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emaze blog
Jan 22 2015
how to present like steve jobs

Present like Steve Jobs…Only Better

by Motti Nisani

When you think of legendary presenters very few names come to mind. Steve Jobs is definitely one of them. In fact there are people out there devoted to analyzing his every speech, reviewing video after video, trying to get his presentation skills down to a science.Here’s how you can present like Steve Jobs.

Look at the inspiration Steve Jobs has left on the world, if it weren’t for his impeccable presentation skills would he have left such a lasting impact? It’s conceivable that without his ability to win over the crowd with his charisma and top of the line story-telling skills I would not be here writing this article on this here macbook pro.

Steve Job's presentation

This just goes to show that you can have the next breaking edge technology, or the next idea to cure diseases in Africa, but if you’re not capable of presenting them you might as well go home. Without your idea represented in a thorough and convincing manner, no one will give your thoughts the time of day.

Here are the top seven things we’ve all learned from the great Steve Jobs about the art of the presentation. Although you may not be of Steve Job’s elite status, have his ingenious brain capacity, or his budget everyone can encompass these tips into their own presentations to deliver legendary presentations.


Start with a Narrative

Steve jobs told a lot of stories, in fact you could even call him of the modern day ‘visual storytelling’ technique for presentations. He would explain elaborately how his apple products would one day change the world. You can tell your stories about the history of your grand idea, product success stories, customer testimonials etc. As long as you make sure, like all good stories, it’s comprised of a beginning middle and an end.

successful presentation like Steve Jobs

This is a great way to capture your audience’s attention right off the back and set the tone for the entire rest of your presentation to come. Once you’ve guided them through your story your audience has a better idea of what to expect from here on out, a point of reference so to speak.


Enjoy Yourself

I don’t know about you, but for me it’s always been very evident whether a presenter is enjoying being up on stage speaking to their audience or not. To me, it makes all of the difference between a good presentation and a so-so presentation. Steve Jobs not only looked like he was having fun up there, but he also had an attitude that made it hard to not enjoy yourself while watching him.

For instance, in one of his speeches he prank called the local Starbucks asking to order 4,000 lattes to go. The audience was roaring with applause and laughter, and you could tell Jobs was getting a kick out of it himself too. How can you expect your audience to have a good time and pay attention to you when you yourself are acting like you don’t want to be there? Strut your stuff, smile every once in awhile and make positive associations with that feel-good attitude they’re about to feel, and your presentation so they’ll think back about your presentation and smile.


Use Simple Language

Let me reiterate, this is not a research paper. Know your audience, if there’s certain terminology known in the industry use it to sound professional. But as a general rule speak in layman’s terms, you want your audience to be more focused on your ideas than trying to decipher your fancy vocabulary.

Use descriptive words that can paint a picture in your audience’s head, the whole presentation should be thought of as a story that you’re trying to illustrate in their minds. Plan out your word choice ahead of time so you don’t have to stumble upon words while presenting. Use sensory words that audience members can relate to, how it smelled, the sounds you heard to invoke their imagination.

powerpoint presentation tips

Create an Antagonist

Every good story needs a prince charming, or a Cruella DeVille. For Jobs his ‘villain’ was IBM and then Microsoft. Jobs set up his story exactly right so he could provide the perfect hero that comes in to save the day. By presenting the problem: ‘regular cell phones aren’t smart nor easy to use, smartphones are smarter, but still not easy to use.’ What the story needs is a swooning hero to step in and save the day. Which is exactly what the iPhone has done. Providing us with an intuitive solution; an easy to use smartphone.


Make the Sale

Just as Jobs did, make sure you follow up your problem with an immediate solution, the necessary resolution after your story plot peaks everyone’s attention. This is your opportunity to show how much your believe in your product and how it will affect your audience. Make your solution seem incredibly relevant to their lives, like the iPhone how did we live without it for so long?


Be passionate

Would you buy a product that a salesman was weakly selling you? “Yeah, it’s kind of cool, I guess…” You can’t expect your audience to get up and support you unless you convince them why it is you’re standing up in front of them in the first place. Passion can be contagious, you could stand up in front of people and passionately speak about the invention of the printing press, and if you show emotion and enthusiasm you can still capture your audience.

successful presentation

Anyone that’s gotten their idea to this point, the presentation phase has got to be somewhat passionate about it. Show this to your audience, be human laugh and show expressions with your face to show them how much you care. Afterall, your audience is human too.


Build Simple, yet Visual Slides

After the first three minutes of Steve Job’s iPhone presentation he had used just 19 words, in a matter of about 12 slides flashed on the presentation behind him. The slides are their to add value to your presentation and mainly to visually aid your viewers in the process, not for your to lean back on.

great presentations templates


Think of it as a vitamin supplement, you don’t need the presentation to get through your presentation, it’s only their to help and make for easier understanding on the audience’s side. Visuals speak louder than words so make sure to add visuals anywhere in the presentation that may get lost in the translation. emaze’s intuitive templates make it easy for you to design super chic presentations that display just the right amount of engagement to keep your audience in tune without distracting them.