What it is: “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs” is a book that explains how to give better presentations using the same techniques that Steve Jobs used.
On June 8, 2015, Apple broadcast their World Wide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) keynote. Normally such keynotes last 1.5 to 2 hours, but this one went close to 2.5 hours. With so many presenters, you could clearly see the differences between a presentation that was engaging and one that was clearly boring and nearly useless. The difference lay solely on the presentation techniques each person used.
It’s never about the content. It’s always about the story behind the content. What Steve Jobs did was focus on the problem first, then when he got people to agree that there was a horrible problem with existing technology, he would magically reveal Apple’s solution and show how it would make those horrible problems suddenly disappear. That’s why people used to applaud and get awed by Steve Jobs’ presentations. He turned each presentation into a show for entertainment first using story telling techniques, and information second.
When you watch Apple’s WWDC 2015 video, you can see which presenters use those techniques and which ones do not. Some presenters simply recite a boring list of facts like the woman explaining how many banks Apple Pay is now accepted in Europe. That’s simply boring. At the end of the video you can see the Beats Music executives babbling on stage. Although they could clearly point to the problems of content being scattered all over, they didn’t present it clearly in an engaging manner. Rather they simply stated it blandly with no sense of showmanship whatsoever.
To present like Steve Jobs, you have to first focus on the benefits the technology offers. Then you work backwards to find the problem and the cause of that problem.
When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone, he focused on the confusing user interfaces of existing mobile phones with keyboards that slid out or keyboards that took up space on the bottom of the phone, reducing the screen size of the phone. By highlighting the problems of current mobile phones and getting people to agree emotionally that current mobile phones were a problem, Steve jobs set the stage for revealing the iPhone.
As soon as he revealed the iPhone, he immediately launched into a demo of how its features made the iPhone far easier to use than existing mobile phones. Once people emotionally understood the problem and saw how the iPhone overcame those problems, they suddenly realized how new and exciting the iPhone was.
That type of structure was missing in many presenters’ talks during the WWDC 2015 keynote. People don’t care about facts. People care about how those facts translate into solving problems, and nobody cares about problems until you first point them out and get the audience emotionally engaged to understand them.
Before Steve Jobs revealed the iPhone, most people didn’t think current mobile phones were a problem. Only after Steve Jobs pointed out the confusing user interfaces of current mobile phones did people finally realize that there was a problem. Then he hit them with the solution of the iPhone’s virtual keyboard.
To avoid putting your audience to sleep, learn the presentation secrets of Steve Jobs, which is no secret after all. First, identify what problem your product solves. Most companies give up at this stage and just parade a laundry list of technical specifications, hoping the longer the list, the more likely it will convince people to buy the product. Instead, what such a laundry list of technical specifications usually does is confuse people and put them to sleep.
Second, once you’ve identified the problem, make sure you build up that problem to get an audience emotionally engaged in embracing that problem.
Third, identify the solution your product or service offers that fixes the problem and demonstrate how it solves the problem you’ve gotten the audience to embrace.
This three-step process makes people realize there’s a problem, hammers home the problem so they get emotionally engaged, and once they’re emotionally engaged, any solution that’s easier will seem more exciting.
The key is showing people how technology solves a problem, not just telling them. You show first and let people reach their own conclusions.
Steve Jobs’ presentation secrets are less of a secret and more just common sense story telling. Every presentation tells a story. You can get the audience emotionally involved or you can bombard them with facts that put them to sleep. Steve Jobs’ presentation secrets involve practice, rehearsal, and refining to present his point with laser-like focus. Watch old clips of Steve Jobs presenting and you’ll see that most people present information while forgetting about the audience’s interests.
In general, you have about ten seconds to grab the audience’s attention. If you can’t do that, then it’s better not to present at all than to bore your audience and have them completely ignore you.