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How to give a presentation the steve jobs way

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					How to Give a Presentation the 'Steve Jobs Way' (Dec 09)
By Carmine Gallo

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is credited with reshaping the world of computers, music, mobile phones
and entertainment. Well, add another revolution to his list—presentations. For more than three decades,
Jobs has been turning product launches into an art form. His presentations are like theatrical
experiences and every slide is created like a piece of poetry.

The good news is that his techniques, sharpened over the years, can be used by anyone who wants to
inspire an audience. Here are seven ways to create a “Jobsian” presentation:

1) Create a “holy smokes” moment. Every Steve Jobs presentation has one moment that leaves
everyone in awe—the water cooler moment. These “moments” are scripted ahead of time to complement
his slides, the Apple Web site, press releases and advertisements.

In 2008, Jobs pulled the MacBook Air out of a manila, inter-office envelope to show everyone just how
thin it was. Bloggers went nuts and it was the most popular photograph of the event. The slide simply
showed a picture of the notebook halfway out of the envelope. No words, just pictures. If you have an
image that can say a thousand words, don’t clutter your slides with anything but the image.

2) Unleash your inner Zen. Speaking of clutter, Apple presentations are strikingly simple. There is very
little text on a Steve Jobs’ slide. While the average PowerPoint slide has 40 words, it’s difficult to find that
many words on ten of Jobs’ slides.

During a presentation on September 9, 2009, when Jobs returned from a health-related absence, he
mentioned that the iPhone app store was celebrating its first anniversary. A slide appeared with a
birthday cake holding one candle. This is what psychologists call “picture superiority.” It simply means that
ideas are more easily recalled when presented in text and images than in text alone.

3) Introduce an antagonist. Every great drama has a hero and a villain and Steve Jobs is a master at
creating drama. We see this technique as far back as 1984 when Apple first introduced the Macintosh.
Jobs set up the product launch by painting a picture of IBM bent on “world domination.” Apple, he said,
would be the only company to stand in its way. The crowd went nuts.

One also can argue that the current “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” ads are hero vs. villain vignettes played out in
30-second ads. This is important—an antagonist need not be a direct competitor. It can be a problem in
need of a solution. But a presentation needs a villain so the audience can rally around the hero—you,
your brand and your product.

4) Stick to the Rule of Three. The Rule of Three is one of most powerful concepts in writing and you
should incorporate the idea in your presentations.

It works like this--the human mind can only retain three or four “chunks” of information. Steve Jobs is well
aware of this principle. His presentations are typically divided into three parts. Jobs has even been known
to have fun with the principle. At Macworld 2007, he introduced “three revolutionary products;” a new
iPod, a phone, and an internet communicator. After repeating the three products several times, he
disclosed the big announcement—all three would be wrapped up in one, the iPhone. The rule of three
turned into a water cooler moment.

Ask yourself: What are the three things I want my audience to know? Not ten or 20 things, just three. You
can get away with more points when communicating in written form (like an article) but stick to three in
public presentations and verbal conversations.
5) Share the stage. Think about a presentation as a theatrical event. It’s rare that a one-man or one-
woman play succeeds on Broadway, so why try it in your presentations?

Jobs rarely gives an entire presentation himself. Instead he surrounds himself with a supporting cast—
employees, partners and customers. He had a large supporting cast for his presentation last September
including Apple’s VP of product marketing Phil Schiller and iTunes software designer Jeff Robbin. At least
four game developers took to the stage as well. Songwriter Norah Jones capped it off.

Of course, you’re not going to have Norah Jones wrap up your next presentation, but try to share the
presentation stage with another team member (or customer) if possible.

6) Create Twitter-friendly headlines. Apple makes it simple for the media to talk about its products—the
company writes the headlines for them. Now, reporters will tell you that they like to come up with their
own headlines, but why then did hundreds of them use “World’s thinnest notebook” to describe the
MacBook Air? Because that’s the way Steve Jobs described it, and frankly, it’s hard to come up with a
better way of saying it.

Jobs always describes a new product with a concise phrase that fits well within a 140 character Twitter
post. What’s an iPod? “One thousand songs in your pocket.” What’s Genuis Mix for iTunes? “It’s like
having a DJ mix the songs in your library.”

If you can’t describe what you do in one sentence, go back to the drawing board.

7) Sell dreams, not products. Steve Jobs is passionately committed to changing the world and his
passion shows in every presentation. Anyone can learn the specific techniques he uses to create visually
creative slides, but those slides will fall flat if delivered without passion and enthusiasm.

When Jobs introduced the iPod in 2001, he said that music was a transformative experience and that in
its own small way, Apple was changing the world. Where most observers saw a music player, Jobs saw
an opportunity to create a better world for his customers.

That’s the difference between Jobs and the vast majority of mediocre leaders and presenters —Jobs is
genuinely committed to changing the world and he’s not afraid to say it.

About the Author:

Carmine Gallo is a communication skills coach for some of the world’s most admired brands. He has
worked directly with CEOs, executives, managers and sales professionals for companies including Intel,
IBM, Chase, Nokia, The Home Depot, Clorox, Dreyer’s, Bank of America, SanDisk, Cranium, Hyundai
and many others

©2009 Carmine Gallo

				
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