Sell your idea, The Steve jobs way

Sell your idea, The Steve jobs way

Today I want to help all of you sell your ideas the Steve Jobs way.

I'd like to call this the new rules of persuasive representation.

Because I think too, a lot of you, these techniques will be new, or at least maybe a new way of looking at an old problem,

Which is how do we sell our ideas effectively?

As you all have ideas to share.

You have ideas for new products, new businesses, new methods, new ways of doing things, ideas that are gonna change the world.

Some people, are better than others at telling their story.

Steve Jobs, for example, is an extraordinary storyteller.

He's so exceptional.

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs.

But let's begin with a premise,

A person can have the greatest idea in the

world, but if that person cannot convince enough other people it doesn't matter.

It's always mattered to Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs always thinks differently about communicating the vision behind Apple.

Now what can the rest of us learn?

I learned quite a bit, techniques that I now offer my clients.

I want to teach you some of the techniques

that we use with high level executives.


Shall I go through them?

The ones that apply to you specifically, the ones that you can adopt


For your very next presentation.

I'm gonna start with the most important


"Passion" - Passion is everything.

You cannot inspire unless you're inspired yourself.

And for Steve Jobs, passion plays a very,

very important role at Apple.

In 1997, Steve Jobs returned to Apple.

After a 12 year absence. Apple was very close to bankruptcy at the

time. Steve Jobs held an informal staff meeting.

I'm going to show you a clip from that meeting. It's informal and you can tell because he's wearing shorts.

When he really wants to dress up he'll wear blue jeans and running shoes.

So informal staff meeting, but listen to the role

Passion would play in the revitalizing the Apple brand.

"People with passion. Can change the world for the better"

This man certainly believes that.

Well, Our customers are our best sales force.

What does Starbucks sell? What do they sell?

Coffee? Nope.

They are selling a work place that treats people with dignity and respect.

"Happy customers or happy employees equal happy customers"

What a formula!

It works for Starbucks.

So, you need to ask yourselves, what am I passionate about. And It's not the obvious.

Howard Schultz, Startbucks, CEO is not passionate about coffee.

Nike is not selling Shoes.

Richard Tait is not selling board games.

And Steve Jobs is not selling computers.

He's selling tools to help you unleash

your personal creativity.

There's a big difference.

But that's the very first question you need to ask yourself,

When you're creating the message behind your product, or company, or service.

What is it that I'm truly passionate about?

Now let's dig into, real techniques

How many of you know Twitter?

How many of characters does Twitter allow? 140.

I think that's a great exercise.

If you cannot explain what you do in 140 characters, go back to the drawing board.

It's important, because your brain craves meaning before details.

A neuroscientist at the University of Washington, John Medina, taught me this.

He said, when primitive man ran into a tiger. He did not ask.

How many teeth does the tiger have?

"He asked, will it eat me?

Should I run?"

Big picture before details.

This is the way your brain wants to process information.

What's wrong with this slide? Typical slide, right?

This was delivered by a Morgan Stanley analyst at a technology conference.

She had about twenty minutes, and shewanted to deliver 8 big idea, 8 themes.

That's too much information. Where's the big picture before the


These actually support a broader theme.

A couple of journalists who were in the room at the time

Wrote about it much more simply, but they focused on the big picture.

One of the headlines was,

The mobile Internet is growing faster than you've ever imagined.

Now imagine if she had come out to say,

The mobile internet is growing faster than you've ever imagined.

And I'm gonna tell you, why?

What's more interesting, this image which

I created in two minutes or the previous one?

Big picture, before details.

Steve Jobs does this all the time. When he introduced the MacBook Air, this could have been a very typical slide.

The average communicator would have created the slide like this.

"Today, we are very excited to introduce a thin, lightweight notebook computer. It has a 13 inch wide screen display,

backlit keyboard, Intel Processor"

What's the problem here?

Too much information. What's the big picture?

In a sentence, it's the world's thinnest notebook.

