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How To Deliver Insanely Great Presentations Like Steve Jobs – Part 1

No matter what you might think of Apple products or Steve Jobs himself, there is absolutely no doubt that we can learn much from the way he presents Apple products to the world. Here is Part 1 of a 2 part article series.

Steve Jobs The Presenter

steve-jobs-presentations-part-1Jobs is remarkable, he is the master of creating and delivering a memorable event. In the process of persuading his customers to buy his products, he entertains, informs and educates the audience. Can we learn from Steve Jobs? You bet we can.

In his book, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience, Carmine Gallo reveals a number of principles that every presenter can learn from and apply.

My desire with this article is to share with you the principles that we’ve modeled on Jobs and strive to apply consistently in our own company presentations. Should you also apply these in your own work, there’s no doubt in my mind that you will better influence audiences through the way you present your ideas.

#1 Design in Analogue, Present in Digital

While Steve Jobs is a leader in the world of technology, his presentations are planned the old fashioned way … with pen and paper. The delivery has all the trimmings of a major movie production, and just like the movie equivalent, it is planned using storyboards.

You must remember you are actually presenting a story, and it’s your ability to capture people’s attention and imagination that will separate you from other speakers.

Before going digital, clearly identify what your end result or outcome is and then spend time brainstorming, sketching and story boarding a presentation that will capture the hearts and minds of the audience.

#2 Deliver a Social Media Friendly Description

It’s been said to me that If you can’t describe what your product is in one simple statement, you might not really know much about it.

LinkedIn users are aware of the 140 character limit for updating status, as are Twitter users. That philosophy of brevity and compactness can and should be applied to your product and idea descriptions.

Jobs described the Macbook Air as ‘the worlds in thinnest notebook’ He referred to the iPad as ‘a magical product more capable than a smartphone and more intimate than a laptop’. Those sentences speak volumes and any gaps in description are simply filled during the presentation.

We were very careful to apply this concept when we decided to describe our Academy of Business Leadership as ‘innovative education for the modern leader who wants to lead change and get extraordinary business results with ease’. It captures the essence of what the academy achieves and does so in a way that the reader might actually read it.

Do the character test on the way you describe your product or service before you deliver it.

#3 Rally Around a Common Enemy

In 1984 Steve Jobs introduced a villain. Yes, he introduced IBM as the enemy of the audience. The crowd went crazy with the drama presented by Jobs when he said ‘big blue’ [as IBM was known] wanted it all and Apple would be the only company to stand in it’s way. Branding experts agree that all great brands are perceived as heroes that take on a common enemy.

The enemy or villain does not have to be a competitor. It can simply be a problem shared by the audience that’s in need of a solution. In January 2007 Jobs introduced the iPhone as the solution to the many problems being experienced by phone users. In February 2010 he positioned the iPad in the same way. It was the technology that would solve problems being experienced by small PC like device users.

As they say in the military, nothing rallies the troops quite like a common enemy. Take the time to describe the common enemy when you begin your presentation.

#4 Make Their Life Better

Why should you buy an iPhone 3G? Well for one it’s “twice as fast at half the price” says Jobs. What about a time capsule, why would you want one of those? “All of your irreplaceable photos, videos and documents are automatically protected and easy to retrieve if they are ever lost” says Jobs. Checkout the Apple website and you’ll see the top ten reasons why you will love a Mac.

At the end of the day, nobody really cares about your product or service, all they care about is how it will make their lives better. So tell them about how it does that.

#5 Provide Mental Milestones the Audience Can Follow

Steve Jobs takes his audience through a series of steps. He will says such things as ‘the first thing I want to talk about today is the iPhone, ‘the second thing I will talk about now is iTunes’. He provides simple linguistic guideposts that cause the audience to know where they are in the presentation. What’s even more important is he limits the number of points he makes to around three or four.

One of the major errors presenters make is to tell the audience everything they can about their product or service. Do you have to tell them everything? No you don’t, you are going to be far better off if the audience remembers a few key points. They will not remember any more than about four.

If the audience wants more information, do what Jobs does, he simply sends them to the Apple website.

(Click Here for Part 2)

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