Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, is best remembered for giving us revolutionary products like the iPhone. He left behind a legacy that changed the computer, music, film, and wireless industries. One of the keys to Jobs’s phenomenal success lies in his storytelling. The way he presented Apple products was remarkable. But how to deliver a presentation like Steve Jobs?
Here are the main steps to master your presentation:
- Show Your Passion While You Deliver a Presentation
- Use Visual Media
- Give Meaning to Numbers
- Create a Story
- Attract the Attention Towards Yourself, Not the Presentation
- Try to Strike an Immediate Connection With the Audience
- Know the One Critical Point You Want to Drive Home
- The Essential Use of Humor
- Know Your Time Limit
Undoubtedly, he had great ideas that became a large part of our lives, but his point of view alone wasn’t why he became a success.
Everybody has ideas. You, me, and the guy sitting next to you on the train have them. We all think of how things should be or how to fix problems, but not many acts upon them.
Those who decide to work and make something out of their ideas don’t always hit the jackpot. It’s not because they were terrible, but because they couldn’t communicate well.
Steve Jobs was a genius in public speaking. He didn’t have a complicated model for his speeches but followed some basic rules every time. He showed his passion. His unique style sparked a cult-like following for Apple products and inspired many speakers and executives to follow his style.
1) Show Your Passion While You Deliver a Presentation
Passion is the drive that pushes you. The best part about passion is that it’s contagious. If you show people why you’re passionate about your idea, they, too, will feel it and want to be a part of it.
In a company, the passion starts from the ground up. It begins with the founder, spreading through the employees and, eventually, the customers. A company that understands and feels its leader’s passion is a successful one.
It can be challenging to keep your audience attentive while you deliver a presentation. People have a meager attention span, especially in situations that don’t interest them.
That’s why you must start by telling them why this project matters. Use data and statistics while you deliver a presentation to prove your point and develop that sense of urgency.
Apple was in danger of going bankrupt when Steve Jobs returned after an absence of 12 years. He held a meeting that brought Apple back to life.
Dressed in his famous black turtleneck and shorts, Jobs spoke to his company about the passion behind the company and himself. He said, “People with passion can change the world for the better.”
Remember, passion isn’t just restricted to a product or service but can also be to a set of values.
2) Use Visual Media
People respond better to images and videos than verbal communication. So when you deliver a presentation, make sure it has appropriate visuals.
A study by Social Science Research Network found that by adding an image to a presentation, retention is boosted by 65%. But passing on the information only by mouth left individuals remembering only 10% of it.
But that doesn’t mean you should plaster slides with images and no blank space.
Steve Jobs kept it simple. He would use one or two images and minimal text. When Jobs introduced the iPad, his first slide had the word ‘iPad’ between the picture of the I-phone and the Macbook. It was followed by a slide holding only an image of the iPad and no text.
Because of his simplicity and uncluttered slides, it was easier for people to understand what he was talking about and stay focused. Large images took most of his screen space, leaving only a line or so for text and plenty of blank space.
3) Give Meaning to Numbers
Numbers need to be put into perspective if you want your audience to understand their depth of it. But how to deliver a presentation using numbers without annoying them?
Steve Jobs introduced the storage size of a 5 GB iPod as “this device has 1000 songs which fit into your pocket.” By putting numbers into words, people can better grasp what it means.
Another great technique was using clean chart images to make the message clear to the audience.
4) Create a Story
Steve Jobs enjoyed portraying his company as a hero.
When IBM decided to follow Apple into personal computers, Jobs painted his rival as the antagonist in his talks. He crafted a narrative in which Apple was the only safe space left for creative geniuses after being attacked by the evil IBM.
He delivered speeches that informed, educated, and entertained.
Inform your customers of the benefits of your product when you deliver a presentation on your products. They need to know what’s in it for them if they use their product, giving them a straight answer. Let them know what they gain from using your product and what problems it will fix or avoid.
Following this great advice, you will increase your chances to surprise and be more confident in delivering a presentation as good as those done by Jobs.
5) Attract Attention Towards Yourself, Not the Presentation
There is little doubt about the importance of your slides. But the key to delivering a memorable presentation like Steve Jobs's lies in understanding the importance of the speaker, i.e., you.
So, avoid pointing towards the display while you deliver a presentation very often. If you are to give a robust and impactful performance, make sure the audience remembers what you say more than the slides show.
Little tricks can get the audience’s attention off the slides. Inserting blank slides in the presentation would force your listeners’ attention back on you.
You need to be at your best during these blank sides. Not all the listeners would like the sudden blank slide. Make sure they consider listening to you standing before an empty fall worth their while.
6) Try to Strike an Immediate Connection With the Audience
That’s how Steve Jobs started most of his presentations. He was a master at establishing an immediate, personal bond with different audiences.
There can be many ways of doing it, like starting on a lighter note or beginning with a short tale that revolves around your presentation's primary purpose.
Make the audience feel you’re genuinely providing them with a solution even when you’re there to sell the idea.
First, it makes the audience listen to you with much more interest and attention. It builds a sense of empathy that any other short-cut technique cannot create.
If you want your audience to be more receptive to what you’re saying, this personal connection needs to be earned at the earliest.
7) Know the One Critical Point You Want to Drive Home
A presentation might have many points, reasoning, data, and narratives blended into it, but there’s one critical point. This is the point you want to drive home eventually. The first step would be to know what that point is.
Do your preparation and know for yourself what you want to put out there and convince the audience about it.
Everything about the presentation, from the statistics and numbers to the arguments you layout, should strengthen your claim in driving that critical point home.
If you stray out of the line, even for a few minutes, it will take the audience’s attention from that point, and you will have to build your case right from scratch.
Steve Jobs was a master at this, and you can also be great at it, given that you prepare well for the presentation and stick to the objective throughout.
8) The Essential Use of Humor
Many would downplay the importance of humor in presentations, but it can be a convenient tool for connecting with your audience. Firstly, the appropriate use of fun correctly would set the listeners at ease and prevent your presentation from turning into a boring monologue.
No matter how articulate you are with your points and how precise you are with your numbers. You won’t be able to drive the point home if your presentation isn’t entertaining in bits and pieces.
Secondly, it will calm your nerves and make you feel a more intimate, casual connection with your audience.
This goes a long way, especially in presentations that last very long. Sometimes all you need to give your presentation is a pinch of humor to stay in the listeners' memory for a longer time.
9) Know Your Time Limit
This may sound obvious, but it does deserve mention.
You have to know beforehand the amount of time you’ve been given for a presentation. Once you know your time limit, you can then plan your presentation. Make sure you put in the essential points, and you don’t have to rush toward the end.
Know whether it is a half-an-hour pitching or a lengthy presentation before you go on the stage. This will help you kill off the anxiety, and you won’t have to look over your shoulder for the buzzer always.
You can go through the presentation smoothly if you’ve planned it according to the time limit. Moreover, you will have the opportunity to conclude your presentation correctly, which is essential in rounding off the one critical point you’ve put out there.
There is no big secret to doing excellent presentations. Know your stuff, be concise on the theme, use examples and numbers that captivate attention, and feel comfortable with the topic.
You certainly know that images capture more attention than text. You would catch attention with videos and good storytelling rather than a black-and-white PowerPoint textual presentation.
Show the passion you have for the subject. Even if you’re not entirely in love with it, you know more than others, so try to feel the energy about teaching others.
You probably know more about it than the vast majority, if not all the audience. So feel free to speak about your knowledge. And don’t feel shy about one or other mistakes, it can happen, and you will probably be better if you stay calm and keep the show going.
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