Steve Jobs is apparently the most remarkable corporate storyteller ever. His pitches led to burst of dopamine flooding the listeners` brains with pleasure and excited to tears. While it`s quite impossible to become the second Steve Jobs, you can still study and employ his methods to prepare the most impressive presentations and inspire people with your ideas.
Deliver with passion
Everything in Steve Job`s delivery – from his style to body language – delivered a simple message: “I`m really passionate about what I`m saying, and I really love my product”. He radiated enthusiasm, his energy and passion had a hypnotic effect on listeners.
Follow Jobs`s example, express your emotions presenting on the stage and try to transfuse your enthusiasm into the audience. Do use emotional adjectives to convince your listeners that your product will make their life better. Remember, if you are not passionate about your idea, no one else will be.
Use Twitter-Friendly Headlines
Jobs used to create one-sentence headlines that ideally captured the main message he wanted to deliver. Later on, when the Twitter was invented, these headlines were described as «twitter-friendly», because they can perfectly fit in a Twitter post of 140 characters. Some examples of such kind of headlines include: “A music player that puts 1,000 songs in your pocket” (introducing the first iPod in 2001); “Apple reinvents the phone” (introducing iPhone in January 2007); “The world`s thinnest notebook” (introducing MacBook Air in January, 2008).
With this in mind try to refine your product description till it fits in a Twitter post. This will help you to structure your pitch – stories, key messages and examples you will use in it should support and fortify the headline.
Follow the Rule of Three
Steve Jobs seems to be a faithful follower of the Rule of Three, ancient Greek rhetorical technique using three words to express one idea. It`s no accident that famous writers, politicians and speakers used this technique. Number “3” has a magic power in communication. A list of 3 things is more captivating than 2 or 4 and much easier to remember than 9 or 14. The accuracy of this statement is proved by a number of examples, such as «Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness», «Blood, sweat and tears», etc.
Steve Jobs applied the Rule of Three in nearly every speech, presentation and product launch. Let us once more recall his legendary commencement speech: «Today I want to tell you three stories from my life – about connecting the dots, about love and loss, and about death».
His memorable iPhone presentation was also divided into three sections. “Today we are introducing three revolutionary products. The first, a widescreen iPod with touch controls. The second, is a revolutionary mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough Internet communications device.” As the audience applauded, Jobs repeated the three ‘products’ several times. Finally he said, “Are you getting it? These are not three separate devices, they are one device and we are calling it iPhone!”
You also can leverage the «rule of three». Just narrow your message down to its core and build your pitch around the three essential ways you product solves the problems the customers face.
Introduce an Antagonist and a Hero
Our brains are programmed much more to grasp stories than abstract ideas. Moreover, stories with a little drama are retained in our memory far longer than any slide stuffed with analytics. There can be no plot of a serious drama without an antagonist. Jobs understood this pretty well, and his presentations always had a hero and a villain.
In 1984 in the role of villain was “Big Blue” (nickname for IBM). In the face of amazed audience Jobs created a breathtaking narrative with Big Blue as a metaphor for Orwellian Big Brother and a conquering hero – Macintosh. Jobs presentation was a classic David and Goliath battle with nothing less than the future of mankind at stake. The audience was going mad, yelling and cheering.
At the heart of Steve Jobs communication technique is the following scheme: pointing out problem (villain)-revealing solution (hero) – selling benefit behind solution. Take this scheme as a basis, create your emotional, story-driven and metaphor-rich presentation around it, and success won`t keep you waiting.
Strive for Simplicity
Steve Jobs knew the value of simplicity in design, and his presentations were always strikingly simple and devoid of bullets and lists. Visual content was always dominant. Do you remember a photo of a hand pulling the notebook computer out of an interoffice manila envelope? Probably, the success of the MacBook Air wouldn`t be so astonishing if words were used instead of this image.
When working on your pitch, strive for the same simplicity and avoid cluttering your slides with too many words. The purpose of the pitch deck is not to help the audience understand your company, but to support your speech. The most important «element» in your presentation is you, and everyone`s eyes should be focused on you.
One more tip to finish with – rehearse and rehearse your presentation over and over again until you`ve nailed it. Jobs made his presentations look impeccable, but that polish is a result of hours and hours of tireless practice. Perfect each slide of your presentation, sharpen every word and work out different scenarios not to let any obstacle to take over you when delivering your pitch.
There are still many things we can learn from business presentation guru and genius marketer Steve Jobs. His legacy is inexhaustible, and yet will serve generations to come.