- Steve Jobs on Presentation Skills
Courtesy: Mona Choksi, TRAINERS FORUM
When Apple CEO Steve Jobs kicked off Macworld 2008, he once again raised the bar for presenters everywhere. While most deliver information, Jobs inspires the audience. The 10 most motivating elements to incite listeners are
1. Set the tone..
"There is something in the air today," Jobs projected to the crowd to open the Macworld conference. By doing so, he set the tone for his presentation and hinted at the key product announcement- the ultrathin MacBook Air laptop. While every presentation needs an angle, it doesn't have to be unveiled right away. Last year, Jobs waited until the 20-minute mark. When the time was right, he noted, "Today Apple reinvents the phone." Once you identify your angle, make sure to weave it throughout your presentation.
It's impossible to deny Jobs' passion for computer design. Next time you're crafting or delivering a presentation, think about infusing it with your personality. Most speakers get into presentation mode and feel as though they have to strip the talk of any character. Remember, your audience wants to be vowed, not put to sleep. The audience will follow your lead. So set an enthusiastic example.
3. Provide an outline
Jobs set expectations by noting, "There are four things I want to talk about today. So let's get started..." Verbally opening and closing each of the four sections helped to make clear transitions between talking points. For example, after revealing several new iPhone features, he said, "That [the iPhone] was the second thing I wanted to talk about today. Number three is about iTunes." Make lists and provide your audience with guideposts along the way
4. Make numbers meaningful.
When Jobs announced that Apple had sold 4 million iPhones to date, he provided context for the figure. "That's 20,000 iPhones every day, on average," Jobs explained, "What does that mean to the overall market?" Numbers don't mean much unless they are placed in perspective. Connect the dots for your listeners.
5.Try for an unforgettable moment.
This is the moment in your presentation that everyone will be talking about. Every Steve Jobs presentation builds up to one big scene. In this year's Macworld keynote, it was the announcement of MacBook Air. To demonstrate just how thin it is, Jobs said it would fit in an envelope. Jobs drew cheers by opening a manila interoffice envelope and holding the laptop for everyone to see. What is the one memorable moment of your presentation? Identify it ahead of time and build up to it.
6. Create visual slides.
While most speakers fill their slides with data, text, and charts, great presenters do the opposite. There is very little text on a Steve Jobs slide. Most of the slides present one idea for the audience to walk away with. This is further supported by see-and-say syncing. For example, when outlining, "The first thing I want to talk to you about today," was accompanied by a slide with the numeral I. When he discussed a specific product like the iPhone, the audience saw a slide with an image of the product. Inspiring presenters are short on bullet points and big on graphics.
7. Give 'em a show.
A Job's presentation has ebbs and flows, themes and transitions. Including video clips, demonstrations, and guests creates the feeling that the presentation is more of a show than a lecture. Enhance your presentations by incorporating multimedia, product demonstrations, or giving others the chance to say a few words.
8. Don't sweat the small stuff
Despite your best preparation, something might go wrong as it did during the Apple CEO's keynote. Upon attempting to show a few photographs from a live Web site, the screen went black. Jobs smiled and said, "Well, I guess Flickr isn't serving up the photos today." By moving forward and recapping the new features he just introduced, it was no big deal. Don't sweat minor mishaps. Have fun.
9. Sell the benefit.
While most presenters promote product features, Jobs sells benefits. When introducing iTunes movie rentals, Jobs said, "We've never offered a rental model in music because people want to own their music. You listen to your favorite song thousands of times in your life. But most of us watch movies once, maybe a few times. And renting is a great way to do it. It's less expensive, doesn't take up space on our hard drive..." Your listeners are always asking themselves, "What's in it for me?" Answer the question. Don't make them guess. Clearly state the benefit of every service, feature, or product.
10. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
Steve Jobs cannot pull off an intricate presentation with video clips, demonstrations, and outside speakers without hours of rehearsal. Jobs rehearses the entire presentation aloud for many hours. You can see he rehearsed the Macworld presentation because his words were often perfectly synchronized with the images and text on the slides. A Steve Jobs presentation looks effortless because it is well-rehearsed.
Use this 10-part framework to wow your audiences. Many observers claim Steve Jobs has charisma. True. But he works at it. Nothing in his presentations is taken for granted. He studies the art of telling a story to inspire his audience. You must do the same to electrify your listeners.
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