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2 min read

How To Work The Room In Your Next Software Web Demo

How To Work The Room In Your Next Software Web Demo


How do you untether in a web presentation or demonstration?  Hum?  A little trickier.  In fact, tricky enough that we’re going to break our discussion into a couple of parts, with part 1 being foundational in nature. 

Let’s back up.  What are we really doing when we un-tether from your laptop.  We’re working the room, right?  Here’s the question…how do you “work the room” in a web presentation?  Now, don’t read any further.  Pause for a few seconds and consider your answer.

OK, I’m going to venture a guess that your answer was “using people’s names.”  Well, you’d be right!  Because you can’t see your web audience, you have used their audible identifier, which is their name. Therefore, the way you “work the room” in a web presentation is to lace people’s names into your presentation.

Which means you have to KNOW their names, which begs the question, how do I get them? 

In a variety of ways:

  1. Ask for them ahead of time.  Hey, you have a right to know.  Obviously, this doesn’t work in a webinar type of environment, but if it’s an invite-style presentation, what’s the harm in asking?

  2. Familiarize yourself with them during those first few minutes when people are joining your session.  As people join, start a dialogue to validate their name and where they’re located.  In the process, update your attendees list, whether in your web presentation tool, or manually on a piece of paper.

  3. If a given participant is a group of people, identify them by geography, for example, “Chicago” or “headquarters”.  Then, when addressing that “attendee”, use their geography name.  “Hey Chicago, any questions?” or “What’s the headquarters team thinking about what we just looked at?”  Now, in a group setting, you can certainly inquire as to the individuals on the other end, jot down their names (and titles), and address people directly.  The challenge is, this can take some time, requires you to do some juggling, and people are likely to join the group late.  Simpler is better; use the geography name.

Is there some upfront work involved in doing this?  Certainly.  But it’s not excruciating.  Once you have the names, you can start “working the room.”

  • “Beverly, as a contracts administrator, what do you like about what you just saw?  Anything make you nervous?”
  • “Our next topic is mobile.  Darren, before we dive in, how are you using mobile technology today?”
  • “OK IT team, we’re leaving our discussion on infrastructure and transitioning to some business issues.  Any questions before we move on?”

Are You Up For The Challenge?

Good!  Here it is.  In your next software demonstration or presentation, use names intentionally in an effort to virtually “work the room”.  Set a realistic goal for incorporating names, perhaps 5 name-uses in a 30-minute presentation.  Or, if you have a smaller audience, try to address each attendee by name at least once.