PowerPresentations - Presentation Tips & Secrets

Steve Jobs' Presentation Power

Written by Kevin Lerner on .

One person's perspective on the life of Steve Jobs.  And how his simple presentations style changed the way we communicate.

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IM - Steve Jobs diedI was walking in the neighborhood where I live in Delray Beach Florida this past Wednesday around 8:30pm Wednesday Night when I got a text message from my partner Rudy. "Steve Jobs passed away."

Wow. I stopped my walk and paused and as I looked at the message on my iPhone I realized that I was reading of the death of the very inventor of my phone and a revolutionary in communications.

Steve had an Simplicity and Elegance.

From his products to his presentations, he worked hard to make everything...easy.

Steve Jobs giving a presentation on stage

From the first Apple computer to the MacIntosh...to the iPod, iPhone, IPad, and the first computer animated movie, Jobs revolutionized technology. Making it personal and personable.

He presented to the common person like a common person. But Steve Jobs' impact on the world extended well-beyond his role as an inventor...but as a communicator. A world class presenter. But first, let me share a bit about my history with Steve Jobs and how his Apple inventions have impacted our world!


I was introduced to Apple computers in 1983.

Kevin Lerner in Middle School9th grade - 13 years old, I worked with an elite group of young geeky middle school kids in Mr. Zatrock's computer class. Some of us were Apple fans. The more serious kids and programmers hailed the IBM PC as the computer of the future. Like most geeky teens, I decorated my room with geeky guy stuff...including my Apple ][e. I loved connecting with my computer friends online through my 1200 baud modem on Compuserve.

The Apple Mac: Too Simple!

First Apple Macintosh - Too Simple!In 1984 the Apple Macintosh burst onto the stage. Most praised it as a computer for the common person. Simple and easy. But to me, and many of my computer friends, we felt it was too basic. Like a toy.

Straying from Apple to seek power with Windows

Kevin Lerner working with Windows instead of MacAnd so I strayed from Apple. And found my niche with Windows. Even to this day, I still feel more comfortable, and in control, with the Operating System pioneered by Bill Gates. With the features of Windows, I felt like a power user, able to get under the hood and tinker wtih the computer to create anything.

But one of the prime reasons I worked in Windows was a presentation program called PowerPoint. We could easily create great looking visuals and then "print" them to 35mm slides. Plus, everyone else in the business world in the mid-90s created their presentations with PowerPoint in Windows! And the vast majority of computers sold today run on the Windows Operating System.

The Mac: A Clever Curiosity

Kevin and Neil at Apple StoreTo me, the Mac was a clever curiosity. But many of my friends were die-hard fans....including Neil. In 2005 we visiteda a Mac Store to get my PC to transfer files to his Mac. But despite my cynicism, the Mac was gaining prominence and presence in creative circles.

2005: Keynote makes presenting on a Mac powerful

Apple Keynote Presentation with Steve JobsBut it wasn't until 2005 when Apple rolled out Keynote that people started to take notice of Apple as a Powerful Presentation Product. The graphics were clean and simple, providing an poetic backdrop for Steve Jobs as he gracefully presented Apple's earnings. And people took notice.

Including Al Gore. The Former Vice President called on my friend and colleague Nancy Duarte to develop his visuals for his presentations on Global Warming. The talk became a movie and Apple's prominence in the presentation market was solidified.

Presenting from the Palms of our Hands

Presenting from an iPhoneAnd when the iPhone was released, everyone had the power to create and deliver presentations from the palm of our hands. The iphone even serves as a remote control when playing a Keynote presentation.

Now I'm not the only person to call Steve Jobs a brilliant communicator. My colleague Carmine Gallo wrote a best-selling book in which he shared the presentation secrets of Steve Jobs. He says it's vital that before starting to design a presentation, you should think it through, sketch it out, and brainstorm the ideas. Avoiding bullet points is also a critical component. And...practice, practice, practice. Mr. Jobs, Gallo says, would rehearse and practice for hours before any major speech.


Insights based on Steve Jobs' presentations

Here are a few other ideas that I've seen over the years- not just with Steve Jobs- but with any great presenter.

Clean Simple Sentences.

You are the speaker, the center of attention. Not your words. The words are there to reinforce your messages...not as a script.

Look Common.

Steve Jobs was legendary for his common appearance...and his common speak. He dressed in a simple black turtleneck sweater, and wore every-day bluejeans. I'm not saying that professional attire is no longer in-vogue. I'm encouraging you to connect with your audience and reflect your inner persona or corporate brand.

Show it. (Rather than say it)

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Stock art, video, and custom illustrations are easier than ever to find...and terrific tools to support a speech. Or call on a presentation professional. We make our money designing great graphics that support potent points.

Dream and Believe.

Your concepts and messages exist in the ethos of your mind. Presentation tools make it easier than ever to transform vision into reality. Steve Jobs knew the power of presentations...and great communications. He dared to dream and forge a fantastic future. We all have this within us. His technology and presentation skills are a gift that will live on...and allow millions of others- including you and me- to dream and believe...and reach the stars.

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Kevin Lerner is a presentation consultant and expert on presentation design and delivery. His firm, The Presentation Team, has helped hundreds of companies and individuals to create world-class presentations.
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