Do you own an iPod? You may have never seen Steve Jobs present an Apple product, but it’s more than likely you’ve been seduced by his pitches. I recently had the pleasure of reading Carmine Gallo’s The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. As a regular BusinessWeek columnist, professional communications coach, and Silicon Valley resident, Gallo has followed Steve Jobs’ outstanding success for many years. Recognizing a demand for more information about his winning presentation style, he was inspired to write a book.
“You may be surprised to learn that there are over 40,000 video clips of Steve Jobs’s presentations on YouTube. People are fascinated! He’s one of the greatest corporate storytellers in the world. My book describes how to sell like he does – whether you’re pitching yourself, your company, or your product verbally or through a presentation like PowerPoint,” Gallo explained.
I have to admit, reading Presentation Secrets has already caused me to examine and change my own presentation style. I’m in the middle of preparing my speech to the USPTO in November and I’m so glad I finished the book beforehand. I love the recommendation to simplify your message to who’s listening and what you’re doing for them. Gallo offered even more insight into the strategy.
“I was a journalist for about 15 years. In journalism school, we learned what is called ‘burying the lead’. You wait to reveal the big event, the big message until you’ve led up to it. But we’ve learned that making your audience wait doesn’t work in business. And Steve Jobs was incredibly aware of this. If you examine the lines he used to introduce his products, they are so simple and direct. They appeal to the consumer’s interests immediately. And then, after they’re hooked, he goes on to describe his product.”
Gallo gave several examples. Instead of introducing the MacBook Air in January 2008 as a “really thin lightweight notebook computer with a 13.3 wide screen and backlit keyboard…” Jobs was precise:
“Today,” he said, “We’re introducing the world’s thinnest notebook.”
The first statement offers a variety of facts and information. But the second sends a very clear message of newness and superiority. People want to hear what benefits them.
“Does your product save people money? Does it make them money? Why the new 3G iPhone? Because it is twice as fast as the old phone at half the price. Boom. Why an iPod? Because it puts 1,000 songs in your pocket. If you Google any of these statements, you’ll find them over and over again in the press because they stuck, ” said Gallo.
Jobs copied this formula over and over again. In fact, he rarely deviated. And he also formatted his product’s press releases in the same way; they had the same headlines as his opening lines. I’ve realized my press releases were too boring and too long and changed them accordingly.