Last year the world lost a great inventor, entrepreneur and public speaker.
For all of Steve Job’s gifts to the world through the technology he bought to life, we can also learn a lot through the way he presented on behalf of Apple and Pixar, giving us small business owners a nice structure for our presentations.
I’ve distilled this down to 3 key areas that I think we can use in our businesses to give better presentations.
The three techniques I’m going to show you are summed up as: navigation through the speech, enthusiasm in delivery and selling the benefits.
A speech or presentation is a journey for the audience that the presenter takes them through. Steve Jobs was a master at doing this using a number of simple but very effective techniques.
Just as he explained that Apple as a company was at the intersection of design and technology, he would set out the signposts for the talk – just like I did in the introduction explaining that I was going to talk about three things.
Then there needs to be a theme for your presentation and that needs repeating as if it’s a mantra throughout your speech. For example more recently, Apple has focused on the fact that their products “just work”. It’s an incredibly simple and effective message.
Use of a text heavy Powerpoint presentation was, according to the Walter Issaccson biography of Steve Job’s, a sure fire way to wind up him up. Aside from the fact that Powerpoint was a Microsoft product, he thought that using text-heavy slides showed that you didn’t know or care about your subject matter enough. Instead use visual slides with big images and impressive simple statistics. For example, break down large numbers in to easier to contemplate figures such as “20 million iPhone sold to date” becomes “that’s 20,000 iPhones activated a day”.
Tying these things together can only be done by the next part…
If there is something that Steve Jobs was passionate about, it was Apple and it’s ability to make great products. This enthusiasm came across in to his speeches which made not only the content of the speech more memorable, but also the experience of witnessing him speak more memorizing.
Big Emotive Words
Even at the original launch of the Mac back in the 80s, Steve was using highly emotive and powerful words. The Mac announced itself as “Insanely Great”, and Apple launches since then have always included bold and definite statements about how these products would “change the world”, and are “extraordinary” , “awesome” and “amazing”. He certainly wowed his audience to keep them engaged in what he was saying.
Love Of The Products
These words may sound a bit arrogant to some, but if you are going to build the best things you have to truly believe in what you are doing and be able to communicate them across. This belief also fueled a deep desire inside him to communicate what these products were, how they worked and why they were important. Practicing his speeches relentlessly to make the message as clear as possible made it seem effortless on stage.
There’s a lot of talk in some circles of life about finding your passion. Outside of your speech if you are working every day on something that you believe in, then putting that enthusiasm and power across in your presentation should be completely natural and easy to accomplish.
Having all this enthusiasm made getting people to buy the products easier and the best way to do this is to…
Sell The Benefits
While there are legions of early adopters that will buy anything that Apple puts out there, these are premium products that command a premium price tag. To that end, people have to really see the benefits on a personal level to owning the products. What better way to help them see than to show them?
Solutions To Real Problems
Although Steve Jobs didn’t believe in focus groups as he didn’t believe that customers knew what they wanted yet, he would still have to catalyze the desire to own an Apple product in the general public. What better way to do this than convince them that they don’t just want this product, but they need it. For example, when the iPod was introduced it was necessary to highlight the problem with the way that people listened to portable music at the time. MP3 players didn’t hold many songs, were difficult to use and constantly needed updating. The iPod solved that problem by simplifying the process and by coming up with the one line vision that changed everything.
One Line Vision
“A thousand songs in your pocket”. This single, simple sentence changed the music industry forever. Those 6 words tell you the size and capacity of the device, and the simplicity of it is implied by the simplicity of the statement. Seek to sum up your product, service and vision in a single simple line.
Paint A Picture, Tell a Story
People need to relate to how the product will benefit them. Through the use of live product demonstrations and stories of how these products could benefit you in everyday life, Steve Jobs made it very easy for you to fall in love with the idea of becoming an Apple customer.
By selling the benefits of the products to people, Steve Jobs was able to grow Apple in to one of the largest companies in the world.
One more thing…
Steve Jobs coined this term to the point that it became a massive climax waiting to happen for the audience. What could possibly be coming next? The skill to building up to this point takes all of the above and much more. The combination of innovation, Entpreneurship and exceptional marketing skills mean that Apple keynotes speeches sell out. How many adverts sell out? How many products or companies would you queue to go and see a sales pitch from?
Steve Job’s left quite a legacy, but aside from the beautiful products you can use to run your business more effectively, perhaps you can use these presentation techniques to blow away your competition for your next speech.