There are many components to making a demo day great. But at the end of the day, what makes a demo day fun to watch and participate in is one that is relaxed and conversational. So what are the tips to help you achieve this? And what are the biggest drawbacks that may make having a good demo day hard? I will be attempting to answer these questions in this article.
The way to start things off is to introduce everybody including the guest speaker. Introduce what demo day and WEquil School is, and don’t forget that you are there to have a fun time. Don’t be afraid to smile, and joke around a bit! This will help get everyone else comfortable and less rigid. Your excitement will be contagious and help everyone forget that they are live, and just want to have a fun dialogue about whatever topic they are covering.
Let the conversation keep going until it feels natural to have someone do their presentation. If you feel as though doing a presentation will stop the flow of the conversation, don’t have the next presentation at that time. Some tips to help you keep the conversation flowing while also incorporating the presentations is to relate the presentation to whatever people are discussing, so that when that person is done presenting the conversation can start where it left off but with more to think on.
While people are discussing things, bring people that aren’t talking as much into the conversation by saying “I want to know what ____ thinks!” Anyone can do this even if they aren’t the moderator. This helps get everyone into the conversation and excited about the topic being discussed. One tip for making the demo day more conversational is to understand the goal. The goal is to have a fun time, make everyone feel relaxed and engaged, have viewers enjoy watching and want to participate in our community because they see we are learning while having a fun time. These things will come out of showing your excitement, diving deeper into topics that you are interested in, and jumping in with your own thoughts when you have something to say.
One thing you should always do is to try and sound excited. If you sound excited then it will spread and it will also help everyone feel less nervous. By spreading your excitement, it will make you less nervous and the other people presenting will feel more open to jumping in with thoughts and just having a good time. Recognize that you are just talking with people, people who share a deep interest with you on whatever the demo day is about. Build a relationship with them and try to have an interesting discussion.
A very important thing to make sure you do is to show your appreciation of everyone giving their time to have a conversation and share their insights. This goes especially for the guest speaker, but also other members. There is always something else people could be doing and you should be thankful that people decided that this was the best use of their time. Make sure to say encouraging words while people are talking. This makes it so that they aren’t just talking to themselves, and it is actually a conversation even if you are just saying things like “that’s great!” and “good point!” Saying these comments also helps whoever is talking to be less nervous and see that whatever they are saying is being understood.
One of the best things you can do to encourage the presenters is ask questions about their project. This allows the presenter to elaborate on their points and to help conduct a conversation going about whatever points they mentioned. A good thing to do is to tie it back to other presenters' points which allows for people to see their insights being used and applied to other things, and to get both presenters more engaged.
So what are some tips to mitigate feeling nervous? The first tip is to have something you do in the first ten minutes when the agenda is being shown. Just sitting there and doing nothing will make suspense and nervousness build up. A few things you can do is practice your presentation, fidget with something, take deep breaths, or even just watch a short funny video to loosen yourself up and get the demo day started with a sense of humor! It is very important not to spend the entire time thinking about how things could go wrong, and letting your nervousness build up. Remind yourself of the goal, remind yourself you are just talking with people, and know that if anything does go wrong that it isn’t the end of the world.
You can always add more things into your demo day to try and make it better like improving on what you say during your presentation. But, when it comes down to it, the best demo days are one where you have fun and engage in an interesting conversation! It’s hard to get over being nervous, but the way to overcome it is by going on demo day many times until it isn’t such a big deal anymore. Some great ways you can try to challenge yourself is by going on WEquil Live, a TV Show WEquil School hosts every morning at 7:30 AM! This is similar to demo day since it is live, but isn’t as big of a deal and is meant to just be a relaxing conversation. Fill out this form if you would like to participate in a WEquil Live episode.
We aren’t born knowing how to run a good demo day. We aren’t born even knowing how to talk! But these are just skills that come with time, effort, and patience. There are going to be demo days that end with you thinking, that wasn't so great. But as you keep practicing you will see your improvements. You should always go back and rewatch the demo day so you can see how far you’ve come. It is a great way to reinforce your knowledge that you can do better, and if you keep practicing you will do better.
Moderating a demo day doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. It only means you have to try your best. If you would like to moderate a demo day, sign up with this form!