Walking a Fine Line Between Information and a Sales Pitch

This week I received the qualitative feedback from my recent presentation at the ASUG BOBJ conference. I have been fortunate to present for the last 4 years to a packed crowd of individuals interested in learning about various Xcelsius topics. This year I chose to present about GMaps Plugin, but took a careful approach to ensure I provided good information rather than a product plug. 90% of the comments were positive but I wanted to pick out a few of the negative ones to get some feedback.

 Should have been clearer that this was a specific 3rd party tool. That it was about a 3rd party tool that had to be purchased was disappointing
 Demo can be improved to show better way.
 Demo time is especially interesting to see how things are built. Would be nice if example was more relevant

As an attendee myself, I hate sitting in a sales pitches so I spent my time explaining how and why maps are important in BI, outlined the available technologies to fill in the gaps, and illustrated how I have approached the problem with GMaps Plugin. Since I am an Xcelsius end user, I attempt to outline content that I would want to know as a developer and not as a purchaser.

My rules of thumb for presenting:
No pricing or licensing talk
No value proposition slides
Explain how the technology works
Live demonstration (no slideware)
Provide real world use cases
Inform audience of something they didn’t know before attending
Only discuss features that exists in current product

I am curious from my readers, many whom are Xcelsius developers and customers, how do you differentiate between an informative presentation and a sales pitch? Do I need to add more rules to consider for my presentations?

The other portion area that I am re-evaluating is my approach to product demonstrations… I do live product demonstrations on stage to illustrate exactly how to use the solution. With multiple negative remarks on my earthquake tracker demo is there a specific kind of demo that audiences find more relevant to address a wide range of industries and lines of business with 10 minutes? I know that I personally hate sitting through generic “Sales” or “Finance” demos because they tell the same story. What do you think?

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