Wednesday's CommPR.Biz contains a blog authored by Makovsky's Gene Marbach and entitled, "The Art of the Presentation (and What I Learned from Steve Jobs).
As might be expected, the blog contains all the smart things great presenters already know (i.e. Jobs strict adherence to The KISS principle, his not relying solely on PowerPoint slides, etc.). And clearly, in his public performances, Jobs was, indeed, a master presenter.
But, as is now finally becoming abundantly clear, the real Steve Jobs was a total perfectionist who terrorized everyone from Apple employees to hapless restaurant waitresses. By all reports, Jobs didn't suffer fools gladly; he actually pulverized the bejesus out of them.
So, knowing the real Steve Jobs for what he was, I wonder what one of his REAL internal presentations at Apple must have been like…
Scene: A large auditorium at Apple headquarters. Lights dim. Spotlight picks Jobs as he strides across the stage to thunderous applause.
Jobs raises his hand, asking for quiet: "Shut up, you worthless slugs and pay attention!" (Note: This is a superb technique with which to make an immediate audience connection.)
Jobs: "Before I begin, there are a few ground rules even you simpletons will grasp. No talking. No arms folded or legs crossed. You in the first row, you're fired! That'll teach you to keep your legs crossed. Idiot! Now, the rest of you, listen up: you inhale and exhale on my commands only, got it? Now, slide one."
Slide One shows a classic portrayal of god in heaven with Steve's head superimposed on the body.
Jobs: "Excellent. This is just in case you had any doubts about my ultimate authority." (Note: Here's another tried and true presentation technique since Jobs establishes his credentials right up front.)
Slide Two shows an oh-so-clever, uber-cool, new type of communications device.
Jobs: "What you incredibly fortunate rabble are now viewing is the new iJobs. Quite simply, it is the greatest product ever invented. It will end war, world hunger and poverty. And it has some pretty neat apps too." (Note: A superb presentation technique. Rather than waste his precious time on features Jobs, instead, focuses on the new product's benefits.)
Slide Three shows the mushroom cloud that rose above Hiroshima in the moments after the first atomic bomb was dropped.
Jobs: "This is our competition. This is what you will do to our competition. And, if you don't, this is what your career will look like. Now, go out and sell, you morons!" (Note: What a superb way to quickly wrap up his remarks, motivate the audience and also suggest possible outcomes if they don't succeed.)
So, in just three slides and two minutes, we can see how masterful Steve Jobs was at presentation techniques. Like Makovsky's Marbach, I've sure learned something from Steve Jobs. Fear and retribution are powerful motivators and can make any presentation a total home run.
And, now, as Mr. Jobs might say if he were addressing you, go back to leading your lives of quiet desperation.