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The Art of the Demo

demo-tape

How important is it to your business that you share what you are working on, even if you aren’t finished? Do you share the sketches? The incomplete thoughts? The 90% finished work? If all we ever share is the polished final project, then how do we get a sense of the journey it took to get there?

One of the biggest struggles in both business and the classroom is centered around this idea of showing unfinished work. When discussing this topic, fear usually rears its head as people ask the following questions:

Fear Prevents Us From Sharing

While there is validity in these questions, the reality is that fear prevents us from sharing work that isn’t finished. It is the fear of being judged as not good enough. The fear of being an imposter. The fear of being labeled a hack. The fear of being called out to answer questions that maybe we don’t know the answers to yet. Fear that we haven’t done all of the work that will justify the grade or the price tag.

What if we tell our clients that we share unfinished work so that they can be a part of the process?

What if we tell our clients that we occasionally share work in progress on our blog?

What if we believe that not everyone will like what we share?

What if we realize that our work will be judged regardless of the stage of completion it is in?

Will we then embrace the art of sharing?

Learn From Musicians…Demos Rock

The best songs in the world start as a crappy demo, a poorly recorded riff, or a sliver of an idea. Recently, Metallica released deluxe editions of their first two albums Kill ‘Em All and Ride The Lightning including demos for both albums. Song titles changed. Vocals and lyrics were a far cry from the finished album. Guitar solos were in progress of becoming epic masterpieces. But in the end, you can hear the greatness in the demo. It was there. It just wasn’t perfect yet. It took time and the willingness to share that demo with others so that it could become great.

Focus on the Journey and the Destination

If all we ever do is share the final project, we miss out on the opportunity to show our uniqueness with the world. The journey from concept to completion is different for every creative professional. If we take the time to share our thought process with the world, we have an opportunity to stand a part from everyone else.

Embrace the art of the demo and share your work frequently so that you can embrace feedback, collaboration, and iteration. We have an amazing opportunity to share each and every day with thousands of people. You never know who is watching and ready to be your next fan.