3 Ways to Avoid Demo Failure (Part 1/3)


You set up the meeting of the century! You are celebrated before it even takes place. Your entire team is ecstatic because this meeting reeks with potential. You’ve done a demo before, no big deal! You’ve got this. The big day comes and you arrive 10 minutes early to situate yourself and setup. And then, the unthinkable happens! Nothing is working! Over the last year, I’ve had the opportunity to provide over 250 demos to C-level executives, IT Managers and Executive Directors. Based on that experience, here are 3 tips on how to avoid demo failure before the presentation even begins:

  1. Make sure you’ve got it ALL ~ Do you have everything? Beyond your laptop and projector, do you have every plug, an extension, a wifi hub? I know some of this seems rudimentary and simplistic in thought but how many people reading this have left wifi up to the location of the presentation?

Imagine this; you arrive and shake hands with your key individual. You ask if they have wifi access. “Hang on”, your prospect says, “I’ll call Judy, she has the wifi code”! It takes 3 tries to finally reach her. You get the code, you likely make an error when typing it in. You’re frustrated, you appear frustrated and this is not getting off to the start you pictured in your head on your way in. Now… Imagine that you pull out your own wifi hub (already setup with all of your technology), turn it on and GO!

Which option sounds best? I’ll go with the latter. Having your prospects seek out extension cords, wifi codes, additional plugins makes for a poor first impression. It’s your presentation. You have the floor. It’s up to you!

  1. Confirm your appointment and the location ~ As I stated above, I’ve done my fair share of online and face to face demos. For our online demos, we use “GoToMeeting”, which requires the other individual to login on their end and join your meeting. For convenience, I always send a reminder email the day before to the following day’s attendees with a reiteration of the meeting date and time, our meeting code, the conference line number and anything else that might be pertinent. It’s usually too late to cancel the appointment (if they forgot) and very convenient if they remembered. The following day, they simply look at the email (received less than 24 hours ago) and click on the link.

For ‘in person’ demos, I always confirm the day prior (if in town) and a few days before if out of town. Confirm the location, ask about parking and if you’re expected to show up at reception at Unit 301, Tower 2, get there early to ensure you know exactly where you need to be!

  1. Dress to impress ~ This is a tough one for me! I’m no ‘fashionista’ but regardless, I know that how I look will matter. There’s the simple rules; make sure your hair is groomed and that your clothing is ‘pet hair’ free! I look on Pinterest to seek out looks that I feel might work for me. This doesn’t need to cost a fortune. What I have in my closet can usually be repurposed a dozen different ways. My key rule: ensure that whatever you wear, you’re comfortable. Tugging at your clothes, pulling up your tights, ripping off your shoes mid meeting, none of these are allowed. If you’re walking uphill or taking flights of stairs, carry a pair of pumps in your briefcase and make a quick switch from your flats as you’re about to enter the front door. In other words; be the best professional looking you that you can be!

Pretty simple right? Pack everything, send out a reminder and dress up! Come back next week when I divvy out 3 tips on how to avoid presentation failure during your demo.


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