[On] Point to Ponder: “Dear iPhone, Happy Anniversary! Steve Jobs, We Miss You.”


This week is the 10 year anniversary of the iPhone. (Ten years? Really? Wow.) I read an article recently about Steve Jobs. The point was, he’s missed. People miss his passion. The industry misses his fantastic, electric presentations.

The author of the article watched the unveiling of the iPhone 7 last September, but found the presentation to be rather…blah. The presenter just didn’t have what Steve Jobs had.  So what exactly did Jobs have?

Unrivaled passion for his product? Of course. But to be sure, he had mastered not just his message, but more specifically …his slide deck.

Last week, my husband pulled up Jobs’ presentation when he rolled out the first iPhone on January 9, 2007. (Click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7qPAY9JqE4 to watch a portion.) We thought it would be fun to show our kids the phone features we considered “groundbreaking” just one decade ago. Touch screens. No more stylus. (And yet, they’ve returned!) Conference calling. E-mailing…on your phone. (gasp!) With great exuberance, Jobs introduced all the bells and whistles to the audience. Technology that was – undoubtedly – groundbreaking.

I asked my husband to pause the video within the first minute. “Now watch. Pay attention to his slide deck.” Almost exclusively, he uses images on the slide – usually only one. If he has words, there are shockingly few. “Watch how it impacts him as a presenter. Watch what happens.”

When you watch Jobs present the iPhone, you’re not waiting for the next slide, are you? You’re not reading text or chasing flying digital images. You’re listening to and watching Steve Jobs. He is the presenter. He has the excitement…not the fancy slides.

Steve Jobs knew how to do something so few presenters can do. He actually made the slide deck his visual aid.

He knows every detail of what he’s built – it’s his product. He alone gets the audience excited to hear more. He uses slides because he wants to show you what it looks like in a visual way. That’s why the slides are there. Because it’s a cool addition to the talk.

This is the perspective speakers ought to have with regard to visual aids. If you want to shine – if you want to set yourself aside from other speakers – emulate this one quality of Steve Jobs.

Can we all present like Steve Jobs? No. But we can all learn from his brilliance in this area. We can all seek to relate to our slide decks as he did. Are you presenting this week? It doesn’t have to be a radical new product that will change the course of human history. It can be a new idea, a new product, a competitive analysis, it doesn’t matter.

Use the slides as the aid they are designed to be. You’ll be surprised at what a difference it will make to your audience. How it will enhance your credibility. You’ll be surprised at how you the speaker will feel. How it will help your passion to shine forth. How, if you don’t yet, you’ll actually enjoy yourself when you present.

Be the presenter.

Stand in front of your screen, not to the side.

Stop loading massive amounts of text and motion onto each slide.

Keep it simple. Your audience will thank you.

Cindy Skalicky is passionate about developing effective messages. A public speaking coach and branding consultant, she is the owner of On Point Communications, LLC.  Learn more at www.onpoint-communications.com or contact Cindy at: info@onpoint-communications.com

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Tim Ash, Agent at The Group Real Estate

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You are a wonderful presenter Cindy! I have taken so much from your presentation at the conference. I noticed when you speak, you at times lowered your volume in a way where we still heard you, but it PULLED the audience in, as if you were confiding in us.

Your vocal variety was lovely, (as well as your content, of course!). The advice to gather your stories from your past and weave them into your presentations is spot on.

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