The Power of a 3.5 min Demo 

by GRACE MOEN – Content Writer for Health 2.0 covering news, trends, and reflections on the industry. 

You know me today as a Writer, but if you’ve been hanging around the Health 2.0 family long enough, you know that I was once a Producer for the conference series both in the US and Europe. During that time I probably asked you to join me in a series of Demo Rehearsals. For some, the notion of a Demo Rehearsal conjures great gratitude stemming from their dedication to give the best demo possible. For others, Demo Rehearsals are met with resistance and balking. I’ve heard…

“Oh I speak publically all the time
“I don’t need a demo rehearsal
“That just isn’t enough time

The truth is everybody needs a rehearsal and frankly, you won’t get on stage without one. I’m going to give you a peak behind the curtain and into the methodology of why the Demo Rehearsal is vital to the success of our collective experiences. There are three big facets to this consider: content, timing, and tech.

Let’s break it down…

Content: You’re too close.
You know your product inside and out…you dream about it, you live and breathe and bleed it. Your audience though, is hearing about your product for the first time, so be gentle. Have some perspective, and be able to zoom out and talk about your product at a high level.


You vs. your product

Pro tip: Demos need a story, a narrative, a protagonist. This brings your demo out of the world of abstractions and plants your idea firmly in the audience’s mind. Furthermore, it creates relatability – that the audience might recognize their story within your own. This makes your demo more human and memorable.


Timing: Attention Span is Dwindling  
Unless you’re Oprah or Obama or the Bhagwan, your audience will stop listening after 3.5 minutes. The attention span just does not exist the way it used to and the science proves it. According to Fortune Magazine, the average human attention span has fallen from 12 minutes to 5 minutes since 2003. Some argue that the use of technology and social media with its’ pithy quips and endless scrolling has trained our brains to crave hits of dopamine and to move on quickly.


I know, I’m as shocked as you are.

Three and a half minutes is not a long time, we know. It’s by design, so don’t squander it. I’ve seen first demo rehearsals last anywhere from 90 seconds to a whopping 17 minutes. The first time you present your demo should not be live on stage, which is why we’re here to help. The goal of course is to get your demo down to a polished, concise, and impactful live presentation.


Tech: It’s Not Magic
Just some of the tech elements our team takes detailed note of include: Is your demo a website? Is it an iPhone? iPad? Does it switch between any or all of those, and how many times? Is there audio? Is there video? Are there logins and passwords? There are some 30 people tucked between the curtains, posted behind cameras, and monitoring audio signals at the Fall Conference. We are proud of our show and being explicit with our Producers about the answers above is key.


Don’t be that guy…


Additional Pro-tips:

  • No slides. If you can show it live, show it live. There’s not a lot you can do to revitalize the antiquated slide deck format anyway. Plus, audiences like action.


Steve Jobs has cited research showing that 41% of U.S. employees would rather do their taxes or go to the dentist than sit through a slideshow.

  • Remember that this isn’t a sales pitch. If you’d like to make one though, we’ll happily take your money in exchange for an audience of your very own in one of our popular Deep Dive or Lunch & Learn sessions. Contact Pat Ryan at
  • Stay on time. It’s respectful. We put 125 demos on stage at the Fall Conference every year and while going 30 seconds over may not seem like a big deal, the problem arises if everyone does it. 30 seconds x 125 demos = late to cocktails.


Some of you know that Demos at our International conferences are longer at 4 minutes in length. I can’t tell you why, but it still comes in at under the aforementioned attention span quota of 5 minutes.

In conclusion, you have an amazing product. You know it, we know it, and your customers know it. Which is why we are so excited to have you at Health 2.0 sharing your wealth of innovation on stage and online.

Beyonce on stage in London

This could be you.


Want a chance to demo at Health 2.0? There is still time to apply for the Fall Conference!

On stage or in the audience, you won’t want to miss Health 2.0’s Fall Conference extravaganza. Tickets are at their lowest rate – $1199 – so grab a colleague and get your tickets today. Register here.