Tips and Best Practices to Rock Your Next Presentation and Demo


I’ve been on the Admin Relations team for more than 3 years, and one of the first projects I managed was the launch of the Admin Webinar program. This program is where we get Salesforce Admins and Product Managers to share their knowledge with the community and enable them on the latest and greatest.

One of my favorite parts—and also the most challenging part—about running the program is helping speakers translate their amazing knowledge and ideas into easy-to-follow and engaging presentations. I’ve learned a lot over the past 3 years, and I want to share it with you as you get ready to build your next presentation and/or demo!

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The Right Framework

Every great presentation rocks to this beat: It leverages the right framework, uses effective slides, and has a focused demo.

Let’s start by talking about the structure of your presentation: the right framework.

The key to developing a successful presentation starts with understanding your audience. When you present as a professional in the Salesforce Ecosystem, it’s likely your audience will fall into one of these categories: end users, executives/stakeholders, or fellow Salesforce Admins and Developers.

Each audience has a different WIFY (what’s in it for them), and it’s important to be mindful of this when you start to develop your content. What you as admins find important or interesting about a certain feature can greatly differ from what your end user finds important about the feature. Knowing this, you can adjust the presentation to focus on your audience.

Once you’ve identified who you’re talking to and what you’ll focus on, you can find the right place to begin your story. To do that, consider what this audience may already know about the subject—and their level of interest.

If you assume they have more knowledge or interest than they do, or if you use jargon or get too technical, you’ll lose them. For example, you don’t need to explain what a CRM is to a Salesforce Admin (hopefully, they know this already!).

Next, find your focus. When explaining or demonstrating a complex issue or project, it can be difficult to boil it all down to a few slides and a 5-minute demo. I totally get that! It’s impossible! So don’t try!

Pick one thing you want to focus on. What’s the one thing you want your execs to remember about the project (for example, their reporting will be 10x better)? What’s the one thing you want other admins to remember? This process saved me a LOT of time.

With these three key points in mind, it’s time to start building out your story. Yes, I said story. Every presentation is a story, and so, to be successful, you want to make sure you include and/or address key attributes that make every story memorable and powerful.

The good news is that you don’t have to start from scratch when building out the flow of your story/presentation.

You’ve seen how we can take key story attributes and translate them into slides. But how we translate depends on the story framework we use. Just like in school when you learned how to write an essay or play music and you followed a certain framework, we apply known frameworks to presentations.

There are quite a few frameworks to choose from: Pain-Solution, New Idea, Outline, Best Alternative, Hero’s Journey, and Springboard Story. We focus on the ones we use most often, which are Pain-Solution and Outline:

Effective Slides

Now that we have a good idea about how to structure our presentation to be most impactful, let’s dive into some handy tips on slides.

Before you get started, consider the medium & setting. I like to start with this topic because it’s something that can easily be forgotten but have a big impact on your delivery. Consider the setting!

  • Are you presenting on someone else’s computer? Google or Quip Slides may be best.
  • Are you presenting on a large screen? With a focus on visuals? Keynote is amazing.
  • Are you presenting in a webinar? Reduce animation and reliance on visuals.
  • Are you presenting internally and need to collaborate and update in real-time? Both Google and Quip Slides allow for easy, quick edits.

Then, start to translate your story into slide titles. Open a spreadsheet or doc and map out your story. The title of each slide should be strong enough that someone reading them one after the other can follow your story without even seeing the content of the slide. By doing this, you’re effectively creating a showflow. Just add a column for time and speaker, and you’ll have a complete overview of your presentation!

Some more tips on slide titles:

  • Make them active, not passive
  • Use title case

Now that you’ve completed all this careful planning, you can head over to PowerPoint, Keynote, or Google Slides and start to create your deck.

After you’ve added the slide titles from your doc to your slides, you can start to do something called “Blue boxing”. Blue boxing ensures that your visual matches the point of the slide. Instead of creating the contents of the slide and visually representing it all at once, the idea is you conceptualize what you want to convey on the slide first and come back to the design part later—using blue boxes to take note of what you want the contents of the slide to represent.

Here’s an example:

My last slide tip is… GET DETAIL-ORIENTED!

Adding that next-level polish to your deck is all about the details.

To summarize, here’s a quick checklist of things to look out for before you present:

  • Fix titles (title case)
  • Evaluate subtitles
  • Unify text treatment (fonts, font sizes, font colors)
  • Align shapes, objects, and text boxes
  • Resize and crop photos ❏

Focused Demo

As a Salesforce Admin, being able to deliver a solid demo will give you a huge leg up. Whether it’s to get buy-in from executives on your next big project or train end users on a new feature or app you’ve built, delivering a successful demo is key. Luckily for you, we’ve developed a demo formula to ensure you build and deliver the right demo for the right person, at the right time!

When deciding what you will show in your demo, start with a specific business need. Only show features that deliver on that specific business need. Now, you may have multiple business needs and thus apply this formula multiple times, but remember to remove any piece of the demo that doesn’t directly tie back to one of the business needs. Then, highlight the feature that solves the business need. And never forget to spend time highlighting how the feature will have impact.

Key tips to deliver your demo seamlessly:

  1. Engage the audience
    1. Set expectations
    2. Confirm understanding
    3. Be the tour guide
  2. Execute your plan
    1. Slow down
    2. Pause and reflect
    3. Mouse carefully
  3. Expect the unexpected
    1. Take screenshots/record videos
    2. Backup orgs
    3. Talk through it
  4. Don’t demo in production!
    1. Hide sensitive data
  5. Preload everything you can
    1. Bookmark links
    2. Logins
    3. File paths
  6. Pro Tip: Use Keyboard Maestro

To summarize, here’s a quick checklist of things to do before you demo:

  • Restart your computer
  • Turn off notifications & turn on do not disturb
  • Quit all non-essential apps
  • Clean your desktop
  • Set up your browser (Chrome People, Bookmarks Bar)

Practice Makes Perfect 🎤

Share with us when and where you will put these best practices into action!

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