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We read for you: The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs


The Presentation Secrets of Steve JobsThe Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs” is a guide to giving great presentations. The book is written by BusinessWeek.com columnist, Carmine Gallo, who is an obvious admirer of Steve Jobs.

The book(let) describes in three big chapters the lessons learned from Steve’s presentations and focuses on three topics: the story (content), the experience and the creative process.
Each topic uses extracts from Steve’s presentations to illustrate its points.

First of all: I’m not a big Apple fan. I am a late adopter of the iPod, I got an iPad for Christmas and still want an Android device, and I am still in the denial phase of all their other products. So all presentation content was new to me. After reading the extracts it became easier for me to understand why other people were so enthusiastic about Apple products. The content even triggered me to look-up speeches of Jobs, and even commercial adds Apple used during the years.
I must admit: Jobs and his team did great work.

When reading the book, I sometimes get the feeling that I’m more learning about Apple and Steve Jobs, then about giving great presentations. When I get the same presentation extract for the third time, I start getting annoyed. When processing all Job’s presentations in a short time (I read the book in two days) his typical “Apple is amazing, Apple is great” self-sufficient talk is getting on my nerves. The fact that the author takes every possible occasion for adoring Steve Jobs is not helping at all.

To conclude, I must say I learned the most from the first part and one of the chapters in the last part, which is the only one that’s not all about Steve Jobs.

Key takeaways

Some key takeaways from the booklet are listed below. The ones in bold were the most inspiring or eye-opening to me.

  • Rethink: What am I really selling?
  • Prepare your story before your PowerPoint file.
  • Offer customer testimonials, or share the stage with them.
  • Share success stories.
  • Use your customers as promoters.
  • Use Aristotle’s persuasive arguments.
  • Remember: it’s not about you, it’s about them.
  • What’s in it for your audience? Why should they care?
  • Sell dreams, sell solutions, not products.
  • Find something you love to do so much, you can’t wait for the sun to rise to do it all over again (Steve Jobs).
  • Try to describe in ten words what you’re doing.
  • Use the power of three (parts/sections/…) in your presentations.
  • Find a shared enemy.
  • First WHY, then WHAT.
  • Use the Picture Superiority Effect.
  • People come for the presentations, not the words on your slide.
  • Give numbers meaning. Use analogies, put in context.
  • Express your excitement.
  • Avoid jargon, complexity and buzzword since they express insecurity.
  • Create a memorable moment.
  • Practice a lot.
  • Review, ask for feedback. Use yourself and others.
  • Anticipate difficult questions (the bucket method).
  • Overcome stage freight by focusing on what your service means to others instead of inward focus.
  • Don’t focus on problems during your presentation. There’s no need to pay attention to that. Keep your calm and have fun

Additional reading

Presentation Zen – A great book about giving inspiring presentations

Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs” in slides by Carmine Gallo

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