Setting Up a Killer Demo

I do a lot of presentations, and I’m often asked how I make sure that the demonstrations go off without a hitch. I have a few tricks I use in case you have to do presentations as well. Here is some of the setup I do to make things go smoothly:

1. Use a Virtual PC image – There are several reasons to do this. For one, I can back up the files that comprise the Virtual PC image and save them off to an external drive, so there I have a copy in case of a laptop meltdown.

2. Keep a copy of the Virtual PC software handy – Just in case I need to use that image, I need software to run it.

3. Set the background to black – This shows well on the screen.

4. Use 1024x768 Screen Resolution in the VPC – This shows well for almost any size audience and common distance from the screen.

5. Use Large Fonts – Ditto

6. Set the fonts in all of the options in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) to at least 14 pitch – Ditto

7. Set the Output of the queries to use a separate tab, and to switch to that automatically – This gives you more screen real-estate to work with for the audience.

8. Use Line Numbers – This lets you talk about the code you’re showing on the screen

9. Set the code to wrap – This makes it easier to read, and with line numbers it’s clear what you’re showing

10. Use “glyphs” to show the wrap – Ditto

11. In your PowerPoint Slides, “Title” the code demo – This helps you keep your place when you switch back and forth between demos.

12. In your code samples, use those titles as comments - Ditto

In other posts I’ll explain some of the demo techniques I use as well.

Comments (3)

  1. Bill Ramos says:

    These are all great ideas. Buck actually set me up with a VPC with all of the settings that I used at SQL PASS this year and the audiance really liked the setup.

    One thing I would like to add is: be sure to check out your Highlighted Text foreground and background colors to make sure you have a strong contrast. The default of dark blue with white text almost makes the text bkacked out when the presenter wants to highlight the text – not good. In Buck’s VPC, he uses a slightly lighter blue with white text that has a good contrast for people sitting in the back.

    Buck – Thanks for putting these tips together.

    Bill Ramos – SQL Server  

  2. This is a great list of demo tips from Buck . I would agree with Bill that you need to change the foreground

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