In a recent New York Times article Shira Ovide wrote that We Don’t Need Tech Infomercials. The article was mostly inspired by an invitation to an Apple Event.
The author expressed her opinion that “it’s time to end the elaborate staged events that are essentially infomercials for new technology products.” It seems she isn’t a huge fan of Apple Events.
Sure, the goal of these events is to get people excited about upcoming products. They are commercial in nature. But as long as the presentations are informative and entertaining, I see nothing wrong here — especially because these events can also be great learning opportunities for presenters.
Case in point: last week’s Apple Event.
Apple demonstrated how to take their winning format of live stage presentations and turn it into an online event that kept people glued to their screens. They successfully transitioned from using physical space with slides as backdrops to using your screen as a canvas to convey information.
While the delivery format has changed, Apple presenters still use the same proven principles to keep the audience engaged. They:
Build Anticipation and Instill Curiosity
Apple starts building anticipation even before the event begins. The announcements are typically vague, yet intriguing. They instill curiosity and thus increase the desire to attend the event.
And during the event, presenters use language that further increases curiosity and keeps the attention of viewers high.
A few examples from last week’s event:
- And we are not done yet.
- But there’s even more that it can do.
- Oh, wait, I forgot!
- Get ready for this.
- And there’s more.
- Check this out.
With statements like these, interspersed strategically, listeners can’t help but stay alert and attentive to find out what comes next.
Transfer Enthusiasm with Adjectives
Steve Jobs was a master of using appropriate adjectives to express his excitement about Apple products and services. And it has become part of Apple’s culture.
Tim Cook demonstrated this perfectly when he announced a new color choice for the iPhone 12. While it is just another color, the way Tim announced it made it sound as revolutionary as the iPhone itself.
This is how he let the audience know that the iPhone 12 now comes with an additional color:
“And we have another beautiful color, perfect for spring.
We’re so excited to introduce a new, gorgeous purple.
It looks stunning with the precision-milled back glass and new design.
It has elements of sophistication and brightness with the color-matched aluminum edges.
It’s absolutely beautiful.”
You might think that this is overdoing it a bit when you read it. But when you listen to Tim Cook delivering these words with skill, it becomes clear that even just another color becomes more with the help of adjectives. It becomes an object of affection.
Respect the Attention Span of the Audience
Apple has always structured their presentations to keep them engaging. And they change presenters often to add variety. Last week’s event was no exception.
In just one hour, Apple made a total of eight announcements in bite-sized chunks.
The shortest segment was about Apple’s environmental initiatives, which took Tim Cook just over one minute. The segment for the purple iPhone was just 1:16 minutes, and that included a video.
The longest two segments were the announcements of the new iMac and the new iPad, both at around 20 minutes. And those were delivered by several presenters, each in a different setting. Each scene was only two, three minutes before Apple changed things up to reset viewer’s attention span.
It is also worth noting how well trained all of Apple’s presenters are. They appear casual and relaxed while keeping things conversational, something anybody can achieve with a bit of coaching.
There is so much presenters can learn from these events, I hope they will be around for a long time to come. Given how much success Apple has with this approach, I have a hunch they will.