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Presentations Checklist:

0. Have Working Code

Start with the basics -- to demo your code it needs to work! Make a branch right now with the code in a working state, then go back to where you were:

git checkout -b beta-demo1
git checkout feature-I-was-working-on

This way you can keep working and know that if you don't finish that last little bit in time, you can git checkout beta-demo1.

  • If your current build is broken consider reverting or rolling back to a previous commit. It is possible to undo quite a lot: read how
  • This is especially easy if you have been branching and committing often.

pro-tip: It's easier to undo if you save often. Consider using git commit to save your work every time your code starts working again

While developing err on the side of over committing. [Insert joke about romance here].

1. Write an outline

Consider writing it on paper -- so you can see it while you're demoing your app. It's amazing how much you can forget in front of a room full of people. Having a plan for demoing your app, and having that plan on your podium will keep you focused on the things you want to highlight most.

Resist the urge to "wing it". It's tempting to rely on your natural charm, but writing down your plan will make you look prepared and professional, because you will be.

Outline Template:

  • Give a high level summary.
    • Briefly, introduce yourself, then tell:
    • What does your application do?
    • Why did you choose this project?
    • How did you accomplish these tasks?
  • Give a demo.
    • Highlight all your killer features:
    • Be detail oriented.
    • Leave out one feature, see the below:
  • Discuss a challenge or difficulty that was overcome (this is a common phone screen question, it's good to practice).
    • People empathize over struggle -- this shit ain't easy.
    • Remember that time you got that one thing working, FINALLY?
      • Talk about that.
    • Then demo the result of that thing. Especially if it ends up being a small thing, or a simple solution.
      • Then everyone laughs because they get it.

2. Practice out loud

Go find a quiet corner, or use to book a conference room for 30 minutes. Film yourself giving your presentation using your computer or phone. Consider capturing a screen cast of the demo.

  • Yes, it sometimes looks ridiculous.
  • Yes, watching yourself is painful.
  • Yes, it's worth it.
  • Doing this alone will make your presentation 1000x better.

Pro-tip: you can use a screen cast as your presentation, and talk over the video of you using the app. This way your app never breaks on the big screen.

Tip from toastmasters (hint): if you are the type that gets nervous, 100% memorize your introduction, learn to say it frontwards and backwards. That way, when you are in front of the crowd, you will say it on autopilot, and by the time you are done, your adrenaline rush should be finished.

Final Note: Be Mindful of The Time

You need a lot of material to fill the time, but when you're in front of the audience time flies. It will be hard to write a plan that seems long enough, but you'll run out of time before you say everything you want. Always know how long you speech will be before you give it.

The only way you'll know how long your presentation is, is by practicing out loud and timing it (use your phone) -- no estimate is going to be right.

Master presenters are generally not naturally charismatic. They are overly prepared and have given this exact presentation before. Probably more than once.


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