Friday, November 21, 2008

Website Menu Approach Example

Here’s another example of a website following the “Menu Approach” – simple but effective:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Debilitating Demo Diseases – Architecturitis

Architecturitis – Death by Rectangles

Symptoms: Presentation of architectural slides and diagrams early in the demo, well before any discussion of business solutions (or needs). Far too many rectangles with lines and arrows, often presented via one or more elaborate, highly colored PowerPoint slides. May cause severe drowsiness when delivered after lunch.

Examples: “We have a three-tier architecture, allowing us to use several different modules and components. I’ll describe each of these in turn…”

Cure: Ascertain audience interest prior to presenting architecture information. Ensure that all high-ranking customer representatives, other than IT, have been given the opportunity to leave the room. When presenting, contemplate developing the diagram(s) using a whiteboard rather than via PowerPoint, so that the audience has the opportunity to participate.

Monday, November 17, 2008

“Boiling the Frog”

A laboratory experiment was purported to have been carried out in which a frog was boiled to death – semi-voluntarily.

In the experiment, a frog was placed in water, initially at room temperature. The temperature was raised, very slowly, until finally the temperature was high enough to kill the frog (poor froggy..!).

The conclusion was that if very small, incremental changes are made to one’s environment, we may not notice these changes – even if the aggregate sum of the changes is large, overall.

This same concept can be applied to demos… We may create a demo for version 1.0 of a new product – a demo that is crisp and focused – but the addition of new capabilities, multiple new versions, modules, add-ons, etc., may yield a demo that incrementally becomes complex, confusing, and too detailed. We have effectively boiled ourselves…!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The right word may be effective...

"The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause."- Mark Twain

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

SMART Board Displays for Trade-show and Office Demos

I’ve recently had seen SMART Boards used very effectively to deliver demos at trade-shows and in vendor site “demo rooms”. A key advantage is that they encourage “going to the screen” and a highly interactive delivery style, as opposed to simply presenting sitting down at a laptop connected to an LCD projector.

SMART Boards enable you to use your fingers as you would a mouse, directly from the screen of a flat panel display or white board. [The SMART Board is an overlay device for a flat panel display and an integrated device in the case of a white board]. Annotations can be made using SMART Board pens (similar to white board markers), along with other capabilities.

Nice tool – nice way to present!

For information on SMART Boards as for existing flat panel displays, explore

For information on SMART Boards as “intelligent” white board devices, navigate to

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Debilitating Demo Diseases – Content-Free Pestilence

Content-Free Pestilence – Buzzword Plague

Symptoms: Constant use of meaningless buzzwords and phrases. Lack of substance.

Examples: “Our powerful software is flexible, intuitive, easy-to-use and integrates seamlessly with your other tools. Robust and scalable, your organization can enjoy the benefits of our best-of-breed world-class offering.”

[Customer] “Bingo! I win – I’ve got five buzzwords in a row…!”

Cure: Rapid, repeated applications of Buzzword-Be-Gone®. Replace with substantive, fact-rich statements that communicate the desired concept, with metrics. In extreme cases, buzzword exorcism may be necessary (contact your local behavioral presentation skills witchdoctor).

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Debilitating Demo Diseases – Pointer Palsy

Pointer Palsy

Symptoms: Presenter waves pointer vaguely at screen; pointer moves around constantly; use of broad sweeping movements with a laser pointer. In severe cases, the victim circles mouse or pointer constantly around and around and around. When compounded with aggressive tendencies, presenter may use stick or telescoping pointer like a sword, causing audience members nearby to shrink back in fear.

Examples: “As you can see…” wave – wave – swish – swish…

“If you look over here” swish – wave – swish – wave…

Cure: Guide presenter to move right up to the screen and point carefully and deliberately at the item or area of specific interest. Presenter needs to remember that while presenter has seen that part of the software hundreds of times, it is mostly likely the first time the audience has seen it. In severe cases, presenter may need to be tackled, pinned-down, and pointer carefully removed from his/her grasp.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Debilitating Demo Diseases – Stunted Pain Development

Stunted Pain Development – Solution Abruption

Symptoms: Precipitous presentation of product-oriented solutions to problems prior to plumbing customer pain adequately; victim jumps directly to presenting a solution the moment “pain” is uncovered.

Examples: “Ah ha – so you are having a hard time doing your forecasting? We’ve got a great solution for you…!”

Cure: Discipline. Hold back on the solution, for the present. Ask more questions – perform Workflow Analysis to uncover the depth and value of solving the customer’s problem:

1. What is the customer doing today – what is their current process or workflow?
2. What is the output, the deliverable, for which the workflow is executed? [Hint: this is a prime candidate for a terrific Illustration!]
3. What parts of the process are problematic – what needs to change?
4. What is the value of making the change, in specific terms of Time, People of Money? [This is the “Delta”]