The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience (Business Skills and Development)

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Release Date: 
October 2, 2009
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The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs is an insanely great marketing guide.”

Accelerating communications technology capabilities, shifting marketing practices, changing buyer expectations, and the battle for placetime make presentations ever more important, significant, and critical. Why? Because most people have more to do than time to do it in, are often overwhelmed, and regularly seek to defy placetime physics by being in multiple places simultaneously or transitioning from one place to another faster than is humanly possible.

The premise of The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs is that presentations are marketing theater. Some would say that marketing itself is theater. Indeed, the author opens Scene 1 by quoting John Sculley, whose recruitment to Apple by Steve Jobs led to the latter eventually being forced to leave the company he founded, proclaiming “Marketing is really theater. It’s like staging a performance.”

Beyond exploring communications theory in action, this book makes the singular contribution of taking you inside one part of the fascinating mind of Steve Jobs. To this end, it has been said that Steve Jobs considers his keynote presentations to be a competitive weapon. This book illuminates why Jobs prevails in such competitive contexts.

The effective presentation can secure millions of dollars of funding, launch products that may generate billions of dollars of revenue, even change the world. Given the stakes, it is not surprising that phenomenal resources are invested in creating a great presentation: perhaps 90 hours of preparation by the presenter alone for a 30-slide, 60-minute presentation.

Just as a great performance involves many working behind the scenes, so, too, does a great presentation involve the work of many others who may put in a phenomenal amount of time to support the preparation of the great presentation. One message of this presentation treatise is that the primary reason a Steve Jobs presentation is so insanely great is that he works insanely hard to create, plan, and practice before the show itself.

While Steve Jobs appears to some to be very informal in his presentations, that evident informality only follows grueling practice. Apple employee Steve Evangelist, who has worked with Mr. Jobs in preparing his presentations, described them as “an incredibly complex and sophisticated blend of sales pitch, product demonstration, and corporate cheerleading, with a dash of religious revival thrown in for good measure. They represent weeks of work, precise orchestration, and intense pressure for scores of people who collectively make up the ‘man behind the curtain.’”

Consistent with this marketing as theater theme and the “rule of three,” the book’s structure consists of three acts: create the story, deliver the experience, refine and rehearse. Each “act” has separate scenes, what in most books are labeled “chapters.” Concluding each “scene” are “Director’s Notes,” which are “summaries of specific, tangible lessons you can easily apply.”

Important messages about delivering great presentations include:

1. Stories engage
2. Big message: big purpose
3. Passion
4. Single-minded pursuit of excellence
5. Careful scripting
6. Entertaining
7. High energy

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs models a great presentation itself: It is clear, engaging, entertaining, and authoritative.

Pointedly, Steve Jobs proclaims that he does not sell computers. Rather, he sells experiences. But what experience does he sell?

Ultimately, the Apple products that Steve Jobs sells facilitate place experiences. Truth told, the Apple products facilitate, enable, and enhance the experience of places. Following this line of thinking, we can say that Steve Jobs is selling great place experiences.

Steve Jobs described the original McIntosh computer as “insanely great.” Carmine Gallo subtitles his book: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. In the same spirit of these marketing showmen, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs is an insanely great marketing guide.