The co-founder of Apple and Pixar is the ultimate front man, one of the most charismatic businessmen alive. Steve Jobs doesn’t just present, he evangelizes. And when he gets onto the stage he takes no prisoners – it is difficult to listen to Jobs and not be recruited as an Apple brand advocate.
There’s a lot that start ups or emerging entrepreneurs could learn from Jobs, and there’s no person better placed to teach them than Carmine Gallo. An Emmy award-winning journalist and former anchor for CNN, Fox, CNET, and CBS, Gallo is the author of “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience”. A man who’s been reverse engineering Jobs for years, Gallo says what sets Jobs apart is that he doesn’t just relay information, but is a consummate storyteller who entertains and inspires.
“Jobs does not sell computers; he sells an experience,” says Gallo. “The same holds true for his presentations that are meant to inform, educate, and entertain. An Apple presentation has all the elements of a great theatrical production—a great script, heroes and villains, stage props, breathtaking visuals, and one moment that makes the price of admission well worth it.”
Here are Gallo’s top tips for start ups who want to be overnight rock stars by becoming ‘insanely great in front of any audience.’
1. Watch and learn: If you want to present like Steve Jobs you need to study your subject carefully. “For three decades Jobs has elevated the product launch to an art form. He’s taken the typically dull, plodding power point presentation slide show and really transformed it into a theatrical experience,” says Gallo. All of Jobs’ presentations can be found at Apple or on Youtube. When you go through them you will find commonalities in the way Jobs presents. He’s always enthusiastic, positive, and filled with energy. You’ll notice that Jobs defines his message to one single, powerful line that’s Twitter-friendly and is repeated again and again throughout his presentation. More so, that one powerful, positive and succinct phrase is echoed throughout Apple’s marketing material and in all the company’s press material. By doing this, Apple is giving the media the headline for the story. This means Jobs is not only influencing his direct audience, but audiences around the world who’ll never even hear his keynote presentation. Other Jobs’ presentation traits include using simple visual slides and doing away with clutter, inline with the Apple brand. Apple is a master of minimalist yet functional designer Zen. The most distinctive thing you’ll notice about Jobs is the fact that he doesn’t sell products, he sells dreams. “Charismatic speakers like Steve Jobs are driven by a nearly messianic zeal to create new experiences. When he launched the iPod in 2001, Jobs said, “In our own small way we’re going to make the world a better place.” Where most people saw the iPod as a music player, Jobs recognised its potential as a tool to enrich people’s lives. “
2. Sell the vision: “Jobs has always been able to craft a vision so vivid and powerful, he rallies his listeners to the better future he sees and, in so doing, persuades them to go along for the ride,” says Gallo. “In a famous story, Jobs was attempting to lure then Pepsi-CEO John Sculley to lead Apple. Sculley was reluctant. Jobs turned to him and said, “Do you want to sell sugar water all of your life or do you want to change the world?” Jobs’s vision is to change the world, and we believe him.”
3. Villains and heroes: Every great story has a good guy and a bad guy. Introduce a villain to your story and you not only inject some drama, but you set yourself up as the underdog or the good guy without even saying as much. Says Gallo: “In 1984, the villain, according to Apple, was IBM (IBM). Before Jobs introduced the famous 1984 television ad to the Apple sales team for the first time, he told a story of how IBM was bent on dominating the computer industry. “IBM wants it all and is aiming its guns on its last obstacle to industry control: Apple.” Today, the “villain” in Apple’s narrative is played by Microsoft . One can argue that the popular “I’m a Mac” television ads are hero/villain vignettes. This idea of conquering a shared enemy is a powerful motivator and turns customers into evangelists.
4. Go for an unforgettable moment: Every Steve Jobs presentation has one particular moment that gets everyone talking. Gallo says that at the 2008 Macworld keynote that moment was the announcement of MacBook Air. “To demonstrate just how thin it is, Jobs said it would fit in an envelope. Jobs drew cheers by opening a manila interoffice envelope and holding the laptop for everyone to see,” says Gallo, adding: “What is the one memorable moment of your presentation? Identify it ahead of time and build up to it.”
5. Beat boredom: Brains get bored easily, that’s a fact that neuroscientists know. Steve Jobs knows this too and doesn’t give you half a second to lose interest. “Ten minutes into a presentation he’s often demonstrating a new product or feature and having fun doing it. When he introduced the iPhone at Macworld 2007, Jobs demonstrated how Google Maps worked on the device. He pulled up a list of Starbucks stores in the local area and said, “Let’s call one.” When someone answered, Jobs said: “I’d like to order 4,000 lattes to go, please. No, just kidding.”
6. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse: “Steve Jobs cannot pull off an intricate presentation with video clips, demonstrations, and outside speakers without hours of rehearsal,” says Gallo. “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. A Steve Jobs presentation looks effortless because of the fact that it is well-rehearsed.”