The Steve Jobs secret to a relaxed presentation style

Steve Jobs was legendary for his product launch/sales pitch presentations and earned the reputation as the best CEO presenter in corporate America. Along with great content his audience enjoyed his easy going and conversational style. His presentations had an impromptu feel, as if he had just stepped out of Apple’s corporate offices to tell a few friends about Apple’s latest technology coup.

What his audience probably did not realize is that Jobs would spend as much as 70 hours planning and practicing one of his product launch presentations. There was in fact nothing impromptu about these presentations but Jobs accomplished the casual and conversational feel as a direct result of relentless preparation and practice.

Of course, not every presentation requires 70 hours of practice but most people don’t practice their presentations at all. Keep in mind that simply reviewing your power point slides is not practicing.

Practicing, as Jobs did, means delivering the presentation out loud as if it’s the real thing. How much you practice depends on how much is riding on the presentation but a good rule of thumb is that a presentation should be delivered out loud four to six times in order for you to be comfortable with the content. If the presentation will be delivered to the key decision maker(s) regarding a critical deal practicing ten or more times is appropriate.

And it’s only when you’re comfortable with the content that you can have a natural and conversational delivery. There is nothing conversational about sputtering and stammering and not knowing what you’re supposed to say next. Maybe the biggest presentation mistake people make is delivering a presentation out loud for the first time in front of a live audience.

In his book “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs” Carmine Gallo wrote that “the world’s greatest communicators have always understood that spontaneity is the result of planned practice.”


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