The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs – Carmine Gallo [Book Summary]

by Nick

Founder and former Apple CEO Steve Jobs has revolutionized business communications.

He managed to turn a boring presentation of a technical product into a fascinating theatrical performance, built according to the classical laws of drama.

He easily turned his viewers and listeners into clients and clients into preachers who believed in the messianic idea of the company.

He himself believed that Apple products made people’s lives better, and infected the public with his enthusiasm.

It is love for one’s business that is the main condition for the success of any performance, but in Jobs’s presentations the methods and techniques of influencing the audience, which the master developed and honed for years, played an equally important role.

In Carmine Gallo’s book, these tricks are first described, explained in detail and provided with numerous examples from the experience of Jobs himself and other famous presenters.

The proposed recipes are all the more obvious because the author himself, a well-known business coach and journalist, actively uses them when presenting the material.

This book is available as:

AudiobookeBook | Print

Presentation Wizard

Steve Jobs is one of the best speakers of our time.

Records of his presentations are very popular on the Internet – they can be seen on Macworld and YouTube.

He was genuinely passionate about his business and believed that Apple products made people’s lives better.

Thanks to this conviction and personal charisma, Jobs managed to turn a boring presentation of a technical product into an exciting theater performance, where the hero defeats the villain and is rewarded with the full sympathy of the audience.

To achieve such results, the audience must not only be informed but also entertained and inspired.

Follow the simple three-step plan.

1. “Create a Story”

First, you need to come up with a plot for future performances and write a script.

This stage takes the most time. It includes studying the problem, collecting information, consulting with experts, highlighting key ideas and creating sketches.

Steve Jobs – a man who made a name for himself in the world of digital technology – used pencil and paper (blackboard and felt-tip pen are also suitable). Sketch your story, including ideas for slides.

“All of Jobs’s principles come down to a few simple and doable tricks. Following them, you can easily and quickly increase the impact on the audience during public speaking. ”

To make the script convincing, you must include nine required elements:

  1. Heading. This is a clearly formulated idea that will remain in the memory of the public. The wording should be short (maximum 140 characters), accurate, effective and fully describe the properties of the product. To make her better remembered, repeat it several times during the speech according to the pattern: heading – explanation – heading. Write from the perspective of consumers so that their personal benefit from using the product is obvious. Such, for example, is Jobs’ next headline: “The skinny MacBook has grown fat with features.”
  2. Incendiary statement. Express your emotions about the product, share your enthusiasm with the public.
  3. Three main ideas. It is this number of messages that is most easily held in memory. Each idea should be supported by additional points.
  4. Rhetorical devices. Metaphors and analogies that help captivate and convince the public. Speaking about the iTunes app for Windows, Jobs said: “It’s like giving a glass of cold water to a person in hellish hell!”
  5. Demonstration. If possible, present the product to the audience and show it how it works.
  6. Partners. Invite your partners or employees who participated in the creation of the product to the stage.
  7. Testimonies. Invite experts or existing customers who can provide feedback on your product. Submit quotes from the press.
  8. Video clips. Include a video in the presentation, in which company employees talk about their impressions of working on a new product. Show commercials or short interviews with consumers.
  9. Props. For some people, video is more important, for others – speech information, for others – tactile sensations. Therefore, along with slides and a story, include in your presentation layouts, models, samples that you can touch.

“… It turns an ordinary, boring, technical, monotonous slide show into a theatrical performance, filled with heroes, villains, corps de ballet, into striking scenery.”

According to the classical laws of drama, a fascinating plot has a plot, climax, and denouement, and the driving force of the plot is the conflict – the struggle between good and evil, the hero and the villain.

To make the performance more dramatic, use this technique. Starting your story, identify the problem. Describe the current state of the industry and highlight the unsolved problem, and then propose its solution.

Imagine the problem as a villain, and your product – as a hero who triumphs over him and reaches his goal – to make a customer’s life better. List the specific benefits that the customer will receive using your product. To develop the plot, use rhetorical questions: they will add dynamism to the story.

It is better to identify the antagonist (problem) as soon as possible in order to immediately “unite the audience around a common goal”. Then imagine the hero (decision),

“People in your audience will ask themselves one question:“ How does this affect me personally? ”If you start to answer it from the very first second of your speech, then keep the audience’s attention and you can carry it along with you.”

Remember that the main question that interests viewers is always the same: “How does this affect me personally?”

They need a product as a tool to achieve personal goals. Therefore, it is very important that your story is not primarily dedicated to your company or product, but to the interests of the client. Tell us why the product is suitable for solving its problems.