Isn't that much more interesting and easier for you to process than all of the details first.

It's the world's thinnest notebook. That's the way Steve Jobs framed it.

What do you notice about the slide.

Simple, visual, and when he delivers the headline.

The one thing that he wants you to remember, that's all he has on the slide. He does this all the time. In every presentation.

What's the iPad?

The iPad is our most advanced technology. In a magical and revolutionary device.

That was his second slide when he introduced the iPad.

Because that's all he wants you to know right now, before getting into the details. I did notice at an unbelievable price, they stopped using that.

This is the only time he actually used that.

Maybe people started thinking to themselves, 800 dollars.

That's, that's not unbelievable.

unbelievably high maybe.

That was the last time I saw it on that one slide.

Again, Apple does this all the time.

A few months ago when they introduced The Beatles

on iTunes, go to the website what did you see?

The Beatles, now on iTunes.

How many of you would have the courage at your companies.

To effectively declutter your website, remove everything else, except the one thing you want people to get across.

The one thing you want people to remember. Again, the Apple website, they do this all the time. It takes courage to be simple. It takes courage to communicate simply.

If you cannot communicate what you do in ten words

or less, a short sentence, or say, 140 characters, go back to the drawing board.

Once you give me the big picture, as an audience member,

I need to understand the problem that you're trying to solve. I call this introducing the antagonist. Because every great story, and a presentation is a story, every great story requires a hero, and a villain.

So think of your presentation the same way.

In 1984, when Steve Jobs first introduced Macintosh.

Macintosh obviously, the Mac was the hero.

IBM was the villain.

At least in the Steve Jobs narrative. So he actually crafted the story.

IBM would play the villain part of the role.

Mac would come in to save the day.

IBM was a mainframe computer, at the time.

Mainframe computer maker, just getting in the personal computers for the first time. And Steve Jobs created this, this presentation of messaging around, Apple would be the only one to stand in, in IBM's way and make the world safer, us creative people in the world. It was, it was very dramatic stuff, but he actually crafted the narrative.

But more often than not, the enemy in a Steve Jobs presentation is not a competitor, or one competitor, it's, could be a category of problems in need of a solution.

So, when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone in 2007, he didn't just point to one villain, but a problem among all the villains, in need of a solution.

Watch as he outlines the problem, and offers a solution, all in two minutes.

Take a view of that slide. We're gonna get back to something like that. What do you notice about those slides, by the way? Simple, visual.

Do you notice what he did?

He did three things. He informed, he educated, and he had fun at the same time.

Information, Education, and entertainment.

All in two minutes.

I find that quite extraordinary. Very few communicators have that skill.

But you need to begin by asking yourself, what problem do I solve?

What problem do I solve? What's the villain here? And then you can offer the solution.

Enter the hero.

The solution better sell a benefit, though.

What's the benefit behind it?

People want to know, what's in it for me?

I read this in journalism 101.

Let me show you an example of how we sell the benefit in some of my clients.

At CES this year,

Intel launched a new micro processor,

it's called Sandy Bridge, that's the code name.

Sandy Bridge actually, is the largest, biggest technological leap in Intel's history. It's a big deal for Intel, and it's a big deal for consumers.

Here's the technical definition.

Sandy Bridge is based on the 32 manometer

manufacturing process. It's processing cores feature hyper

threading and turbo boost technology.

Are any of you inspired and excited about running

out today to buy one of these new computers?

That's powerful stuff though.

That's actually technology that's going to improve your life significantly.

But I don't see nobody's interested yet.

Okay, let's try this.

What if you walked into a Best Buy and somebody said something

Like think of the micro processor as the

brain of your computer.

Now with these Intel chips you get two

brains in one computer.

It's the fastest chip on the market.

What does that mean to you?

Video games, will look amazingly realistic.

You'll be able to transfer video and upload it to YouTube much more quickly. In fact, what took four minutes to encode will now take 30 seconds.

And finally, it's much more energy efficient.

That means you'll get much longer battery life.

