Make Steve Jobs-like presentations

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For the uninitiated, one of the things Steve Jobs is known for is his ability to make awesome presentations. His Keynote presentations at Macworld, loving known as a Stevenote, are master classes in presentations: great content delivered in unmatched style.


Fake Steve Jobs has referred to this great article (in his trademark style) at Business Week which puts down a 10-part framework to help us common-folk to ‘wow our audiences’. While I am not going to simply reproduce the article – herewith some comments on the 10 points

  1. Set the theme: this year’s Macworld theme was ‘There’s something in the air’. It was referring to the announcement of the Macbook Air and the rumor sites had predicted this prior to the event. That set the tone for the entire presentation. Last year was about ‘re-inventing the phone’ (you must have heard of the iPhone by now?). In my business presentations, whenever I have attempted to imbue a theme it has helped. E.g. instead of a bland ‘Pitch presentation to Butterfinger Corporation’, if the theme was, say, ’10 ideas to expand the market’ it helps set the tone of the presentation.
  2. Demonstrate enthusiasm: there’s nothing more boring for an audience than a bored presenter. In advertising, since we deal with diverse categories one cannot expect the same level of enthusiasm across categories. A ‘car guy’ may not relish financial products. But hey, don’t let the audience know that.
  3. Provide an outline: tell the audience where the presentation is headed, the points that will be covered and cover them. Simple, no? It helps refresh the points already covered in long presentations.
  4. Make numbers meaningful: oh boy, how does one explain this to a certain kind of planner and every kind of Quantitative Researcher?
  5. Try for an unforgettable moment: this is a difficult one and if that ‘one moment’ is not relevant it may come a cropper.
  6. Create visual slides: 99% of the slides I have seen are full sentences written as if one is being spoken to. Result: audience reads slide and shuts out what the presenter is saying. I am amazed at how even at senior levels this is a common phenomenon.
  7. Give ’em a show: this simply means that instead of 120 Powerpoint slides try and break them into blocks, show a video clip in between, have a ‘break’ in the flow.
  8. Don’t sweat the small stuff: remember Murphy (no, not the radio)? Don’t let that get you.
  9. Sell the benefit: most agency credentials presentations suffer from this. One can easily phrase the same stuff to sound more meaningful to clients.
  10. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse: The author of the Business Week article claims that ‘I have spoken to people within Apple who tell me that Jobs rehearses the entire presentation aloud for many hours. Nothing is taken for granted. In our lives when most of the stuff is thought through the night before the big presentation, this one seems impossible. I heard this recently about the difference between an amateur and a professional. An amateur practices until he gets it right. A professional practices until he cannot go wrong. Nuff said.
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