Do not forget to repeat your main idea at least twice and then consistently carry it out in all marketing materials: in slides, on the website, in press releases. Try to create additional, non-economic motivation for the client: explain why using your product will allow him to build a better future with you.

“Jobs doesn’t wait for the press to come up with a headline. He writes it himself and repeats it several times during the performance. ”

To create such a “messianic idea” and convince the client of it can only be one who himself passionately believes in the importance of his work. His faith nourishes charisma, and the presenter’s enthusiasm infects viewers as well.

A person like Jobs does not work for money, but for the cause, and the object of his passion is not the product itself that the company produces, but the product as a means of transforming the world.

Realize what your passion is, give it a definition, share it with others. This will allow you to create a “reality curvature field” (as expressed by Apple Vice President Bud Tribble): you can convince anyone and anything.

“Jobs not only breaks down his performances into groups, but also describes the properties of products in groups of three or four.”

It’s better to start your performance with a brief overview: this is how you give the audience a “road map”.

Let them know what awaits them in the next quarter of an hour. Observe the “rule of three”: the composition of the speech should be based on the principle of three-partners.

Prepare three main message ideas, describe the three main properties of the product, give three key arguments, and so on. Gradually escalate the dramatic tension that will resolve at the end of your story.

To simplify the perception of information by ear, list ideas, product features, etc. in a numbered sequence. The transfer can be accompanied by a slide show on which there is nothing but a number – the item number.

“A few graphics, a few words, and a large library of vibrant color pictures and photographs are the recipe for most of Jobs’s slides.”

According to studies, the audience is able to maintain intense attention only for 10 minutes.

If the presentation lasts longer, arrange small intermissions so that the audience can rest. Diversify your performance. In his 30-minute presentations, Jobs used product demonstrations, guest speaker appearances, and video clips for this. One more important tip: do not use ready-made list templates for slides in PowerPoint.

They are less suitable for transmitting information that viewers must remember and take into account in their future actions.

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2. “Create Experiences”

Steve Jobs practiced Zen Buddhism, one of the most important principles of which is “Kanso” – simplicity.

This principle has become the basis for the design of Apple products, as well as for Jobs presentation slides. All unnecessary items were sequentially removed from them.

It is not surprising that consumers like this design: it allows their brains to save energy when they perceive new information. So, Steve’s slides contain a minimum of text and only the most important: “5000 copies – in the first 3 months”; “Music”; “65,000,000 users.”

Please note that each such slide contains only one idea and the key one. To highlight the most important information on a slide, use arrows or other graphic elements, but in no case do not clog them with a slide: a sufficient amount of empty space is a necessary condition for good design.

“The presentation of an antagonist (problem) rallies the audience around the hero (solution). Jobs structures his most outstanding speeches precisely around this classic principle of storytelling. ”

Jobs often backed up his reasoning with concrete numerical data, which added credibility to them.

Using this technique, the numbers must be carefully selected: if there are too many of them, the audience will quickly get tired and lose interest in you.

In addition, the numbers should be placed in an understandable context – “dress”. Talking about the new iPhone 3G, capable of exchanging data 2.8 times faster than EDGE, Jobs showed consumers the process of downloading the National Geographic website on two phones – the old and the new.

Text is best used to a minimum: keep in mind the “superior image effect.” Ideas are best absorbed in the form of pictures – it is no coincidence that Jobs loved photography so much. On slides and spoken language, avoid professional slang and insignificant words. Speak a simple and understandable language,

Use words from an everyday speech that are emotionally colored. Follow the example of Steve, who said about the iPhone 3G: “It is amazingly smart.”

“The mission of the hero in the speeches of Steve Jobs is not necessarily the destruction of the villain. The most important thing in his mission is to make our life better. ”

Give your audience a kinesthetic experience to enhance the presentation and make it more visual. Introducing the new MacBook, Jobs did not limit himself to showing photos: he handed several samples of the new laptop into the hall and gave viewers time to examine them.

So that people do not get tired, they can be entertained, for example, by joking or doing something unexpected. Demonstrating to the public the possibilities of the iPhone, Steve made a harmless, but essentially hooligan trick that made the audience laugh.

He called the Starbucks coffee house and said: “I would like to order four thousand latte takeaways. No, it’s a joke. Goodbye”.

“On stage, Jobs does three things that everyone can and should do to improve their speaking skills: maintains eye contact, maintains an open pose, and often uses gestures.”

In addition, the moment “Damn it!”

Should be present in a good presentation – an unforgettable episode that emphasizes the main feature of the product.

For example, the main property of the MacBook Air, Jobs formulated this: “This is the thinnest laptop in the world.” To demonstrate this property, he went to the table on which lay several envelopes for documents and took out a laptop from one envelope, which enthralled the audience.

