Would you like your presentations to do more than just pass along information? Do you want to inspire and motivate your listeners to take action? When it comes to improving your presentation skills, it helps to learn from a presenter who does it well.
One such iconic person is, of course, Apple founder Steve Jobs. Jobs became superhero among his most loyal fans, crafting and delivering presentations that turned prospects into customers and customers into evangelists.
What can we re-learn from this dynamic presenter when crafting a presentation?
Use plain English. Using clear, direct, and simple language in your presentations makes it easier to understand and remember your message. This increases the impact that message has. In his book, “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs,” author Carmine Gallo suggests, “if you need help writing crisp, clear sentences, the Plain English Campaign can help. Since 1979, this UK-based organization has been leading the fight . . . to simplify communications. To learn more, visit Plain English Campaign.
Avoid jargon. Gallo points out that jargon rarely crept into Job’s language. In fact, he kept things simple and conversational, recognizing that jargon creates a roadblock to an easy and free exchange of ideas. For example, when introducing the iPod, Steve avoided specifications, statistics, and other technical jargon. Instead, he said, “iPod. One thousand songs in your pocket.” And everyone immediately “got it”.
Create powerful images. Why is a picture worth a thousand words? Human beings process and retain information from visual cues more completely than the same information conveyed in words alone.
Think about it, which is easier to mentally process . . .
- A geometric figure with three sides and three angles OR
- A picture of triangle?
When presenting the MacBook Air, Steve once again avoided complicated technical jargon in favor of removing the notebook from an office-sized manila envelope. Point made. Your ideas are more likely to be remembered if they are presented as pictures instead of words.
No bullet points. I can hear traditional PowerPoint presenters everywhere gasping. However, did you realize that Steve Jobs, one of the most dynamic presenters of our time, never used bullet points? Ever.
According to a 2007 eBook titled Really Bad PowerPoint, author Seth Godin explained, “The minute you put bullet points on the screen, you are announcing ‘write this down, but don’t really pay attention to it now.’ People don’t take notes at the opera.” Our short term memories don’t have huge storage capacities. So keep it simple. (Are you noticing a theme here?)
By implementing these simple strategies, you can ensure that instead of forgetting what you said, your audience will be inspired and motivated to do something as a result of what you said! Using plain English, creating powerful images and ditching the bullet points will help you to touch both the minds and hearts of your listeners to truly engage them with your presentation.