Posts Tagged ‘Steve Jobs’

IM - Steve Jobs died

Steve Jobs’ Presentation Power

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.

Watch this as a YouTube video presentation

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.

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs

Create a Presentation the Steve Jobs Way

“It’s not about the software; it’s about the story”

As a communication and presentation skills coach, I often get asked, “How do I make my slides look like a Steve Jobs presentation?” The first thing I tell them is that they do not have to use Apple presentation software (Keynote), although it’s a beautifully refined program. I’ve seen gorgeous PowerPoint designs as well, especially with PowerPoint 2007. So it’s not about the software; it’s about the story. Steve Jobs treats presentations like theatrical events complete with heroes and villains, a supporting cast, stage props and visually stunning backdrops—slides. I know designers who have actually worked with Steve Jobs at Apple, so I wrote an entire book on how to create and deliver a presentation the Steve Jobs way. While there are about eighteen techniques that Jobs uses, one stands out. I call it “unleashing your inner Zen.” Here are some tips on creating a presentation the Steve Jobs way.

Picture Superiority

A Steve Jobs presentation is strikingly simple, visual and devoid of bullet points. That’s right—no bullet points. Ever. Of course, this raises the question, would a PowerPoint presentation without bullet points still be a PowerPoint presentation? The answer is yes, and a much more interesting one. New research into cognitive functioning—how the brain works—shows that bullet points are the least effective way to deliver important information. In fact, memory processing is aided by pictures. Scientists call it picture superiority: ideas are more easily recalled when presented as text and images instead of text alone.

Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication

When Steve Jobs introduced the MacBook Air in January, 2008, the most memorable slide showed the notebook computer being pulled from a manila inter-office envelope to show just how thin it really was. No words could equal the power and simplicity of that image. The average PowerPoint has forty words. It’s hard to find forty words in ten slides of a Steve Jobs presentation. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” said Jobs quoting from one of his heroes, Leonardo da Vinci. Jobs keeps his slides simple by eliminating unnecessary words, charts and other eye clutter. The influential German painter, Hans Hoffman once said, “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” By removing clutter—extraneous features and information—from his products and presentations, Jobs achieves the ultimate goal: ease of use and clarity.

To gain a fuller appreciation of Jobs’ simple slide creations, watch the first few minutes of his  keynote presentation at the Macworld Expo, January, 2008. The first several slides have one or two words per slide. When Jobs reviews the new products that Apple introduced in the previous year, the slide simply reads: 2007. Jobs thanks his customers for their support and the slide reads: Thank you.

Confidence, Time and Practice

Creating simple, visual slides requires three things: confidence, time and practice. First, confidence. Slides should not take center stage. The audience’s attention should be directed at you, the speaker. The slides compliment the speaker. That means you had better know your material and have the confidence to deliver your message with conviction. The second thing it requires is time. It’s easy to create cluttered slides—just write everything you want to say on the slide. Thinking visually about displaying information takes more effort, but it’s worth the time to stand apart. And the third thing it requires is practice. Because you’re delivering information that is not on the slide, you can’t read from the slide. You have to commit the information to memory and use the slide as a prompt to deliver the idea. Steve Jobs rehearses for many, many hours over many weeks to get everything just right.

Steve Jobs may be a hard act to follow, but once you start using some of his techniques in your own presentations, you’ll be hard to forget.

Carmine GalloCarmine Gallo is a communications coach for the world’s most admired brands.

The Presentation Secrets of Steve JobsHe is a sought after speaker and author of the new book, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience.

Help Me Present!


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  • “We engaged The Presentation Team to do a Presentation training for our team and he did a great job. He spent time understanding our requirements and the skill level of our team members and created a course which met our expectations and goals. I highly recommend The Presentation Team as a Presentation (PowerPoint) trainer.”

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    Senior Director, Software AG

  • “Kevin Lerner provided best-in-class services when hired to work on promotional materials for the launch of a key product at Motorola. The expertise and quality that he brought to the project were second to none and as a result, he delivered a top-notch presentation that was quickly adopted throughout the organization. Kevin is great to work with, delivers on time, is a great team player and is always willing to go the extra mile.”

    Maria Cardoso

  • “Kevin has been a working with Cox Communications to deliver world-class PowerPoint presentation visuals since 2009. His ability to meet our specific needs, timeframe, and budgets has been exceptional. His professional interaction with our team reflects his deep expertise in the industry, superior presentation design skills, and commitment to superior service.”

    Jonathan Freeland
    VP, Video Marketing at Cox Communications

  • “Kevin is an enthusiastic, creative, and passionate presentation guru. Our company was impressed and felt the value of his training in 2013 that he was invited again recently to again share his knowledge. Both times he has been energetic and addressed many areas for presentation development. From planning to follow-up Kevin is personable and easygoing, motivating our teams to take their presentations to the next level.”

    Yoshimi Kawashima
    Project Coordinator, Nissin International

  • “Kevin helped me immensely improve my presentation slides development, from tips & tricks to aesthetics, all with the intent of getting the message across crisply and creatively. I’ve already received praise for decks that incorporate the skills obtained from his training. I highly recommend Kevin’s services.”

    Era Prakash
    General Electric

  • “Kevin helped me immensely improve my presentation slides development, from “The PowerPresentations seminar opened my eyes to all the limitless possibilities in presenting.”

    Leah Gordillo
    Saint Francis Medical Center

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    Paul Price
    Watsco Corp.

  • “I had more people come up to me after I spoke, commenting on the visuals you created, than I did on the subject matter!”

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    Smith & Robb Advertising

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    Republic Services

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    James Pirtle Construction

  • “Kevin brought a high level of creativity, enthusiasm, and deep multmedia experience to our team. He worked dillegently with the team to produce an outstanding proposal which we subsequently won.

    Jeff Keller

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