Nathan Gold

Presentation Coach, Trainer, and Speaker

Helpful hint to preparing for a timed demo

Over 50 companies are preparing for their demo at DEMO Europe 2013 right now from 12 different countries. After finishing a coaching session this morning, I thought it would be helpful to share one of my tips for learning your script. In most demos at DEMO, one person does the talking and another runs the demo. There are many variations on this theme, but most will have 2 people or more on stage. It's a bit easier for the speaker to continue if something goes wrong rather than trying to recover AND talk at the same time.

While practicing and rehearsing, it's not always convenient to have everyone around or connected. So, one trick I use to help is to record the audio of the demo separately from the screens you plan to show. You can easily use your smartphone to record the audio of the script while someone records the screens (using Camtasia or Screenflow or Quicktime). Be sure and record the audio in the voice you plan to use on stage.

Then, you can have the audio stream and the visuals (in a movie) to rehearse with anytime you want. If you are the speaker, you can run the movie while rehearsing so you can ensure the timing is right. If it's wrong, rerecord the visuals as it is very easy to do and edit. If you are running the demo, you can listen to the audio stream while practicing your part.

Two things will happen when you take this advice. One, you will have a much better idea of the timing of everything you are trying to say and show. And two, you will hear what you sound like. If you aren't smiling when you hear yourself, rerecord it so you like what you sound like. Hearing yourself is one of the most important experiences you can have because if you cannot smile at yourself, you need more enthusiasm and energy to come through.

To me, enthusiasm for your product or service is the most important thing you can think about when talking in front of a crowd like at DEMO. If you don't show the live audience (and video audience) your enthusiasm and passion for what you are doing, they will not get it by themselves. It's your responsibility to make sure you transfer your enthusiasm to the audience. And, you do this mostly by using your voice in a way that people can hear your enthusiasm.

This is usually a one time live performance. Give it all you have and don't hold back. Allow yourself to have fun on stage and enjoy the experience. It will be stressful and cause your nerves to wake up big time. Make sure you are prepared and rehearsed and everything else will fall into place.