Last night I attended the first “Demo Night” sponsored by Silicon Halton and HalTech, and hosted by Teatro Conference and Event Centre in Milton, Ontario.
The idea was for local Halton companies to demonstrate their products or technology projects to the general public, Silicon Halton and HalTech members, angel investors, government officials and the media.
Silicon Halton is a grassroots high-tech community of people who “make a living, make meaning, and make things happen in technology in Halton Region.” HalTech is the Regional Innovation Centre for Halton, delivering “services and programs to help Halton-based tech entrepreneurs and SME companies grow and thrive.”
Kudos to the presenters who fearlessly stood in front of the crowd to show off their babies:
For me, the networking at Demo Night was great: I caught up with folks from the local high-tech sector and got acquainted with new people, including someone from the Federal Economic Development Agency who’s doing interesting work.
As I watched the presenters, the communicator and marketer in me began to take notes on what worked and what didn’t. During my career I’ve planned, scripted and delivered many a demo and presentation. Perhaps I can share some of the things I’ve learned – sometimes painfully!
Share a story
People don’t go to a demo to read bullet points. They want to learn something, to be surprised, and to discover products, services and potential opportunities. And they may just decide to invest in you and your business.
If you’re part of the story of the product, be sure to share your experience with us. If you developed a reading game for kids because you’re dyslexic, tell us. Such information breathes life into your story. Even if you just joined the company as a salesperson, convey your passion!
Show, don’t tell
When you can, show us how the product works, don’t tell us. Failing that, explain the problem that the product solves, in human terms. Perhaps you can paint a “before” and “after” picture.
Light blue type on a blue slide? Can’t read it. If you’re using slides (and you don’t have to use slides), be sure they make sense and are legible.
More data is not better
Rattling off figures doesn’t dazzle the audience; instead, it might induce a headache. Sure, have all the numbers at your fingertips so you can answer questions, but don’t attempt to cram every bit of data possible into your demo. Stick to high-level benefits. Overall, you want to show us how your product or service solves a problem in the marketplace in a way that no one else can.
Do not stand there and read your slides
I can’t emphasize this enough: If you want us to read your slides, just email them to us. You are there to share the story, not to read to us.
Emphasize features over benefits
Geeks love features, but business people prefer to focus on benefits. What makes your product special? Why should anyone care?
Most of us, including me (all too often), talk too fast. Please take your time. Breathe. Allow us the space to digest what you’re saying.
What tips would you add?
Visit the Trafalgar
Communications website for information about how we can help you share your story.