How to Demo

  1. say what you’re gonna do, then do it, then say what you see
  2. don’t multitask: either speak or act
  3. take your hands off the keyboard when answering a question
  4. don’t assume the user can see the cursor
  5. make eye contact
  6. practice!

Say what you see

"A picture is worth a thousand words..."

... but it's a different thousand words for each viewer!

So try to be clear about describing what you see.

Good: "So after I click the submit button, you'll see a spinny animation for a second... <click> There it is! <click> ... and now the next page is loaded."

Bad: "<click> Did you see that spinny?"

Macro to Micro

  • Start with a high-level description
  • What is the goal? What is the problem? Why do we care?
  • Recall the user story:
    • "As a ___, I want to ___, so that ___."
  • Then dive in to how to accomplish the goal

Silence is Golden

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt."

  • Sometimes people don't really start listening until there is silence.
  • Let your point sink in. Silently count to three (while making eye contact) before moving on.
  • When asking the audience a question, silently count to five before answering it yourself.

Awkward silences are great for eliciting feedback and gathering information. The audience members will feel awkward too, and will want to fill the void.

It's not a party until something gets broken

...and it's not a demo unless something goes wrong

Relax. Make a self-deprecating joke. Take a deep breath. Remember that the audience is on your side.

Answering Questions

  • Let the questioner finish
    • Don't cut them off! Keep nodding and let them finish their thought.
  • Repeat the question
    • or at least acknowledge its claims
  • Thank the questioner
  • Don't be defensive!

Team Demos

  • Only one person speaks at a time
  • Clear handoff from one speaker to the next
  • One person speaks; another drives
  • Don't let one team member hog all the speech time or answer all the questions

Some Good Demos

iPhone Launch by Steve Jobs: