We all have attended presentations. I’m sure you will agree most were terrible – boring, redundant, and/or visually offensive. I am guilty of giving a few myself. You too? To improve my knowledge base and skills, I started studying the product launches of Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, Inc. I then began listening and reading Carmine Gallo, columnist with Businessweek.com. Gallo teaches presentation skills to top executives. He is also a self-proclaimed expert on the techniques and genius of Steve Jobs. I read his book “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs” and looked over press releases of Apple. I must admit, I learned the most from watching Steve on YouTube. What I came to understand caused me to throw out almost every guideline, format, and template I was ever given or used.

Here are my takeaways:

Say it in the headline: How many more words do you need after “Introducing the IPod — 1,000 songs in your pocket”?

Start with their problem: “Current Smartphones aren’t very smart, nor are they easy to use.”

Create an experience: Get’em awed, inspired, make them say “tell me more!”

Introduce an antagonist, a victim, and a hero: “Look at where the other guys think you want your keyboard; we know differently.”

More visuals, less words: “So slim it fits into an inter-office envelope,” Jobs says, and then shows a visual with only the tablet slipping into an envelope — no text.

Group in three’s: 3 acts, 3 features. “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” wrote another genius wordsmith named Jefferson.

Answer their #1 question: “Why should I care?” My thoughts exactly whenever the salesperson starts throwing gigas, speeds, and pixels my way.

Tell the story before the visual: Need I say more?

Have props not just slides: Maybe you’re one of the props. Black turtleneck and jeans anyone?

No bullet points: Unnecessary mind clutter.

Ten minute segments: Brain’s attention span.

Repeat the most important point: “That’s right, 1,000 songs in your pocket.”

Sell the dream, not the product: “Reinvent the phone!”

Simplify everything: Your language, the visuals, the product.

Clear, actionable, exciting? I would say, “yes.”

Deliver Your Best Presentation

Take any less than effective presentation, PowerPoint deck, or email you’ve written, and apply the Jobs standards. It will be more compelling, memorable and easier to write, guaranteed (another Jobs must, “give them a guarantee”).

You will get pushback from others and yourself. Resist at all costs. You’ll have to figure out what to do with your found time. I’m sure you can handle that.

Most important, you’ll be heard and invited back because you will have given your best presentation.

(c) Jane Cranston.

Author's Bio: 

Jane Cranston is an executive career coach. She works with success-driven executives, managers and leaders to reach their potential, better manage their boss and staff, as well as develop a career strategy to reach goals and aspirations. Jane is the author of Great Job in Tough Times a step-by-step job search system. Click here to subscribe to her twice monthly Competitive Edge Report.