In a recent CNN interview, Bill Gates explained Steve Jobs's appeal to his audience. He used a unique metaphor to capture Jobs's special magic. He said Jobs was a wizard who would be "casting spells" and "mesmerizing" his audience.
Gates had a smile on his face as he recalled Jobs's talent. He even joked, "Because I'm a minor wizard those spells don't work on me." Then, Gates turned serious and concluded that Jobs's communication skills--along with his ability to pick the best talent and his eye for design--saved Apple.
In one of my books, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, I captured the techniques that made Jobs such a mesmerizing speaker. These tips will help you turn on the magic.
1. He wasn't afraid to unleash his passion.
Jobs wore his passion on his black turtleneck sleeve.
In his now famous Stanford commencement speech, he said: "Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do." Jobs believed that people with passion can change the world, and he did.
Speak about topics you are genuinely passionate about. Enthusiasm is contagious.
2. He created "wow" moments.
Every Steve Jobs presentation had one moment that left people in awe. It's the section they were talking about around the water cooler the next day. In my book I called it the 'wow moment.' These emotionally charged events were often done with props, visually intriguing slides, or an unexpected surprise.
Jobs cast spells like a wizard because he had a magician's flair for drama. In 1984, Jobs pulled the first Macintosh from a black bag sitting on a table in the middle of a darkened stage. In 2008, he introduced "The world's thinnest notebook," the Macbook Air, by removing it from of a large office envelope.
Create moments in your presentation where the content jumps off the slide and comes to life.
3. He stuck to the rule of three.
The rule of three is a fundamental principle in writing, marketing, and in a Steve Jobs presentation. The rule simply means that people can recall about three pieces of information really well. Once you add more items, retention falls off considerably.
Steve Jobs used the rule of three in nearly every presentation. In his Stanford speech, he told three stories. If a new operating system had 200 features, he'd highlight three. In one of his most famous presentations, the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, Jobs even fooled the audience into thinking that he was going to launch three products: a new iPod, a phone, and an internet communication device. The audience was puzzled as Jobs repeated all three. Finally, Jobs revealed the punchline: "Aren't you getting it? These are not three separate devices. This is one device and we're calling it the iPhone."
Make your content easy to follow by breaking it up into thirds.
Above all, no technique will mesmerize your audience if you are not passionately committed to enriching the lives of your customers and your audience. Steve Jobs didn't sell products; he sold dreams. He helped people see a better life for themselves. He concluded one of his presentations by saying, "Some people think you've got to be crazy to buy a Mac, but in that craziness we see genius and those are the people we're making tools for."
Your audience doesn't care about your product, your brand or your company. They care about themselves, their goals, their hopes, their ambitions. Help them achieve their dreams and you'll mesmerize them.