Who are the kings of keynote presentations

Steve Jobs' secret presentation tricks

For many years, product launches at AppleApple have been more like happenings than dreary press conferences. Weeks in advance there is speculation about alleged details, and on the day of the announcement, reporters usually report live and with noticeable fervor of these events. Everything about Apple on CIO.de

Until 2011, the charismatic Steve Jobs was the undisputed star of such events. Then the cancer death ended his engagement as a herald. American columnist Carmine Gallo has published an essay entitled "The Presentation Genius Steve Jobs". There he tries to discover the secrets of the former Apple boss. In his essay, Gallo looks at the "10 Key Techniques" Jobs used for information and entertainment purposes. We summarize the techniques in the click path below and in detail on the following pages.

  1. "The presentation genius Steve Jobs" by Carmine Gallo
    American columnist Carmine Gallo has published an essay entitled "The Presentation Genius Steve Jobs". There he deals with the "10 Key Techniques" Jobs used for information and entertainment purposes.
  2. 1. Plan with pen and paper
    Steve Jobs planned his presentations like films: with a gripping story, with heroes and villains.
  3. 2. Describe it in a Twitter-friendly way
    Steve Jobs had found a short description for each product that could be carried around the world in just 140 characters.
  4. 3. Bring an opponent into play
    Steve Jobs had always created a villain (company or problem) who made it possible for the audience to rally around the hero - Apple and its products.
  5. 4. Focus on the merits
    Steve Jobs spoke not only about the product and its technical capabilities, but also about the benefits and advantages.
  6. 5. Observe the rule of three
    Three is a magic number: The three also ran like a red thread through Steve Jobs' presentations.
  7. 6. Sell dreams, not products
    Steve Jobs didn't sell computers - he sold the promise of a better world.
  8. 7. Design clear slides
    Steve Jobs didn't have any of the dreaded bullet points, instead lots of photos and pictures. And instead of the average 40 words per slide, Jobs only had seven.
  9. 8. Give meaning to the numbers
    Large numbers are not always immediately apparent to the audience. The larger the number, the more important it is to find analogies or comparisons that make the data relevant to the audience.
  10. 9. Use peppy words
    Stevs Jobs rarely or never used words like "top product" or "synergy" from the sentence construction kit of marketing experts. His language was simple, clear and direct.
  11. 10. Build in the wow factor
    Steve Jobs couldn't do without special effects either. Each presentation had a moment that neuroscientists refer to as an "emotionally charged event". He signals to the audience: "Remember that now!"
  12. Tip: Steve Jobs did not fall from the sky as a master either
    Competent speakers refine the ability to present with slides through practice. Steve Jobs did the same, and he also took a lot of time for each of his big demonstrations.

1. Plan with pen and paper

Anyone who thinks Steve Jobs relied solely on his charisma for his presentations is mistaken. Carmine Gallo writes that Jobs always meticulously prepared for his presentations.

Whether you use pen and paper like Jobs did is a matter of taste. But it is important to know that Jobs planned his presentations like feature films: with a gripping story that leaves no time for distractions, with heroes and villains, as well as with special effects and surprises. "The story always came first; the slides were only meant to be a supplement," says Gallo.

2. Describe it in a Twitter-friendly way

When Jobs presented the MacBook Air in January 2008, it was simply "the thinnest notebook in the world" for him. Such messages are easy to spread. According to Gallo, Steve Jobs has found a description for every product in his company that is limited to a single sentence.

These concise summaries make it easy for audiences to take the Lord's messages to the world in just 140 characters via Twitter. But make no mistake: proclaiming such messages is quick, writing them takes a lot of time.

3. Bring an opponent into play

Every good movie plot needs a villain in addition to the hero. At the beginning of Apple's history, it was IBM, demonized by Jobs in a famous spot.

"According to brand expert Martin Lindstrom, big brands and religions have something in common," writes Gallo, "namely the idea of ​​defeating a common enemy". Jobs created a villain in the commercial "who made it possible for the audience to rally around the hero", Apple and its products.

