Storytelling to Create Engaging Software Demonstrations

Are you responsible for rolling out new software solutions throughout your organization?  Maybe you are in charge of software training.  The trick to providing engaging software demonstrations or presentations is to entertain your audience with a great story.

How many software demonstrations have you seen the presenter jump right into the technical features and functionality of the software, resulting in nodding heads within 15 minutes?

If you are giving the presentation, this is your time to shine!  So here are my tips for creating a story line:

  1. SITUATION – Start with a little background of the current situation without the solution you are pitching (i.e., a day in the life)
  2. BARRIERS – Share the barriers, pain and challenges you face without the solution (i.e., turnover in staff, risk of reporting incorrect numbers)
  3. CHANGE MANDATE – Define the mandated change and why you need it (i.e., we run the risk of losing our best employees, or risk of having to restate earnings)
  4. SOLUTION – Present the solution, including the anticipated results
  5. VALUE – Present the total value to the organization (What’s the ROI?)
  6. MAKE IT COMPLELLING – Create a suspenseful story

When you plan your presentation, look at how the solution will make or save the company money.  Also, share how it will affect the people in the room; how will it make their lives better.

Make sure you really consider the dramatic effects on the organization.  For example, I was working with a client who was presenting a proposed sales compensation solution that would help them accurately calculate sales commissions.  The organization was growing rapidly and their plan was to present that Sally had to work nights and weekends at the beginning of the month to manually do the calculations, which were error prone.

During coaching, I asked if the executives really cared that Sally had to work some extra hours, and they agreed that it probably wasn’t that compelling.  I then took them through a series of questions and we discovered that, in their industry, it was not uncommon for salespeople to jump to a competitor.  When this happens, it costs the company greatly.  They have to pay recruiters, train the new person and, most importantly, the knowledge of their products and clients would be in the hands of competitors. They had money-motivated salespeople who had complained that the numbers were often wrong.  When errors occurred, it took many hours to correct, again costing the organization.  Salespeople who became too frustrated with the process were more likely to leave the organization.  With just a little coaching, they had a very compelling reason for their solutions and were able to build a strong ROI case.

It you are interested in improving your presentation skills, I recommend two books:  How to give a Ted Talk by Donovan, and Demonstrating to Win by Robert Riefstahl.  And, of course, you can contact us if you are looking for a coach at 813-254-2040.

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