Media Lab Helsinki organizes a biannual “demo day”. Its purpose is to showcase different research, art and new media projects done in the Media Lab. The event is open for everyone interested in work done at Media Lab – and since “demo day” is held in late December/May, it’s also a good place to mingle with fellow students/staff.
Showcasing in a “demo day” event is an art of its own. It’s like pitching, but in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, where listeners are there to help and support you.
Here’s some advice you can use in building your own showcase presentation:
1) Introduce Yourself. Imagine that people don’t know you or your project. Don’t give a long lecture on your background – just tell people who you are, and point the relevant information about you.
2) Introduce Your Project. What is the name of the project? What is the project about? What is the target audience? Can you compare your project to a project/song/art piece/application the audience knows? How does your project differ from that? You can practice by writing an “elevator speech“.
3) Talk to the Audience. If you build a PowerPoint presentation or present something using a beamer, don’t talk to the computer screen or to the presentation. Look and talk to the audience. (You’d be surprised how many make this simple mistake!)
4) Be Brief. If you have a timeslot of five minutes, it’s better to speak four minutes than six. After all, you should be able to present your project in a minute, anyway.
5) Have Handouts and Time For Questions and Discussions. Not everyone are interested in your work. But some definitely are. Have simple handouts for people who are interested in your project – don’t forget to add contact information. Be sure to reserve time for questions, mingling and face-to-face meetings after your presentation slot.
6) Smile. 🙂
Here are some pictures from Media Lab Helsinki’s Demo Day!
PS: Here are some useful resources for showcasing and pitching:
- Planning tips for (student) showcase organizers (in the US context, but includes many good general points).
- Points to include when presenting an innovative business idea (a recent template from an EU tech innovation conference).
- A great blog post about the art of pitching your ideas.
- Pitching your startup company.
- Note that projects often build showcase websites. Feel free to use the Showcase Tab of this site to build a page for your showcase.