Far too often in demos, we get questions that either drive us into the weeds (too much detail) or we jump into the weeds ourselves… Here are some guidelines for managing questions in Great Demos:
Regarding when and what questions to “Park”:
Great Questions (that don’t need to be parked):
- Questions from high-ranking people are all “Great Questions” and should be addressed right away (crisply).
- Questions from most middle-managers should also be addressed right away, unless they are really detailed…
- Questions that lead to what you wanted to show next or in a few moments.
Good Questions (that should be parked until the appropriate time):
- Questions early in the demo, particularly when high-ranking people are still present, that will require too much detail or demo pathway to address.
- Questions that require major shifts in your plan.
- Questions that are specific to an individual (and not of interest to the balance of the group).
It is often reasonable to ask the group as a whole, “Should we park this for now – or would you like me to address it right away?” when you are not sure… Note that high-ranking people’s desires override others!
“Can I?” vs. “How do I?”: Listen carefully to the way questions are asked. When someone asks, “Can it do xxx?” you may only need to answer “Yes” or “No” (if “Yes”, I generally recommend following with, “Is that sufficient or would you like to see it?” when you are early in the demo… This is particularly true for high-ranking folks – they often don’t need to see the answer, just hear it.
When some asks, “How do you do xxx?” you are more likely going to have to show a pathway.