The impact of such a moment is especially strong if it is preceded by an intentional voltage boost. A photograph of Jobs taking a laptop out of an envelope was distributed across all major media, and the main feature of the product – a combination of compactness and full functionality – was firmly entrenched in the minds of consumers.

3. “Rehearse and Do Not Stop There”

Steve Jobs always highlights the most significant words in a sentence with logical stress and emphasizes with expressive gestures. Intonation, pace, the volume of speech, pause – all these are useful tools in the speaker’s arsenal.

Steve minimizes the volume of notes: for him, they are just hints, not text intended for reading. This approach allows him to maintain eye contact with the audience, which always inspires confidence.

To get rid of the excess text in slides and not depend on your notes, follow these steps:

  • 1) write down your script completely in the “Notes” section of PowerPoint;
  • 2) select keywords in each sentence and start rehearsal;
  • 3) remove from the record all the words except the key ones;
  • 4) remember one key thought for each slide;
  • 5) then rehearse without recordings,

“Steve Jobs makes his audience guess. Often he says that he has “one more thing” left, right before the end of the speech. ”

To establish and maintain a connection with the audience, you need to direct all your attention to it, without being distracted by either reading a piece of paper or troubleshooting technical problems.

This condition can be met only if you are well prepared. Jobs began rehearsing his performances in a few weeks. Another important factor is an open pose, that is, one in which there are no barriers between the speaker and the audience: neither objects, nor arms crossed.

The speaker’s hands should be busy gesturing (Jobs gestured for almost every sentence). But be careful: familiar gestures can be automated, and then they will lose their expressiveness.

To learn how to control your behavior during the performance, use the video. Hours of rehearsal will allow you to maintain ease and overcome the fear of the scene. Daniel Levitin, a neuroscientist and musician, claims that to achieve outstanding results in any business, you need to train 10 thousand hours: this is about three hours a day for 10 years.

Approximately as much time has passed since the beginning of Jobs’ career to the moment when he held his first outstanding presentation.

“The gift of outstanding performances is never inherent in anyone. Steve Jobs became a great speaker just because he worked on it. ”

Prepare answers to the most likely questions in advance using the “basket method”: identify possible questions; categorize them (“baskets”) and create the best answer for each category.

Listen carefully to the question and identify keywords in it that will allow you to attribute it to one of the categories. Answer confidently, looking into the interlocutor’s eyes, and, if necessary, reformulate the question in a way that is advantageous to yourself.

Learn to maintain a high level of energy, which should be manifested in everything: in voice, gait, look, smile. Banish parasite words from your speech: they dramatically reduce the speaker’s influence on the audience.

“Jobs follows his heart all his life. Follow yours to conquer your audience. ”

For the perception of the speech, it is very important how the presenter is dressed.

Jobs’ clothing style was easily recognizable: “a black turtleneck, worn blue jeans, and white sneakers”, all of the certain brands. But in order to dress in such a casual manner, one must first gain a certain position – in the past, Steve wore a business suit with a tie.

Therefore, for mere mortals who have not yet invented a product that can change the world, it is better to follow the rule “always dress a little better than everyone else, but always according to culture”.

Finally, the main advice: no matter what happens, no matter what the malfunction, try to enjoy your performance in any situation – and the success of the presentation is guaranteed.

You can find a video on YouTube with dozens of examples of glitches during Jobs’ presentations.


  • Steve Jobs revolutionized business communications.
  • A brilliant showman, he turned his performances into theatrical performances with the eyeballs, climax, and denouement.
  • Infecting the public with his enthusiasm, Jobs skillfully turned viewers into customers and customers into missionaries.
  • Starting to create a presentation, gather the necessary information, invent a story and sketch thumbnails on paper.
  • Imagine the existing problem as a villain, the consumer as a victim, and your product that helps solve the problem as a hero-savior.
  • Steve practiced Zen Buddhism, one of the basic principles of which, the principle of simplicity, embodied in the design of Apple products and in the slides of his presentations.
  • Most of Jobs’s slides are photographs because any idea is best absorbed as a picture.
  • Get rid of notes: learn to use slides as tips.
  • Dress a little better than everyone else, but so that your suit looks appropriate.
  • No matter what happens during the presentation, don’t get lost or pinched. Admit the mistake and confidently continue the performance, enjoying it.

 Why You Should Read “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs”

  • To use it as a go-to-guide for successful presentations
  • To gain essential knowledge for marketing a product
  • To get key ideas if you are a corporate leader, top manager, or a sales professional

This book is available as:

AudiobookeBook | Print