Many folks rave over Steve Jobs’ (CEO, Apple) presentations. Garr Reynolds blogged on it, sharing Guy Kawasaki’s thoughts. Bert Decker rated him the #1 communicator for 2005.So I went to take a look for myself.His delivery mechanics are far from polished. He uses lots of non-words (um, ah), stares at the ground quite a bit, fiddles with the remote in his hand, and his transitions are frequently of the type, “That’s all we have on iPod.” or “Now I’m going to tell you about iWeb.” Hardly compelling. But I agree that I’d rather watch his product announcements than sit through some dreadful keynote on the importance of object-oriented threads on the throughput of non-linear stochastic matrix processing in 3rd order sparse grid transforms using Nyquist diagrams. So what is it about Steve Jobs?First, I note that he has the audience’s energy. Six thousand attendees certainly helps, but he gets them on board and excited from the get-go. I note the applause wanes (nobody likes to give 30 ovations in an hour), but there are clearly folks in the audience that are excited about what he has to say (I wonder if Apple plants applause goons like the TV sitcoms?). And his presentation has a lot to do with that.Second, he has something to say that is exciting. If he was announcing that they had opened their 3rd Apple store, ho-hum-drum-boring. But it’s 135, and they had $5.7B in revenue for 4Q2006. He puts things in perspective — 14 songs a minute (or something like that) for the entire quarter. That seems huge, impressive, eye-popping — and it is. And everything he talked about seemed to be “and this is available starting today.” Most of us don’t have that luxury when presenting material. But you can make sure your content is of interest to the audience!And, of course, it’s polished. His demos work. All his momentum would be quelled by one simple error popup dialog. But it doesn’t. (Mike Evangelist tells us why). The practice shows (and it’ll show for you, too).One other thing. Jobs is most revered for his simple slides and huge fonts. The principle is this: don’t detract from your message with your slides — enhance it. With a screen that must be 60×30 (that’s FEET), the focus is still on Steve Jobs. Note in Apple’s video that they almost always have a cutaway of Jobs in addition to the slides. His slides aren’t the show — he is. The same applies to you.Still, I’d like to see him polish his delivery skills, and use stories and grabbers to introduce sections rather than “and now, a new piece of software.” But a presenter isn’t measured solely by his/her skills. It’s the impact of the delivered message, and Jobs excels at that.
You’re the show; your message should matter to your audience; you should deliver it with impact.