Updated: Mar 10, 2020
Your content may be fire, but if your delivery is poor your audience will tune out and won’t actually consume your message. Here are 5 steps you can take to improve your delivery when performing virtual product demos.
1. Warm the click path
What does “Warm the click path” mean? This is part of your demo prep. It means before your demo click through every screen you intend to show during the demo (including screens that you might be led to through questions asked). Ensure that the screen loads, is properly cached, and is displaying exactly what you want it to. This preparation step helps you avoid those awkward moments during a demo when you go to a screen that doesn’t load, or you’re surprised to see a report with no data.
2. Camera On!
For virtual meetings, turn your video camera on every time! With the camera on, you’re able to connect with your audience and build rapport. It also encourages your audience to turn their cameras on, which will increase their engagement significantly.
I suggest turning your camera on at the beginning of your meeting and again at the end. You can turn it off during your product demonstration to allow the audience to focus on what you’re showing and what you’re saying, rather than your face.
3. Avoid distractions from the screen.
I'm on the receiving end of a dozen or so product demos every month.
This is a screen that I see more often than I would expect…
Random browser tabs. Personal bookmarks. Dock exposed with iMessage and Slack indicators bright red. Downloaded documents bar!
If you're running a product demo you want 100% of your audience's attention on what you're showing and what you're saying.
Seasoned demoers know - if you have random browser tabs open, unrelated bookmarks, and notifications popping up - your audience's eyes will wander and they will be distracted.
A few suggestions:
Create a separate browser profile that only has tabs/bookmarks relevant to your demo
When possible, demo from a second monitor to avoid displaying your taskbar and any notifications (these days portable monitors exist that even allow you to do this on-site)
Turn off all notifications. On a Mac you can turn on “Do Not Disturb”
4. Limit clicks and mouse movement
The goal isn’t to show your audience how familiar you are with your product and how quickly you can navigate through it.
The best product demos use the least amount of clicks and mouse movement to get the message across. Excessive mouse movement and unnecessary clicks can make it hard for your audience to follow along.
I suggest practicing your click path and watching recordings of demos you’ve performed to identify where you can reduce the unnecessary clicks.
5. Bring the energy and enthusiasm
If you’re not enthusiastic about what you’re demoing how can you expect your audience to be?
You’ve probably listened to a presentation where the presenter was quiet, monotone, and lacking energy. During the presentation you probably started daydreaming, or thinking “how much longer until lunch?”, or even worse - you fell asleep.
It’s even harder to keep your audience engaged in a virtual meeting because they have so much potential for distraction right in front of them - their email, instant messages, the entire internet!
Here are a few tips to help you bring the the energy to your next demo:
Stand up if possible (with a standing desk). If you’re slouched in your chair, you’ll sound tired, like you just woke up from a nap.
Practice tonality and pace. There are apps like Orai that can help you practice.
Before your demo listen to high-energy music, caffeinate, and even do jumping jacks to get your blood flowing. Our team has a rebounder to help get the body moving pre-demo.
Try these 5 steps on your next demo. You should notice your audience is more engaged throughout the meeting and more likely to move forward with next steps.