absolute disaster. It’s your responsibility to make sure that the undesirable individuals don’t make it in your demo.

If you’re hosting a private demonstration, it’s difficult to determine who’s going to attend the event. By removing someone from your invite list doesn’t mean they will not learn about your event via the media or simply attend.

Here are some methods to entice people who aren’t good at attending your demonstration:

Set up a time-slot conflict to avoid those who are a problem. Be sure that they are not busy or, better yet, away from the office during the time the demo is scheduled to take place.

Book two separate demos. Invite those whose opinions you value to the first demo , and the naysayers to the apple to the other. Most of the time the two groups will show at the demo they’re invited to. If it’s time to go to the second demonstration take the opportunity to give it your best effort, or, if you’re not able to make the time, just cancel the event.

I’m aware that these two suggestions seem like an excerpt of Scott Adams’s Dilbert And The Way Of The Weasel However, unless you’re comfortable telling your superiors, peers or clients not to attend your demonstration These two suggestions are all you have.

Do A Practice Run

I was able to attend a demonstration this week, which was hosted by the CEO of an established local startup. After a meeting at a trade fair, I was convinced that his company had created an innovative technology that could meet one of my clients’ needs. I agreed to grant 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 decide that I didn’t want to deal with him. It only took a few seconds.

The guy was unable to log into his own web-based application! He was for in the beginning of his demonstration searching for an account password.

Always run a test on the system you’ll be using during the actual demonstration. You may know the program as if it were the palm of your hands, however if somebody has access to your demo system, you don’t know what condition it’s in. They could have removed services, changed components or like the CEO in the case of this CEO, altered the user’s credentials without notifying you.

If you don’t mind appearing like a fool, you should perform a test run on your demonstration system prior to giving your presentation to the audience.

Pay Attention To Details

The hundreds of demonstrations I’ve conducted throughout my career I’ve learned that users pay greater focus on how an software appears than to the actual functionality. Your software could provide a solution to the world’s hunger but if someone in your audience spots a mistake in your GUI and points it out, they will be sure to point it out!

People are particularly distracted by text that is easy to read – and it’s true. Take care when looking over the text on your website and within your graphic designs. In the event that you do not have the time to go through and edit the text, you can use Lorem Ipsum.

Lorem Ipsum is a more or less regular distribution of letters, which makes it appear like an easy to read English but not distracting your viewers. I am currently developing new prototypes using Lorem Ipsum, and then add real text only whenever I am able to create content that I am sure will not be the subject of discussion during my next demonstration. I highly recommend you follow the same procedure.

Point Out The (Obvious) Bugs

Software is not without bugs. It’s as simple as that. Anyone who isn’t in agreement with this statement hasn’t been in the software industry for a long time. While we often strive to create defects-free products, the reality is that complex systems will always have imperfections, even when they’re widely accessible.

Conducting a test run prior to your presentation will help you to pinpoint and eliminate issues that cause the most trouble, and using Lorem Ipsum, you can deal with the small details that could otherwise cause confusion for your audience. What about the other flaws that are attributed to Murphy’s Law?

If an obvious flaw does manifest its self during your demonstration Make sure you be sure to point it out!

Most likely, your readers will have observed the issue. Any attempt to cover it up could give the impression that you’re not honest. In turn, they’ll begin to think about what else you’re trying to hide.

Find the issue and explain how you have a solution be confident your commitment to have the solution in place within a certain timeframe, and then move forward. Sincere behavior will assure your customers they know that (a) that you aren’t trying to sweep a problem under the carpet and (b) the issue will be fixed when they implement your system.

I’m not suggesting that you search for bugs in your demo. If you are able to circumvent them in any way you can, do it. If a flaw occurs in your presentation, don’t make it appear as if that it’s not there. The only person you’re fooling is yourself.


Here’s the deal. Five suggestions for a successful demo of software.

Be aware of the expectations of your audience.

Make sure that bad apples don’t end up ruining the whole bunch

Practice a run

Pay attention to the details and make use of Lorem Ipsum

Find the obvious bugs.

Do these five tips reflect everything I’ve learned from the hundreds of demonstrations I’ve held? Absolutely not! The most difficult part of writing this article was the fact that I had to limit it to five tips. It would have been easy to throw five more suggestions like (a) manage the circumstances, as well as (b) always have a backup plan. However, the aim was not to provide all the tricks to help you. The top five tips are the only ones that matter!

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