So the next time any of you are looking for a new computer, do you think you're gonna ask for this new generation Intel processor?

Do you think you'll want it now?



I just, I, what I told you earlier is exactly the same thing. It was exactly the same thing, but I changed the messaging.

Instead of focusing on the chip and its features, what would the features do for you.

Sell the benefit.

Introduce the hero which is your product, your service, your company, but you better tell me why I need it and how it will improve my life.

What was the big question when Steve Jobs

introduced the iPad?

A lot of people were skeptical.

They said, they asked themselves well why

do I need another device?

He informs, he educates, and he entertains.

When's the last time you laughed at a presentation or had fun with it?

That takes courage, but it also takes thought. You need to answer the question before you even open your slides, why should my

audience care?

Because that's the only question on their minds.

They don't really care about your technology or your features.

Or the commission that you need to make. They don't care about any of that. They just wanna know what's in it for me.

Why should I care?

Answer that.

Don't leave them guessing.

Now I know many of you, at least the first

years, unless I'm mistaken, are taking a lot of quantitative courses.

That true? Yup, a lot of heavy financial courses this year.

Let's talk about something then.

Bringing numbers to life. Steve Jobs will rarely introduce a datapoint, a statistic

without putting it into some kind of context that people can understand.

So for example in 2001 when Steve Jobs introduced the iPod

for the first time he said it had five gigabytes of storage.

Five gigabytes of storage.

I mean I know what is it today many of you

might have purchased the latest one, 160 gigs or something like that?

But it was five gigs in 2001. What does that mean to anybody?

Five gigabytes of storage, okay?

That's not that interesting, I'm not even sure what it means.

Oh, it meant 1,000 songs.

Storage capacity for 1,000 songs.

Now it's more interesting, but Steve Jobs goes one step further.

It's 1,000 songs in your pocket. Now I'm in interested.

Now I'm inspired.

Steve Jobs does this all the time.

As do all the other executives at Apple.

I've seen many other presentations as well.

It's very affective.

Don't just throw out a big number without putting it into some kind of context that is relatable to me and my life.

Cisco has the same type of challenge. Cisco makes big routers and switches that nobody ever sees so they've become very good at putting big numbers into perspective and making them very interesting.

Last year, Cisco released a CRS3 router.

Capable of handling 322 terabytes per second.

It's a big number isn't it.

Not very interesting, just sounds like a big number. So, when John Chambers, the CEO, was giving presentations on it, in every presentation, and in every interview, he rarely even used the number 322 terabits, but he did say powerful enough to stream every movie ever made in four minutes.

Powerful enough to download the entire Library of Congress in one second.

That's interesting. That actually got picked up by a lot of mainstream

press who otherwise would have no business covering a Cisco router.

But he made it interesting.

Put numbers into perspective. Bring numbers to life.

I just want to introduce that concept for

you because I know a lot of you are taking those sort of, those classes in your first year.

What have I been doing in the last few slides?

I've been trying to keep them as simple as possible and as visual as possible.

When you are creating slides it helps to

think visually.

How many of you give PowerPoints, create

It's a beautiful program. Very refined program. All my clients use PowerPoint. 97% of us use PowerPoint so I tend

to use PowerPoint as well for compatibility reasons.

But this goes beyond PowerPoint. I have seen really awful keynote presentations as well I, so I don't think it's some much the presentation software as much as it is how to tell the story using the


I think what happens is Microsoft and PowerPoint

sort of make it easy to be mediocre.

This is what it does.

It forces you to create a title slide and then add bullets and more bullets and sub bullets until you are really in the weeds. And oh, there, there's empty space. We can't have that. So, let me add some cheesy clip art. And, you know I'm an MBA, so I need to add a chart and a squiggly line, and there you have it the worlds ugliest slide at least, so I thought when I first created that slide, until I saw this [LAUGH].

That's a real slide.

This was delivered in the US, among the US military commanders.

And one general actually said, he actually said this, if I can understand this slide, we'll have won the war.

