A colleague once cynically commented, in response to a request for a “day-in-the-life” demo, “Give me a week and I can show you a day-in-the-life…” Very clever, but still painful! Day-in-the-life demos are challenging, so here are some Great Demo! principles you can apply:
First, if you have a mixed audience consisting (for example) of high-ranking executives, middle managers and staffers, DO NOT start with a day-in-the-life from the staffers’ perspective. Why? Execs will (quietly) walk out and middle managers will visualize your software as complicated. Follow Great Demo! methodology and present to the execs first, then the managers – and then the staffers, after the higher ranking folks are satisfied. (You can use the concept of “teasers” to let each group know what Good Things are in store for them as the overall meeting progresses.)
Next, Situation Slides and Illustrations very much still apply. Using a Situation Slide to confirm the customer’s situation (and desired gains and outcomes) is an excellent starting point for any day-in-the-life demo segment. Illustrations can and should be used to summarize and/or confirm the desired outcome(s) and end results of these workflows.
Now consider the following ideas:
1. Fewest number of clicks: ALWAYS applicable. Nobody wants their day-in-the-life to take a week!
2. Break things into “chunks”. Just as people take breaks throughout a workday, you should break the overall workflow up into logical chunks as well.
3. Use a Roadmap or agenda to help manage the process, keep the audience (and you) organized, and to enable you to “chunk” with discrete beginnings and ends to tasks and subtasks.
4. Introduce the segment at the beginning; summarize at the end.
5. Avoid using “If”, “Or”, and “Also” – these words branch your demo and make it MUCH longer than it needs to be…
6. Instead, let the audience ask, “Can it do xxx?” and “How do you do yyy?” Turn the demo into a conversation, rather than a firehose!
7. Use a Menu to prioritize chunks and portions of the workflow(s), when possible. No need to invest 50 minutes at the beginning with a workflow segment that is of least interest to the audience.
8. When possible, take a lesson from Julia Child and show the end product (the fabulous roast turkey/beef/lamb/pork/tofu, ready to be carved) to get the audience’s juices flowing, then start the workflow and follow it for a few steps (get the roast into the oven) – and then jump towards the end to finish the workflow. You may not need to show all of the intermediate steps (do you really want to watch a turkey roast for 6 hours?).
9. Mouse smoooooooooothly and deliiiiiiiberately. Avoid Zippy Mouse Syndrome (unless you really want to make your software look complicated).
10. Let a member of the audience drive, under your guidance. This will help to prove ease-of-use and make the segment much more engaging…!
Any other suggestions?