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Andy Leonard

Andy Leonard is an author and engineer who enjoys building and automating data integration solutions. Andy is co-host of the Data Driven podcast. Andy is no longer updating this blog. His current blog is

I Type During Demos

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Published Monday, April 11, 2011 8:00 AM by andyleonard

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Karla Landrum said:

When organizing SQL Saturday events or finding a speaker for a user group meeting, I prefer folks who actually type/demo in their presentations. It is a learning experience not only if they screw up, but many of us are "visual" and want to SEE exactly how you do it. I have fallen asleep in presentations where there was no actual typing involved, and purely just a .ppt.

At tomorrow's OPASS mtg, we have a local newbie presenting for the first time, and he asked for some feedback of his presentation, and absolutely my recommendation was some actual demo to be added. So looking forward to seeing what he came up with.

Great post!


April 11, 2011 8:14 AM

Arie Jones (AJ) said:


Excellent point. I was given the same type of speech at a SQL Saturday last weekend which also involves..."Never go off script".... Please! People are there to learn something from you. You should be ready to possibly answer a question that would involve you doing a quick exmaple with typing some code , shouldn't you? If something goes wrong then hopefully you will be able to fix it on the fly just like you would in a real-world situation.

I think it gives people more confidence in using the technology if they see someone 'fail' and recover from it without lighting their hair on fire. So keep on typing away brotha!



April 11, 2011 9:33 AM

Buck Woody said:

Ha! Nice post, Andy. And I agree - failure in a demo is OK.

The only reason I suggest not typing is to avoid two issues: Not looking prepared, and "dead air". Now, no one would ever accuse you of not being prepared - but I've been to presentations where the presenter fumbles the typing and tries to debug his or her own syntax errors on stage for a long time - and I've watched that presenter lose the audience in the process. I agree that failing and finding it quickly on stage is very valuable - I've just seen too few people be able to pull that off.

Also, if I have a lot of code to show, I like to have it "pre typed" so I can have the audience focus on the few lines we're covering. The audience's time is valuable, so I make sure I value it like they do. If I type it ahead of time, I'm quicker.

So - perhaps I should say "you should (almost) never type in demos" - unless you're Andy :)

Love ya, babe.

April 11, 2011 9:57 AM

Tim Radney said:

Great article.  Honestly I see just about everyone type in demo's and nearly always it is because someone has asked a question that couldn't be answered or shown with the current presentation as is.  

April 11, 2011 1:00 PM

Rob Farley said:

My name is Rob Farley, and I type in demos...

...and I plan to continue doing so.

April 13, 2011 9:19 AM

andyleonard said:

"Hi Rob. We love you!"


April 13, 2011 9:32 AM

Rob Farley said:

Ah, nice use of quotation marks there. You really do "love" me.


April 13, 2011 4:25 PM

andyleonard said:

LOL - you know I do brother!


April 13, 2011 4:31 PM

Nitin said:

your humbleness makes you stand apart from the crowd.

You're a great source of learning and inspiration

April 14, 2011 10:56 AM

Valentino Vranken said:

"My hope is you will see me try and, if I fail, you will hear me explain why the error occurred and then see me try again."

This sounds like my method of writing blog articles.  When there's a logical way to handle an issue or implement a requirement but it's not the best method (because in some circumstances it leads to an error), I first try to show the reader how you shouldn't do it.  Then I explain a better method of fulfilling that same requirement.

As for live presentations: as long as you've planned the failure, I think there's nothing wrong with typing!  Now, when things start to go wrong while you weren't expecting them to, then it's time to start worrying. But I'm sure that wouldn't happen to you! (I've seen it happen to less-experienced presenters though, not funny anymore after 15 minutes of "what the heck is going on, one more try...")

Interesting post btw!

Best regards, Valentino.

April 18, 2011 7:07 AM

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