So, I thought I could make a really bad PowerPoint, when I wanted to, but this stops it.

There's no way I can compete.

That is a bad Powerpoint slide.

What's the difference?

What's the difference?

The difference is that a slide in a Steve Jobs presentation simply complements the messenger, its Steve Jobs telling the story, Steve Jobs is the narrator, think of the sort of a broadway play.

Because he is very theatrical. Steve Jobs is the central figure. The narrator. The slides are in the back drop. That's all they do. It serve to compliment the story.

The average PowerPoint slide has 40 words.

It is difficult to find 40 words in ten slides in a Steve Jobs presentations.

You will get words and text and images as well.

There's a reason for this whether he's doing this consciously

or not neuroscientists will tell you there's something called picture superiority.

It simply means that when information is delivered.

Verbally, people will remember about 10% of the information.

Add a picture or an image, retention goes

up to 65%.

In fact, too many words on slide is actually very difficult for the brain to process because, according to John Medina who I talk to.

The brain interprets every letter as a

picture, so

what happens is the brain is literally choking on text.

Now, some of you, the more thoughtful ones, the

smart MBAs are thinking to themselves well I can read.

It doesn't bother me when I'm reading.

Yeah now try reading, and have somebody

else talk to you at the same time.

Can you process both?


So, why do we expect people to do so when we're giving PowerPoint presentations?

Let's create wordy slides with a hundred words on them, and I'm gonna tell you something really complicated, and I'm gonna expect you to concentrate on either one. It doesn't work.

What does Steve Jobs do?

Let me create, let me create a really ugly slide around the Macbook Air.

This, I think, would have been a typical slide, but, again, after looking at that other PowerPoint, this looks like genius.

Those of you who are looking at

this closely can tell there's different fonts sizes, different sizes of shapes, there a little clip art, because, God forbid we have empty space.

This gives you all of the details about the Macbook Air.

Well when Steve Jobs and his team were trying to decide, how do we communicate the vision behind this computer in a way that everybody's

gonna remember,

and how do we do that in the slide?

They came up with this.

It's so thin, it fits inside one of those


Why do we need any text on that?

What's more interesting?

What's more memorable?

This or that?

But this takes thought. See this doesn't take a lot of thought.

This you just throw a bunch of words on the slide.

That takes, practice, thought, research ahead of time.

So think, visually.

And in order to think visually guess what, you've

got to start like this, sketching, brain storming, white boarding.

Before you open up the slides.

Visual slides help in creating what's called a holy smokes moment.

This is that one moment in a presentation that everybody's going to remember.

Everybody remembers when Steve Jobs pulled the Macbook Air, out of the envelope.

At least everybody who is was in the audience that day.

John Medina taught me, he said Carmine, the brain does not pay attention, to boring things.

So don't make it boring.

When the brain detects, an emotionally

charged event.

Anger, fear, surprise.

It actually releases DOPAMINE in the system, acting as a mental post-it note, saying remember


Create that one moment of surprise.

Steve Jobs did, so when he introduced the iPhone. He could have come out.

And said hey, we're really excited today to introduce this new technology.

Pretty entertaining, isn't it?

What's the Twitter friendly headline from that presentation?

Today Apple reinvents the phone.

That was on their press release, on their website, and in the presentation.

What's the one thing you want me to remember?

When you create visual presentations or you think about how to move away from the slides in order to create these emotionally charged events, it helps to think about it this way what's a multi sensory experience I can create that has

absolutely nothing to do with the slides sometimes the most memorable parts of a presentation.

Are not about what's on the slide, and yet we spend 98%

of our time getting the fonts just right and the right images.

Often times we gotta think about how to connect with people beyond the slide.

Bill Gates has been doing a very good job of this.

Bill Gates is now the world's largest philanthropist,

and he has the challenge of talking about global problems, very complicated problems, in simple to understand language, which has been doing very, very well.

Last year he gave a talk about reducing childhood deaths in Malaria.