These days, evil doesn't necessarily have to be personalized anymore. Even a problem sometimes needs heroes to be solved. "When Jobs introduced the iPhone in January 2007, his presentation focused on the problems cell phone users had with the state-of-the-art technology at the time. The iPhone, he said, would solve those problems." It can also be that simple.

4. Focus on the merits

Actually a matter of course, but perfected by Steve Jobs: Don't talk about the product and its technical capabilities, but about the benefits and advantages of a product. Jobs, writes Gallo, always made this connection clear to his customers.

Who the question "What do I get out of it?" can answer briefly and concisely from the point of view of his customers, is doing it right. "Top ten lists" or "10 reasons why X will beautify your everyday life" are possible starting points for your own marketing.

5. Observe the "rule of three"

Three is a magic number: "A man needs three things", "Make three crosses" or "Make three wishes" - the three also ran like a red thread through Steve Jobs' presentations. Gallo refers to a demonstration by Jobs in 2009, where he presented three products: the iPhone, iTunes and the iPod.

"The number three is a powerful concept in writing," says Gallo. "Playwrights know three is more dramatic than two; comedians know three is funnier than four; and Steve Jobs knew three is easier to remember than six or eight."

6. Sell dreams, not products

Whoever describes Steve Jobs as what he basically was does not do him justice: "He did not sell computers - he sold the promise of a better world," says Gallo. Not more, but definitely not less. "Passion, enthusiasm and determination about the product itself and beyond made the difference that set Jobs and Apple apart."

7. Design clear slides

Steve Jobs apparently had good PowerPoint templates, because every presentation followed the same pattern, as Gallo writes: There were none of the widely feared bullet points, instead there were many photos and images. And instead of the average 40 words per slide, Jobs only had seven. The technology behind it ("a picture says more than 1000 words") is called "picture superiority" and suits every presentation well.


  1. This is how it all started: This photo in the background shows Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in the 1970s. Jobs showed this picture from the early days at the 2010 Keynote on the iPad.
















  2. 2010








8. Give meaning to numbers

Large numbers are not always immediately apparent to the audience. The number of 220 million iPods sold, which Apple vice-president Phil Schiller named in 2009, is relatively lonely. Only when you put numbers in relation do they become understandable.

220 million - that corresponded to a market share of 73 percent at the time. Or, to put it even more clearly: three out of four MP3 players were from Apple. And Microsoft - with the Zune, a major competitor to Apple for MP3 players at the time? With one percent, the group was right at the bottom of the ranking.

Everyone understands such comparisons. Gallo’s motto behind this is: "The larger the number, the more important it is to find analogies or comparisons that make the data relevant to the audience."

9. Use peppy words

Plain text is better than politically correct but boring terms. Steve Jobs once said that the iPhone 3G was "amazingly fast". That doesn't really say much, but it resonates with the audience because it is close to normal language usage.

On the other hand, Jobs rarely or never used words like "top product" or "synergy" from the sentence construction kit of marketing experts. "His language was simple, clear and direct," says Gallo. And that is always the right thing to do.

10. Build in the wow factor

Short sentences, clear choice of words: With this, Jobs managed to convey messages to his listeners that they understood, in order to trumpet them out into the world immediately afterwards. But Jobs couldn't do without the special effects mentioned at the beginning. "Every Steve Jobs presentation has had what neuroscientists call an 'emotional event'," said Carmine Gallo. It is a moment that signals to the audience: "Remember that now!"

For example, at Macworld 2007 Jobs spoke of "three revolutionary products": a widescreen iPod with a touchscreen, a mobile phone and an Internet communication device. And the emotionally charged event? "These are not three different devices," said Jobs at the time. "It's one and the same device!" The audience broke out into storms of applause, writes Gallo, because this breakup was so unexpected and entertaining.

Bonus tip

Anyone who, like Carmine Gallo, has watched job presentations over a longer period of time on YouTube will find "that it has increased considerably with every decade". Nobody is born knowing how to present slides great.

Competent speakers refine this skill through practice. Steve Jobs did the same, and he also took a lot of time for each of his big presentations: "Yes, Jobs made his presentations look casual, but that shine was the result of hours of exhausting practice.