Debilitating Demo Diseases: Whooping “If”


Share on LinkedIn

Whooping “If”

Symptoms: Presenter offers an ever-growing range of options, generally linked together by “if…” If’s often multiply rapidly, causing great boredom in the audience and the risk of encountering unexpected bugs and precipitating detailed, pointless questions (aka “Stupid Questions”) on topics of little interest and lower value.

Examples: “So, if you want to open an existing one, you click here and…”; “Then, if you want to create a new one, then you choose ‘New’ and…”; “Next, if …”

Cure: Inhale deeply. Exhale slowly. Apply a Biased Question when the urge to “if” presents. If you are the presenter ask yourself, “Is this really something the audience is interested in or needs to know? Is this a sales demo or product training?”

Copyright © 2008 The Second Derivative – All Rights Reserved.

For more articles on demonstration effectiveness skills and methods, visit our website at For demo tips, best practices, tools and techniques, join the DemoGurus Community Website at or explore our blog at

Peter Cohan
Have you ever seen a bad software demonstration? Peter Cohan is the founder and principal of Great Demo!, focused on helping software organizations improve the success rates of their demos. He authored Great Demo! - how to prepare and deliver surprisingly compelling software demonstrations. Peter has experience as an individual contributor, manager and senior management in marketing, sales, and business development. He has also been, and continues to be, a customer.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here