Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs

Present Like Steve Jobs – with help from Carmine Gallo

This past week I had the pleasure of meeting Carmine Gallo. Well, kind of… I attended a Sliderocket webinar, in which Carmine took a full hour to present the highlights of his book The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs and answer questions from the audience.

Present Like Steve Jobs

Although my local time was already past midnight, Carmine kept me alert and at the edge of my seat throughout his fast paced and informative talk. He not only teaches how to expertly pitch, present, and communicate the vision behind your brand…he does it himself in a masterful way.

Carmine started out explaining that a person can have the greatest idea in the world, but if that person can’t convince enough other people, it doesn’t matter. This clearly resonated with me, and most likely with the majority of the other attendees. After all, knowing just how important presentation and communication skills are in this world is what led me to this event in the first place.

The main points Carmine made about the Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs:

First: Jobs Creates a Story

He maps out each presentation first.

Before Steve Jobs even starts his presentation software, he plans his presentation first with pen and paper. He wants to have a story to tell before he creates the first slide. He visualizes the entire presentation first: the story, the look and feel, the flow of your information, and the main messages.

He creates an antagonist.

In every classic story, the hero fights a villain. Steve Jobs uses this formula and positions Apple as the protagonist in all his stories. When creating his presentations, Jobs thinks of Apple’s products as the hero that is here to save the world. Every story Steve Jobs creates has a villain, which doesn’t necessarily have to be a competitor. It can be a problem in need of a solution. What’s important to him is to have an identifiable enemy.

He sticks to the rule of three.

Three is the magic number. Each of Steve Jobs’ presentation is divided into three points. When he introduces new products, he focuses on three features. There is a reason for this: scientists have found that people cannot keep more than three or four chunks of information in their short term memory easily. If you give people too much information, they won’t remember a thing. Jobs knows this and focuses on the three key points he want the audience to remember.

He creates Twitter-friendly headlines.

  • iPod: 1000 songs in your pocket.
  • iPhone 3G: It’s twice as fast at half the price.
  • MacBookAir: The world’s thinnest notebook.

He sell dreams, not products.

Jobs knows that customers don’t care about Apple, or its products. They care about themselves. They care about their dreams and their hopes. Steve Jobs doesn’t sell computers. He sells tools to unleash your creative potential. Jobs is driven by a desire to create experiences and to change the world. This desire leads to passion and emotion that will attract and motivate other people.

Second: Jobs Delivers an Experience

He keeps things very simple

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Leonardo Da Vinci

Jobs doesn’t use any bullet points on his slides. He knows that bullet points are not all that effective. He rather shows one powerful slide for each of his points than grouping them together on just a single slide. He uses his slides as a simple (and powerful) backdrop to support each of his messages.

Picture Superiority

Steve Jobs uses extremely powerful visual slides with just one word or short headline. He uses the slides as a backdrop to support his words — and not the other way around. He only uses high resolution photography, not clipart. Jobs understands that ideas are better remembered when they are presented with an image and his slides are a reflection of that knowledge.

He dresses up numbers

Jobs gives meaning to numbers by putting them into a context we can all understand. Instead of talking of Giga Bytes when he discusses storage capacity, he talks about the number of songs a device can hold. He always breaks down numbers to make them more visual.

He makes his own metaphors

Steve Jobs creates his own analogies and metaphors to put his information into a context that people understand:

  • “Using Keynote is like having a professional graphics department create your slides.”
  • “AppleTV is like a DVD for the 21st Century.”
  • “Genius Mixes is like having a professional DJ mix songs in your iTunes library that go well together.”

He reveals a holy smokes moment

Steve Jobs does this like nobody else! Like the writer of a great novel, he never reveals the entire plot on the first page. Rather, he creates moments that leaves everyone in the audience in awe. When he introduced the MacBook Air, for example, he unveiled the product by pulling it out of an envelope to demonstrate just how thin this new computer really was. It’s moments like these that everybody remembers.

Third: Jobs Refines and Rehearses

He masters stage presence

63% of the impression that you leave is based on non content related factors, like body language, gestures, and verbal delivery. Jobs uses his body and face to deliver his story:

Eye Contact
Even when Jobs is demonstrating a product, he only pays brief attention to the navigation of it, and then immediately returns to eye contact with his audience.

Open Posture
Jobs very rarely stands behind a podium. There is nothing between him and the audience to create a more intimate setting, even in large venues.

Hand Gestures
Scientists have found that complex thinkers use complex gestures. Jobs seems to know that this increases the audience’s confidence in the speaker and uses big, clearly identifiable gestures.

He practices, practices, and practices…

Steve Jobs rehearses over many hours, days, and weeks. He expects excellence from himself and those around him. He takes nothing for granted. Every slide he uses is written like a piece of poetry…and he carefully practices to deliver it as such.

After a close to one hour presentation, Carmine summed up the presentation with the following words:

“Have fun and genuinely enjoy your presentations!”

Great advice, because your own enjoyment in your presentation will come across as passion and enthusiasm. And those are the type of emotions that will lead your audience to action.

Thanks again, Carmine!

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