Demo Lessons from Toddlers. Yes, Toddlers

Design your demos and presentations for toddlers – they’re a lot more like adults than you think

Demo Lessons from Toddlers? But why? When you design a demo around the principles for getting children to understand something, you multiply adult comprehension. Children need to be shown benefits, just as your audience needs to be shown benefits. Children need distractions minimized, and so does your audience. Below are some early childhood education tips applied to your demos, to minimize distraction and increase comprehension, to get your product  features understood and your deal closed.  

If you narrate your demo, your audience won’t pay attention 

First, what is narrating your demo? It is part of our Deadly Demo Phrases and it exists as a cornerstone of what not to do in our Demo Rules. Narrating a demo is when you basically talk to your audience as you are showing a feature of your product. Ever catch yourself or someone you love talking to themselves? Embarrassing right? Yeah, in demos it is embarrassing for the same reasons, but so many people do it. 

Don’t talk about it, do it. If you are talking and doing at the same time, a toddler would pay attention to either your words or your actions. It is the same with your demo audience. Choose an action or words in portions of your demo, then deliver. 

If there is something shiny on the screen, your audience will ignore you

Toddlers can focus on one thing at a time. If you have an image on a slide or are showing a benefit that is important do not talk over it. Also important not to make an awkward pause for emphasis of the visual. Tell the importance and join your audience in observing it. Lead your audience. Maintain your attention where your demo is and keep your attention where you want your audience attention to be. Here is a great time to reiterate how important it is to practice demoing before delivering live. Keeping the pace of the demo with an audience takes practice. 

They want what you are focused on 

Toddlers and babies want phones because we focus on phones. It is not that they know what the phone does, it is the importance we are placing on the phone. More importantly, it is what is distracting us from THEM. Your audience deserves your full attention. This does not mean staring at them uncomfortably, this speaks more to being engaged and in the act of sharing your product features and talking with them/showing them how your features are benefits to them. 

When in doubt, ask why. Then repeat yourself. 

Ask so many questions. This is particularly important when you are teaching a child something new. You ask why or how did you do that, so you can correct a behavior or explain how to adjust a behavior. Similarly, if you are showing a benefit and going through the steps to use a new software, asking questions of how a user would access something or why they would need a feature would secure the benefit in their head. Then ask for an example for the group or audience to practice what they just learned and perform the benefit as a group. You include the audience and reinforce the teaching. Teaching while doing and asking questions is the best thing you can do for engagement, and for closing. 

Whether you are teaching toddlers or you are demoing, you need to maintain the focus of your audience, reinforce the lessons or benefits of your product, and be the leader of your demo, actively engaged in solving their problems. Looking for more demo tips? Explore our tools section

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