Presentation VS Demonstration: What Is The Difference?

Find out below!

With so many different forms of public speaking to choose from, it is easy to be unclear on the specific roles of each one. For some, it may just be outright confusing. Not having a clear understanding can have an impact on your grades or your employment. Your information may be solid but if not delivered in the correct way, it could cost you. If you find yourself in this situation do not fret. 

This article will be your perfect guide. It will break down the definition and roles of presentations vs demonstrations. You will be able to learn about the similarities that cause confusion between the two. This article will also explain the differences between the two so that it will be easier for you to decipher the difference in the future. 

What Is A Presentation?

A presentation is when you present information to your audience about something with a specific objective in mind. Depending on your class or occupation, your topics will vary. Typically, presentations will include visual aids in the form of slides to emphasize your objective. PowerPoint and Google Slides are used commonly for presentations although Canva and Visme are increasing in popularity. However, while presenting your information you can also choose to use a demonstration or do so without. 

While your goal is to present information to your audience, it is very important to try connecting with your audience. Do not just read your notes from your slides. Instead, make eye content. Try telling an engaging story that will tie your slides into your main point. 

Multiple factors play a part in making your presentation a success as noted in the video below:

What Is A Demonstration?

A demonstration, also known as a demo, is when you demonstrate to your audience how to do something. Your main focus is to teach those who listen to you how to complete a task. While providing a detailed step-by-step explanation, you also demonstrate how that task can be done.

Science projects are an excellent example of a demonstration. The teacher demonstrates step by step how to combine certain elements to achieve a certain result. Or vice versa, when a student completes their science project and then demonstrates to the class how it works. 

Presentation VS Demonstration: What Are The Differences?

There are a few key differences between a presentation and a demonstration. You can find them below. 

The Goal Of The Speaker

Simply put, a demonstration is designed to show others directly how something works. Typically, this includes either a product or a technique. The audience may have an interest in what you are demonstrating how to do, or they may be complete beginners. You could offer helpful tips and tricks to help them accomplish the task in the future.

The goal of a presentation is to present information about something to others. That something could be the product or technique that you are discussing. You will emphasize the advantages, disadvantages, resolve the current issues being faced, and explain all the ways the audience can benefit from implementing the use of the product or new technique. 

The Goal Of The Audience

The goal of those attending your demonstration is to learn how to do something. This can be as simple as learning how to prepare their favorite meal or something more intense such as a demonstration showing them how to fly an airplane. 

The goal of those sitting in the audience listening to your presentation is to find out more about a specific topic. You may explain the benefits of doing something, introduce a new idea or process, or present the solution to a challenge they have been facing. 

Visual Aids

Most of the time demonstrations use physical props to engage and teach the audience. This can include a live model of something, and or all of the tools that would be needed for you to complete your demonstration. 

Presentations use slideshows to showcase the information. These slideshows can include charts, diagrams, statistics, maps, etc.  

65% of people are visual learners according to Forbes, so it is important to use visual aids effectively. You can find more information in further detail in the article 'How Effective Are infographics In Presenting Information?

Timeframe Of Results

Those in the audience of a demonstration will have a different experience than those who are listening to a presentation. In the demonstration, the audience will be shown how to do something, and the results immediately follow. They know right then and there if something works successfully. 

With regards to a presentation, you can explain the benefits of doing something and explain the steps to take for the plan to be implemented. However, the audience will not see the results right then and there. This is especially true if you are giving a presentation at a business meeting. Once implemented, the suggested solution will need to be tried over some time to see if the result works and goes according to the expected projections.

What Are The Similarities That Can Cause Confusion?

There are many similarities between presentations and demonstrations that can cause confusion. These include but are not limited to the following:

  • They both use visual aids so that those in the audience can grasp the concepts being presented 
  • They both require you to speak publicly in front of others and have excellent communication skills
  • They both require you to know your audience and tailor your words in a way that would benefit them the most. Those listening to you should feel that your information was prepared specifically for them 
  • They both should be well structured to have the deepest impact and really penetrate the hearts of your listeners 
  • You want to allocate time for questions at the end to make sure your audience is clear on the main points
  • You must captivate the attention of those in the audience so that they be motivated to take action
  • The end result requires those in the audience to take action. For a demonstration, once they have seen how to accomplish the task, they would need to practice or try out what they have just seen demonstrated. For a presentation, they would need to implement the suggestion or solution to their problem to see the result

The Benefits That Come From Giving Effective Presentations And Demonstrations:

Presentation VS Demonstration: The Benefits

Several benefits result from giving effective presentations and demonstrations. The benefits are as follows:

  1. One benefit is that you can explain complex information and ideas simply and interestingly. Presentations and demonstrations can add clarity to your words, making them easier for your audience to understand. At the same time, it provides compelling evidence of the validity of what you are saying. 
  2. Everyone likes options including your listeners. By using a variety of content and styles you engage and awaken their senses. By encouraging the use of your audience senses, you are helping them to retain what they are learning not just for a few seconds, but permanently. 
  3. Never underestimate the power behind a good image, video, or demonstration. Visual aids make your information more vivid. Proper visual aids can trigger an emotional response and when combined with your well-thought-out speech, they can leave a lasting impression on those who see it. They will leave feeling enlightened or inspired. 
  4. Presentations and demonstrations open the way for communication. If those in the audience have questions, they can ask. On the other hand, you can ask specific questions that will direct their attention to specific images, or props used in your demonstration to make the main points stand out. 

Important Tips To Keep In Mind:

  • For a presentation or demonstration to be effective, it is critical that everyone in your audience can see it. All of your slides and the items used for your demonstration must be visible to your entire audience. 
  • You want to use visual aids in your presentations and demonstrations that will complement the information you are presenting. If your slides and props are not in harmony with your message your audience may be distracted, confused, and not grasp the main points of your speech. 

How Will Knowing The Difference Enhance My Public Speaking Skills?

Knowing the difference between presentations vs demonstrations will enhance your public speaking skills because you will know how to better address your audience. When you address them properly, they will be more inclined to focus on your message. 

Presentation VS Demonstration: Final Review

To review, a demonstration is formulated to specifically show your audience how to do something or show how something works. In contrast, a presentation is when you present information about something with or without demonstrating it, depending on your preference. 

Now that you know the difference, you can tailor how you will deliver your information to your audience based on their needs and what your overall goal is. Your delivery will be more effective and successful. Whether you are giving a presentation or a demonstration, your audience will be well pleased and ready to take action! 

For more resources to develop your public speaking skills while you are in the comforts of your own home, please check the articles Online Resources for Public Speaking and Where Can I Learn Public Speaking. If you would like to leverage the best presentation software for your next big speaking engagement please read the article 'Best Presentation Technology tools'.


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Posted in  Presentation Tools and Topics   on  January 24, 2022 by  Dan W ,   Presentation VS Demonstration: What Is The Difference?

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