The most memorable part of his presentation, one that

went viral, had nothing to do with his


Although the slides were beautifully created, they were very visual. A lot of images.

Very powerful slides.

But the most memorable part of his presentation was multi sensory.

It went beyond the slides. He created a multi-sensory experience.

It was a memorable experience, and he got people to laugh about a serious subject like malaria, but he made it memorable.

And I know as a fact that he's always thinking, about how to communicate these very difficult issues in a way that people can understand.

Now there's one other topic I just want to introduce to you briefly.

I'm not gonna go into it.

We could do a whole half day workshop on this, but we're not going to today.

I just want to introduce it to you because it's important.

You can have all these things. You create a great PowerPoint presentation, great messaging, you've got a hero and a


But you have it to deliver well.

You have to deliver effectively. This is called mastering stage presence. Great communicators all have great presence.

This is an important statistic, 65%, 65% of the impression that you leave on someone has little to do with your message.

It has to do with your facial expressions. Your verbal delivery, your body language.

There are three things that you can do today, that will help

you stand out from the vast majority of public speakers and communicators.

Number one, eye contact. Make eye contact 80, 90% of the time.

That's why I don't like it when people have too many notes to read from.

Where if you put too many words on the slide, you're breaking eye contact.

Steve Jobs rarely breaks eye contact.

He will turn to a display, bring something up, and turn back to the audience.

Open posture, open simply means there's nothing in between me and you.

If I had delivered this presentation exactly the same way, but I had done

so like this, the whole time, would that have left a different impression on you?


It's the same content?

Because 65% of the impression I'm leaving on you, has little to do with the content.

And also hand gestures.

Use hand gestures.

I'm Italian, so it's easy for me to use hand gestures.

But it's okay. Researchers are finding that complex thinkers use complex gestures.

A lot of people will ask me what do I do with my hands, do I keep them in my


Take them out, be animated. Be animated in voice and in body. And finally, let's wrap all this together.

Never forget that you are selling dreams, not products, because your customers do not care about your company.

They don't care about your product or your serviced, but they do care about themselves. Their hopes, their goals, their dreams, their ambitions. Help them achieve their dreams and you'll inspire them. You'll win them over. Steve Jobs has always been in the business of selling dreams.

When he first got together with Wozniak in the spare bedroom of his parents house in 1974.

That's actually where it started, not the garage, they were just playing with


And Steve Jobs had a vision.

He said, I would love to make computers that are easy to use for everyday people.

He was always selling dreams.

In 1997, remember that I told you that he had returned to Apple, after being away for about 12 years.

He returned to Apple.

In his first major presentation the following year, he paused at the end of his presentation and reminded people. of what Apple stood for as a brand.

It's very powerful moment.

But you see what he's doing, he's focusing on the customer, and their needs and their hopes and their goals.

He's always thinking differently about how to communicate, and articulate the vision behind his products.

He's not just selling computers.

And now, in true Steve Jobs fashion, those of you who

have seen Steve Jobs' presentations know that he always ends with.

One more thing.

That one thing that typically's the most important product introduction.

Let me just leave you with that one more

thing today.

Don't let the bozos get you down.

There will always be naysayers and skeptics, and people who don't believe in your idea or believe in your dreams.

Don't let them dissuade you.

Imagine what one young man must have thought when he heard things like, we don't need you. You haven't gotten through college yet.

Get your feet off my desk, get out of here, you stink, and we're not gonna buy your product.

Or there's no reason why anybody would want a computer in their home. As you can guess by now Steve Jobs heard all of these things.

Didn't stop him.

When a Disney executive who's role it was to revitalize the Disney stores asked Steve Jobs for advice Steve said dream bigger.

That's my advice to you.

Dream bigger.

So that's my advice to you folks today.

Dream bigger, see genius in your craziness, believe in yourself, believe in your ideas, and above all, deliver and communicate those ideas with confidence, clarity, and passion. Because it's those ideas that are going to change the world.

Thanks you,


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