Monday, October 6, 2008

Debilitating Demo Diseases - Rampaging Pronouns

Rampaging Pronouns – Too Many Fictional Characters

Symptoms: Demo begins by introducing Mike the Manager, Eunice the End-User, Veronica the VP, Andrew in Accounting, Sally the Sales Director, and Ike from IT. Presenter immediately loses track of which pronoun to use: I, you, he, she, them, they, um, hmmm. Audience immediately loses patience. Sales rep loses deal, misses quota, and suffers Terminus Abruptus.

Examples: “Next, I’ll show you how Eunice enters the account information, which you can use to calculate the total so she can add the new lines which I need for the next section.”

Cure: Apply restraints; purge excess pronouns (may be painful – Pro-No™ and Pronoun-Be-Gone® are two products often recommended and can be purchased over-the-counter). Replace with “you”, exclusively.


Joe Baumgarten said...

As an alternative to made up names, I try and use the names of people in the demo, especially if I also know their roles, e.g. programmer, manager, VP, etc.

If I don't know any name, then I try and avoid saying "now I will approve" and "now I will enter a new call". Instead, I try to remember to say "you".

Do you have any feedback on that technique?

Peter E. Cohan said...

Hi Joe,

This is excellent advice – and a stronger strategy than what I posted. Involving specific audience members certainly draws them into the demo. In addition, I like to have a “volunteer” drive certain portions of demos. What better way to prove “ease of use” than to have the customer do it themselves? (Yes, you have to manage this carefully to reduce risk…).