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Steve Jobs' 10 Secrets for Great Presentations

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  1. 1. Ten Secrets that Made Steve Jobs Presentationsthe Worlds BestAnd How You Can Use Them to Astound Your AudienceGenius. Legend. Visionary.These are but a few of thesuperlatives that have been used todescribe the late, great Steve Jobs.But beyond his business acumen, theman behind Apple®computers andPixar Animation Studios was perhapsthe greatest keynote speaker of ourtime. There are more than 57,000links to his presentations onYouTube.What made his presentations soamazing that people all over theworld want to see them? Moreimportantly, how can the rest of uslearn from Steve to inspire ouraudiences the way he did?In his excellent book, ThePresentation Secrets of Steve Jobs:How to Be Insanely Great in Front ofAny Audience, Carmine Gallo takes usbehind the scenes and offers Stevesten secrets that you can use forpresentations that will inform, engageand, yes, astound your audience."My presentation was supposed toknock your socks off. I guess I gotcarried away."Holy Smokes, Bullets Kill! (And Other PresentationTips)Before planning your presentation, according to Carmine Gallo, it is critical toknow the question that matters most to your audience: "Why should Icare?"1You need to think about how to inspire your audience. Simply trying tosell them something doesnt cut it. As Carmine writes, "Your widget doesntinspire me. Show me how your widget improves my life, and youve won meover."2Here are Steve Jobs ten secrets for insanely great presentations.31. Plan in analog. Brainstorm in advance of creating your presentation.
  2. 2. You can use pen and paper, a whiteboard or, better yet, a mind map.DO NOT use PowerPoint®to create your presentation—it will be usedonly in the final step! (More on this later.)2. Create Twitter-friendly headlines. Describe your product or servicein 140 characters or less. Preferably, a lot less. Steve introduced theMacBook Air®as simply, "The worlds thinnest notebook." About thefirst-generation iPod®, he tweeted: "Its one thousand songs in yourpocket."3. Introduce the villain. Steve saw a presentation as a three-act playthat must tell a story, but what is a story without a hero and a villain?Before he introduced the famous 1984 ad to a group of Applesalespeople, he set the stage, casting "Big Blue" as Goliath. "IBM wantsit all," he warned, and defiantly asserted that only Apple stoodin its way.His dramatic moment sent the crowd into frenzy.While the villain doesnt have to be a competitor, it must be a commonfoe that your audience will want to join with you in rallying against. Yourproduct is then revealed as the conquering hero.4. Create visual slides. As Carmine writes, "Neuroscientists are findingthat the best way to communicate information is through text andpictures, not text alone." As for bullet points, Steve never, ever, usedthem and neither should you. Carmine has a section in his book titled,"Bullets Kill" that describes why you should avoid using PowerPoint tocreate your presentation."Think about what happens when you open PowerPoint. A blank-formatslide appears that contains space for words—a title and subtitle. Thispresents a problem. There are very few words in a Steve Jobspresentation. Now think about the first thing you see in the drop-downmenu under Format: Bullets & Numbering. This leads to the secondproblem. There are no bullet points in a Steve Jobs presentation. Thesoftware itself forces you to create a template that represents the exactopposite of what you need to speak like Steve!"4
  3. 3. Take a look at the following comparison of bullet-point slides comparedto the same information, presentedvisually.5. Practice, a lot. Most people read their presentations off of theirPowerPoint slides. This is why most presentations are boring. Stevetreated every slide as piece of poetry and every presentation as atheatrical event. He wasnt a natural presenter; he worked very hard atit. Rehearse your presentation, toss the script and look at youraudience. Practice at making it look effortless.6. Obey the ten-minute rule. Its a scientific fact that the brain getstired after ten minutes. Steves presentations typically lasted an hourand a half. He would break them up into short intervals of ten minutesor less by interspersing videos, demonstrations, or guest speakers.Dont let your audience get tired or youll lose them.A great way to keep your audiences attention when presentinginformation is though sequencing, which builds the story within a visualone step at a time, making the information much easier to digest.
  4. 4. 7. Dress up your numbers. We often deal with large numbers or datathat an audience cant comprehend without context. Breaking themdown and presenting numbers visually can overcome this. Notice howmuch more effectively the chart below illustrates sales figures asopposed to a matrix ofdata.8. Reveal a holy smokes! moment. Maya Angelou said, "People willforget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people willnever forget how you made them fe el." Steve Jobs always produced amemorable moment in a pre sentation. When he introduced theMacBook Air, he told his a udience that while everyone had seen manilaenvelopes floating around the office, what they had never seen wassomeone pulling a notebook computer out of one—which is preciselywhat he did. The audience went wild and images of that moment remainemblazoned in peoples minds four years later.9. Sell dreams, not products. When it looked at the iPod, the world sawa music player. What Steve Jobs saw was a tool to enrich peoples lives.Howard Schultz of Starbucks didnt have a passion to sell coffee; hisvision was to create an experience: a third place between home andwork where people would want to gather. The dream met thecustomers need and the product sales took care of itself.10.Have fun! When was the last time you saw someone enjoying giving apresentation? Steve Jobs had fun in every keynote. He made jokes athis own expense. While most people give presentations to deliverinformation, Steve always created an experience that his audiencewould enjoy and remember. Most importantly, he sold them onbecoming a part of his dream, not his product.

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