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Deliver your presentation like Steve Jobs

This is a great You Tube video (approx 5 minutes) that highlights some of the  key presentation techniques we would all benefit from having in our presentation repertoire – it uses some excellent clips from Steve Jobs presentations to help illustrate.

Whilst most of our business presentations do not lend themselves to the same type of Apple-Mac extravaganza, there are  still some very useful tips on things like transitions, defining key themes, and the use of analogies to give meaning to statistics.  

Also of course whilst having enthusiasm for our message is universally important when we are trying to win support for a proposal, some of the Steve Jobs language (“cool”, “amazing”, “extraordinary”) would also be over-the-top for many business presentations within our Australian corporate culture.  Despite these qualifications, I think you will find it of interest ……

One of those presentations I’d like to forget …..

Oh, how I can still recall the very first formal presentation that I delivered in the workplace – I continue to cringe at the memory!

More than twenty-seven years ago …..I was given the opportunity to deliver a presentation to a group of medical professionals. I was somewhat new to the position and my manager at the time saw it as an opportunity for me to start building a profile. I had enormous respect for him and did not want to let him down.

 A lot of time was invested in planning and preparation – I thought I’d mastered my subject pretty well and was feeling that delicate balance between some nervousness about the forthcoming occasion, and yet due confidence in my subject-matter.

Come presentation day, I arrived early and everything was set-up as it should have been. The overhead projector was working (remember them anyone?) and I felt ready, as people  hurriedly entered the conference room. It was not an environment for small talk and so I moved into the opening stage of my presentation.

I was about one minute into my opening comments, which I had very thoroughly rehearsed, when all of a sudden something hit me that I had not quite prepared for ……….being the centre of attention of thirty pairs of eyes. At that moment, the BLANK MIND hit me with a loud THUD!

Unfortunately, instead of pausing and taking a deep breath, instead of pausing and glancing at my notes for direction, instead of pausing and taking a sip of water …….I was intimidated by the prospect of any silence and so I said anything that came into my head – a few comments from my Closing, some more comments from my intended Opening, another few points that I recalled from the Body ……..and so I went on, all over the place.

A totally disjointed presentation, that lacked any apparent logic or structure!

Twenty minutes later, the audience hurriedly left the room, asking no questions and making no form of eye contact with me whatsoever. They were deeply embarassed on my behalf.

Yes, well do I recall that day – I caught a tram back to my head office, and was fighting back tears of shame, praying that I would never see any of those people again – and convinced that my future career was irrepairably ruined!

And yet here is the irony….. more than twenty-seven years later, a core part of the work that I now do is claiming to offer guidance to people in how to improve their presentation skills. For many years, I have been delivering over one hundred presentations a year, to all levels of the corporate world – from operational level up to senior executive and CEO levels. Through delivering presentation training courses and one-on-one coaching, I would be assisting over two hundred people every year to develop or polish their presentation skills.

 What is the point of the story you may well ask?

The point is that my personal experience confirms for me that presentation skills can be learned …….and that there is always another day, no matter how dark it may seem after a presentation goes very wrong …….. So, always remain hopeful that things can get better. Oh, and also – if you get hit with the dreaded blank mind – pause and take a breath

If you are located in Melbourne, Australia and are searching for a training course to improve your presentation skills, then visit Presentation Training Melbourne.  Cheers for now…