Sadly, I don’t own a single Apple product. (I’m still saving my freelance writing pennies to buy my first laptop. I know!) But I’d have to be living under a rock to not know about Steve Job’s presentations, especially his much-lauded product intros and Macworld Expo triumphs.
Carmine Gallo, a communication-skills coach and columnist for Businessweek.com has written, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. It’s a clear, concise book for folks who want to do more than keep audiences awake during their presentations. And even if you aren’t announcing the App store’s 1-billionth download, you can make your content engaging.
The book is divided into three sections: “Act 1 Create the Story, “Act 2 Deliver the Experience” and “Act 3 Refine and Rehearse” with “scenes” describing specific areas to incorporate into your speech. Act 1, scene 2 suggests you should “answer the one question that matters most” to your audience and that question is “Why should I care?” Make them care about your topic. Gallo gives the example of Jobs selling the benefit of the iPhone 3G in June of 2008, “…we’re launching the new iPhone 3G. It’s twice as fast at half the price.” Wouldn’t you want to hear more?
The book has many quick, helpful sound bites like “Obey the Ten-Minute Rule” that states “your audience checks out after ten minutes.” So obviously, you have to hook them during this critical time frame. Even though Gallo is not a fan of the bullet point (enough already with Power Point!), here a few more key points:
· Avoid “jargon creep” by using plain English. I find it interesting that the CEO of a techno-universe doesn’t feel he has to tech- or biz- speak.
· “Master stage presence” and “toss the script” by rehearsing and refining your presentations.
· “Wear the appropriate costume.” Gallo explains, “Steve Jobs is the anti-Cher. In her Vegas concert, Cher and her dancers had 140 costume changes; Jobs has one costume for every performance…Jobs always wears a black mock turtleneck, faded jeans and white sneakers.” But please don’t try to emulate that look. Only one guy can get away with it. But wear a look appropriate to your audience, setting and style.
Just a couple issues I had with the book, though – as a graphic artist, I was disappointed that the author didn’t use better graphics and/or photos to break up the text. And I have to admit that the obvious Jobs-worship got a bit old after while. But overall, I found useful information.
This is a guest post by Nancy LaFever. You can read more from her at the Centre for Emotional Wellbeing blog.