#4 – Make the demo meaningful to the client
#5 – Hide your dock/taskbar and turn off notifications
#10 – Know your content but also know how to deviate from your flow
As part of my 9-5 job, I share my screen to give product demonstrations. Typically, there are three scenarios when presenting/sharing my screen that I run into:
- I’m 100% remote. This means I’m in my home office, truck, or somewhere besides the client’s physical location.
- I’m physically in the room with the client and my laptop is hooked up to a projector.
- I’m physically in the room with the client and my laptop is hooked up to a projector AND I’m also running a WebEx or GoToMeeting or something like this to share my screen with folks not in the room.
Each of these scenarios have similar requirements in order for it to run smoothly. Below are some pointers that might help you for your next demo. However, there’s one thing that I can’t help you with and that’s how well you know your material. You’re on your own for that!
- Access to power (not leadership or the C-Suite)
Always have a power cord plugged in or nearby for your computer and phone. Nothing is more embarrassing than having to cut a demo short because your laptop or phone died while giving your demo.
- Connecting to the internet
If you’re at a client site, connect to guest wifi if it’s available. Before trusting the speed of the guest wifi, you may also want to run a speedtest (www.speedtest.net) to ensure it will suffice. If you have a mobile hotspot or cellphone that can act as a hotspot, have it on standby. You never know when your own internet or the guest connection will slow or go down.
- Dialing into the meeting (cell phone or landline)
It’s always tempting to use the VOIP functionality of the screen sharing application but the internet quality could go down and when that happens, your voice quality goes down. Additionally, if you use an actual phone, it’s much easier to use mute, and you’re not constantly changing the volume on your computer (displaying the volume change mind you). As an added bonus, you can get up and walk around without being tied to your computer. In my case, I can refill my coffee during the demo.
- Make the demo meaningful to the client
Before the demo, ask to have a prep call. This is your opportunity to ask for real-life scenarios or use cases that you can use in your demo. The more you relate, the more attention and retention from the client.
- Hide your dock/taskbar and turn off notifications
You know this is distracting when you have clients ask you about the applications you have installed. Your clients don’t need to see all of those annoying meeting reminders, incoming emails, text messages, etc. Better yet, exit out of some of these applications. If you’re not using them then they don’t need to be running in the background. This could also help save your battery life.
- Don’t use an external mouse and keyboard
Ok, this one might be a little different for folks… First of all, you’re not going to have the incessant clicking noises. Also, I’ve noticed when the person giving the demo is using an external mouse, they tend to move and shake the mouse all over the place. Not only does this confuse the person watching the demo but they could get nauseous too… When you use the trackpad, you need to be a bit more methodical on where you’re moving the mouse. Lastly, most laptops support the touch to click capability. Instead of physically clicking the mouse, you just tap the touchpad.
- Maximize your screen real estate
Try to only show one screen at a time and in maximized mode or in fullscreen. This helps focus your client’s attention. Now, I personally have an issue with fullscreen mode. I can’t see when pages are loading or if they’re hung up. Thus, I opt to have my screen maximized but hide things like bookmarks, etc.
- Have a bag of tricks, literally
I carry a shower kit from REI (That’s what REI calls in anyways. It’s durable, has compartments, and holds all my stuff). Some of the common items in my bag are: display adapters, HDMI cable, various USB cables, power adapter, etc. Side note: You can see everything that I carry with me and product details in my recent What’s in your bag? – Shea Laughlin (2015/10/12) blog post.
- Don’t be afraid to ask if you’re on the right track
It’s better to course correct your demo early on vs. waiting until the end to find out that everything you went over was not of interest or applicable.
- Know your content but also know how to deviate from your flow
It’s rather annoying watching someone present that’s clicking all over the place and switching screens while looking for something. If you’re frantically moving all over the place, it might be the time to revisit your content and restructure it.
Bonus Round! – Here are some additional items that might be helpful.
- Offer to record the demo so your clients can watch it again later
This will also give you another opportunity to email them after the demo.
- If you’re remote and have a peer or coworker in the room, use them
When I do a remote demo, I often utilize my coworkers in the room. They can send me a text or email with what’s going on in the room in real time. Just remember, turn off those notifications first!
- Use a headset
Please, do not use speakerphone! If you use the built in microphone and speakers on your computer, you’re just creating more background noise for others and the potential of having that annoying shrieking echo – you know what I’m talking about!
- If you are at home, make sure it’s quiet
Lock yourself in a room, cut the doorbell wires, and make sure your pets aren’t around. We’ve all been on a call where a dog won’t stop barking…
- Tell stories and have transitions
Be relevant and personable. If you need to transition from one topic to another, tell a customer story. If you’re showing something that is rather dry, try using a funny scenario to make it interesting.
What are some of your tips and tricks? Leave them in the comments below.