There have been many books discussed Steve Jobs’ skill being a presenter. Jobs is widely acclaimed because ‘gold standard’ of presenters. And he certainly was outstanding. But the Apple co-founder was just human, and the man made mistakes and missed opportunities the same as the rest of us. So when you make an effort to be over as the next Steve Jobs there are several stuff you should know about.
You’re not Steve Jobs. Jobs would be a celebrity. He could deliver presentations to thousands of people while dressed up in jeans, a black T-shirt, and sneakers. He only agreed to be certainly one of a small number of those who could pull that off. Mark Zuckerberg can perform it. Richard Branson are able to do it inside a dress. But even Donald Trump wears a suit when conversing to some large group. You probably should, too.
Steve Jobs always a friendly audience. Whether addressing viewers of Apple employees (friendly), a small grouping of developers and techies with a product launch (friendly), or students at their university commencement (awestruck), Steve Jobs did not have to concern yourself with hecklers or skeptics. His audiences were very receptive. You probably won’t be so lucky. Most of your audiences will be skeptical at best and hostile at worst. That’s business.
Steve Jobs made mistakes. While launching the iPhone, Jobs announced that Apple was introducing three products, in this order: a widescreen iPod with touch controls (loud applause), a new new cellular phone (wild applause), and an internet communicator (huh? – a smattering of subdued applause). Jobs should have mentioned the net communicator second – always bury the weakest item in the centre. The phone should have been last, so he could have piled up the anticipation and emotion on the max. It probably wouldn’t have made much difference because it was Steve Jobs and individuals were dying to obtain their on the job that phone, though the response would have been even stronger if he had saved the top for last.
Steve Jobs missed opportunities. One was when he introduced our planet’s thinnest notebook computer, the MacBook Air. Jobs, always the showman, took the sleek new service beyond an interoffice mail envelope and unveiled to the world it the first time. The only problem was the image projected behind him was of an interoffice envelope. That made the grand reveal somewhat anticlimactic – people watched it coming. Here’s what he might have done:
Imagine Jobs is going to introduce the MacBook Air. Suddenly, a guy in a familiar brown deliveryman’s uniform wanders onto the stage and interrupts him.
Deliveryman: “Excuse me, I’m searching for Steve Jobs….”
Jobs: Looks at audience in disbelief, as if there may be someone in the world who doesn’t recognize him. Pregnant pause. “I’m Steve Jobs.”
Deliveryman: “OK, I need one to sign the following.”
Jobs: “I’m in the middle of the important presentation, can’t this wait?”
Deliveryman: “No sir, it’s urgent – I ought to deliver this today.”
Jobs: “Sigh. OK.” [signs for your envelope]
Deliveryman: “Thank you. Have a nice day.” [exits stage left]
Jobs: [opens envelope] “Introducing the modern MacBook Air.” [super-crazy applause]
This may seem like nitpicking, whether or not to mention a particular thing second or third over a list, or whether or not the deliveryman gimmick can be superior to just buying an envelope yourself. But Steve Jobs had a much more forgiving audience than most of us can have. We have a tougher time standing up for and becoming our message across, and we all must nitpick.
Steve Jobs had a flair for your dramatic, but even he may have done better. So don’t get worried if you’re not the very best presenter. You can keep learning. You can learn a whole lot about presenting from Steve Jobs. Including this: There’s always room for improvement.