Debilitating Demo Diseases: Clairvoyance Annoyance


Share on LinkedIn

Clairvoyance Annoyance (aka Premature Elaboration)

Symptoms: Prescience. Answering questions before they are completed because you’ve heard them all hundreds of times before. Causes severe annoyance in customers. The appearance of great embarrassment, flushing and jackass ears on the presenter may also occur.

Examples: Customer: “Does it run on…”

Presenter: “Yes! We support Vista, Windows XP and some older versions of Windows, including the MS Office products on each of those platforms, including Office 97, Office 2003, Office 2007 and all of the current and ‘compatibility’ file types.”

Customer: “…Macintosh?”

Presenter: “Oh. No.”

Cure: Zip it – and let the customer ask the full question. Listen intently. Ask for clarification, as needed. Parse as to whether the question is a Great Question (answer it right away), a Good Question (queue it up for later) or a Stupid Question (also queue it up for later). Manage Q&A professionally using a “Not Now List” or “Parking Lot”.

Copyright © 2008 The Second Derivative – All Rights Reserved.

For a PDF copy of the full article and other articles on demonstration effectiveness skills and methods, email me at [email protected] or 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