Five Tasty Morsels for Conducting Virtual Demonstrations

1.  Never be the “sage on the stage.” 

Always attempt to be the “guide on the side.” Unless you are a thrilling speaker or a Nobel Prize winner, or unless your audience is composed of young children, no one fully appreciates a sage. Attendees want to have some participation in the experience and some involvement in its direction. You are the presenter, though, and you are there for a reason. You were chosen because of your credibility and expertise. You have a great deal of wisdom and knowledge to share. That is not enough. A major factor in the success of your presentation will be your ability to relate to the members of your audience and get them involved in your presentation.

2.  Everyone likes a good story

Use case studies or stories to engage participants. Ask participants to share their own experiences related to the content. A good story is like the peanut butter with the pill inside—it makes everything go down more smoothly. When people are relating to you, they will be more open to the information that you present and whatever actions you suggest that they take.

3.  Use strong presentation strategies. 

Present key ideas using different types of media. These include text, graphics, animations, illustrations, diagrams, schematics, and models. Keep in mind that excessive animation can be distracting and that lengthy text is difficult to read on the screen. Use additional presentation strategies that include simulations, analogies, case studies, examples of doing it “right,” non-examples that feature what not to do, mnemonics, jokes, war stories, and testimonials. The sky is the limit, and you are restricted only by your imagination. There are many different content delivery types (lectures, interviews with subject matter experts, participant demonstrations, and so on), and you should switch between them frequently. Tell stories to support your main points, and add interesting photographs and other media. Present information in a video format when you need to conduct a live demonstration or to include a message from senior management or other company leaders. 

4.  Present familiar information from another point of view. 

If you are covering the history of England, do so from the perspective of King Arthur. Try acting out the role of the customer and presenting information from her standpoint on the efficient usage of the application you’re presenting.

5.   Focus on the delivery, not just the content.

While the content of your presentation is crucial, the way you deliver it plays a huge role in how the audience accepts your message. Here are a few important guidelines to adhere to.

● Stick to the schedule.
● Structure your presentation for maximum affect. 
● Present information in short and logical chunks.
● Maintain a casual and effective tone. 
● Keep a brisk pace. 
● Use repetition artfully.
● Gracefully handle distractions 

This is an except from “Virtual Presentations that Work”, published by McGraw-Hill Professional, and available from and other fine booksellers.