Thursday, March 22, 2012

Using a VM for Remote Demos – Comments and Experiences?

I’ve heard a number of advantages and trade-offs regarding using virtual machines when presenting demos remotely (e.g., over WebEx or GoToMeeting).  One advantage is that using a VM eliminates (or hides) the possibility of the audience seeing IM’s or email previews and related notifications.  It also provides the ability to show a “clean” desktop.  On the other hand, using a VM may add substantial start-up time and/or complexity to operating remotely.

What experiences and recommendations can you share?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Terrific Situation Slide Labels

For internal communications and “controlled vocabulary” within the vendor I typically recommend using the following labels for Situation Slides:

- [Job Title/Industry]
- Critical Business Issue
- Problem/Reason
- Specific Capabilities
- Delta
- Critical Date/Critical Event

While these labels are excellent for internal use, they may not resonate well with customers. Here are a set of labels offered by a recent Great Demo! Workshop team that were particularly well-received:

- Your Challenge
- Your Current Process
- Your Requirements
- Your Bottom Line
- Your Target Date


Friday, March 2, 2012

Epic Poem Demos Delivered Remotely – Seriously Stunningly Awful

It is bad enough to have someone present a demo in “Epic Poem” format in a face-to-face situation – it is stunningly awful to see them delivered remotely, over the web (using WebEx, GoToMeeting or similar tools)!  I was watching a series of these during the past couple of weeks and have a few observations:

Does the audience really need to be there? 

Far too often demo presenters launch into their “Epic Poem” patter and talk/demo for an entire hour, with nary a pause (other than to periodically ask, “Any questions so far?”).  The audience could be completely unengaged – and off doing other (more productive) activities such as reading email, browsing the web or writing a novel.  The only requirement on the audience’s part is to be able to respond “Nope” when the presenter asks “Any questions so far?” and/or to make the occasional “uh-huh” grunt to give the presenter the impression that the audience is still paying attention. 

Does the presenter feel he/she has done a good job because he/she made it through the material (the complete Epic Poem demo) within the allotted time? 

Unfortunately, this often appears to be the presenters’ measurement of success.  The format for these 1-hour demos seems to follow a rather consistent path: 

-          Corporate overview – 5-10 minutes (boring and unnecessary)

-          Product overview – 5-10 minutes (largely boring and unnecessary, and generally includes the traditional boring vendor product-centric architecture slide)

-          Demo presented in Epic Poem format – fills up the entire balance of the hour, often running a few minutes over, leaving no opportunity for audience interaction or questions

Is the presenter as bored as the audience?

It is likely that the presenter delivers this same PowerPoint slides and demo over and over – perhaps several times a week or more – and so it is likely the presenter is as bored with the content (and its delivery) as the audience is! 

The moral? 

Get out of Epic Poem mode and reconstruct demos to map to audience interests, needs and time-constraints.  (For those already familiar with Great Demo! methods, you know what to do – for those who are new to these ideas, I can offer a few articles and resources that may help ...