I have always believed that demonstrating a product is much more effective than using a slide show to describe it. A slide show is safer, because less can go wrong, but as a participant in training sessions, I always learnt more when I could see it working on a screen in front of me.
This was proved to me last week when I had to introduce a product to attendees doing essentially the same presentation – one with the slide show, because I couldn’t get live access, and one demonstrating it online in real time. It was only when I was talking about the difference between the two sets of events that I realised why one set got a so much better reaction that the other. The static presentation went well – but the live demonstration allowed me to stray off the path and show people features that were particularly relevant to them – thus making it much more memorable. This might seem obvious – but it is nevertheless useful to have it reinforced in practice.