Not Another Steve Jobs Eulogy
From Wall Street to Main Street, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to 1 Infinite Loop, more has been said, better than I could ever, about the bright light that was Steve Jobs. I’ve watched, read, heard, and generally been reminded (as if an iAnything owner could ever forget) of his brilliance, and I find myself reflecting as much on what he said as what he did. Not in a “dent in the universe” greatest hits kind of way, more in a “was the man the message?” way. If Joe Wall Street or John Main Street or Mr. President had taken the podium to announce the iPad, would he have moved – the audience, the market, the share price, the needle, us – equally?
Whether we’re executives, trainers, marketers or managers, we’re none of us Steve Jobs. But we can certainly look to his stellar example for ideas on delivering the message. For a great breakdown of Jobs in action, check out Jon Thomas’ analysis of his WWDC 2010 keynote. If you’re a more visual person, watch Jobs’ iCloud announcement just months before his death. That presentation served up the spare but powerful messaging we’ve come to expect of Apple and, if you’re an Apple type, the content was pretty great. But the iCloud announcement was just Steve Jobs doing what he always did: delivering meaningful content with the blend of proficiency, ease, frankness, passion and simplicity that he was renowned for.
Chances are you’re not announcing game-changing technology, but what’s the takeaway as a presenter? Whether for a demand generation webinar for 1,000 or management training for 20, can we borrow from Jobs for the benefit of our participants?
Distill the message. Is jargon or unnecessarily elevated language diluting your message? Could you convey it using fewer words? If so, edit.
Use relevant visuals. Are your charts, graphs and photos working to keep your slide clean and communicate your point clearly? If not, change or cut them.
You’re there for a reason. True, not everyone has Steve Jobs’ charisma. And chances are you won’t have folks camping out just to hear you speak. But if you’ve created a strong presentation, prepared for and practiced the delivery of it, can you give your participants a really great experience?
Simple takeaways from a master class, but in the words of the man himself, “Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” BusinessWeek interview, May 1998