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  • Writer's pictureBeth Anne Ashley

A Change Will Do Your Demo Good

I am a creature of habit. I drove the same car for 10 years, lived in the same house for 15, and had the same job as a software presenter for 17 YEARS! When asked how I did it for so long, even my reply was consistent: “but the system is always changing.” And after countless hours of learning the latest features, I realized the rapid technology updates I once dreaded were actually what kept me going.

When my company first switched to Agile development, I was dumbfounded. New functionality from sprint releases were flung at me with lightning speed. My life became the ultimate paradox: a person so stubbornly set in her ways forced to reconfigure her craft every couple weeks. I had to get a handle on it before I was totally overwhelmed! As I pried myself free from my proverbial box, I discovered three ways to get out of my demo comfort zone:


We are inundated with ways to renovate a bathroom, a kitchen, even our own bodies.

But for me, it was time to shake the dust off my dependable routine and give my worn-out presentation a makeover. I needed demo rehab! While prepping for a trade show, I vowed to do the entire session without falling into the PowerPoint deathtrap. Dare I boldly go where few Solution Engineers had gone before?

There are numerous tools you can use to amp up your demonstration - mine happened to be Prezi. Instead of enduring tedious slides, the audience went on a visual journey of our product storyline with seamless motion and zooming effects. For added engagement, the attendees read aloud from pre-scripted cards tucked under their seats to encourage interaction.

In the end, it was a big success and armed with only Prezi, PDFs, and Product – an impactful demo was delivered sans PowerPoint.


From a young age, I was always at ease in front of an audience. Yet in recent years, I steered clear of the prestigious first row of my cardio dance class and hid in back. The very day I dared to venture forward, we turned our backs to the mirror, and I found myself in unfamiliar territory. I stumbled along on the opposite foot, completely thrown off by choreography I could do in my sleep! It dawned on me how altering your vantage point can have an extremely dramatic effect.

If you have never watched a recording of yourself delivering a presentation – it is a must! But get ready for some uncomfortable quirks! I never noticed how much I rock back and forth when I am not 100% confident until I saw it live on screen.

Switching your perspective can have a huge impact on how you deliver your message. If you haven’t considered the viewpoint of the person at the other end of the conference table, take a moment to before your next big meeting. It’s amazing what you discover when you walk in someone else’s shoes.


I attended numerous Sales Training workshops over the years. During my favorite session, the instructor used a phrase that truly stuck with me: “When you are green, you are growing. When you are ripe, you rot.” Wow. I glanced down at a lonely black banana forgotten in the fruit bowl one morning and pondered, is that me???

As a seasoned presenter, this really hit home. You think you know it all and then one day you realize your skills have gone stale. Was I still doing the same old/same old? Was it time for something new?

I had been craving a real-world leadership opportunity to spice up my boring work life. I asked my manager for a small taste of Project Management but on a scale I could handle. She eagerly put me in charge of revamping our sample database. As a result, I became responsible for holding my colleagues accountable and ensuring their tasks were performed on time. Had I just dumped a giant pile of extra work on my already overflowing plate?

As it turned out, the project was exactly what I needed. Not only did our demo materials improve, but we collaborated as a team, and the product knowledge I gained put me ahead of the curve for once! Who knew volunteering my time would be the perfect recipe for overcoming my aversion to change?


It’s natural to be apprehensive of change: fear of the unknown, uncertainty towards things we don't understand, and deviation from a dependable structure. But being too reliant on the usual thing traps us in our predictable ways and makes us mundane.

My Great Aunt had a crocheted version of this famous quote on her wall:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” -Reinhold Niebuhr

The profound truth here is that change is inevitable – so why fight it?

Stepping outside of your normal presentation agenda will bring significant improvements.

So go ahead and embrace it. A change will definitely do your demo good!


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