5 Tips on Building a Showcase Presentation

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!

Image 16.12.2014 12.48.27 1436

A person is testing a device built in Media Lab’s course.

Image 16.12.2014 12.58.25 1441

The students of Media Lab Helsinki are testing a prototype musical instrument in demo day.

Image 16.12.2014 12.58.23 1440

This little box gives “random” proverbs and thoughts for an user.

Image 16.12.2014 12.58.20 1439 (1)

This art project lets user to listen to voices and soundscapes from different apartments in a (miniature) building.

Image 16.12.2014 12.58.17 1438

A research staff member presents the research projects done in one of Media Lab’s programs.

Image 16.12.2014 12.12.16 1433

Media Lab students are presenting their new game project.

PS:  Here are some useful resources for showcasing and pitching:

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