He wanted to know if I had any suggestions.
I asked him what the product did, acting as if I didn’t know, even though I was well acquainted with it. John told me a story that took me through the entire life cycle of a project that went through the product. The story took him less than five minutes to tell. When he was done, I asked, “Is there anything else the product can do, or anything else one could do with the product?” John added another two minutes worth of concepts. I asked him again, “If there was anything he’d left out?” He said, “No.” “So,” I asked, “didn’t you just do what the client asked you to do in less than ten minutes?” He nodded, then said, “But they’ve given me two hours, I can’t just talk for ten minutes.”
“Do you have more to say about how to use the product or what it does?” I asked. “No,” he said, “it’s simple and easy to use.” “So why,” I asked, “do you want to make it complicated and difficult to understand?” I turned to the rest of the workshop, many of whom were not familiar with the product. “Anyone here have a question about how the product works, or its virtues for the client in question?” I asked, no one did.
“Really?” John said, still not totally convinced. “All I need to do is talk for ten minutes?” “And then ask for questions,” I responded. “If they have any, if it is unclear to them, they will let you know.” “And if they don’t? “ He asked. “Come prepared with a couple of questions for them, to spark the conversation. If they seem satisfied with the information by the end of that part of the conversation you’ve done your job,” I replied.
“It just seems too easy,” John said. “It is easy.” I replied with a smile. Now, I want to pose John’s question to you. If I could educate you on how to use a product by telling you one story that took you through it’s functions from beginning to end in ten minutes, or spend two hours going through a forty-six-page user manual to achieve the same goal, which presentation would make you more likely to buy the product?”