Steve Jobs Did It Again!

In the midst of the State of the Union address and the Republican response and the pundit spins, something else was unveiled this week – the iPad. Yes, as a Mac user I had anticipation about the next step in technological gadgetry in my (and maybe your) world. But more than that, I wanted to see Steve Jobs in action. And I have to tell you: Steve Jobs did it again!

iPad? Yes, very cool. Is that what Jobs did again? Well, partially but the iPad is not the topic of this writing. Jobs’ presentation skills are. And once again, Steve Jobs nailed it and anyone who does any kind of presentation could take a page out of the SJ playbook and be a better presenter.

It’s simple, really. Steve Jobs Presentation = Visuals. “Visual trumps all other senses,” says Dr. John Medina in his wonderful book, Brain Rules. Unlike other powerful and philanthropic technology gurus, Jobs understands that a presentation is nothing more than a learning tool. And people learn visually.

During the one and a half hours of the iPad rollout, Jobs spoke for roughly 30 minutes. In that time he might have had 30-40 slides (not sure because a good part of what he did was live demonstration). Every slide was dominantly visual and there might have been one, maybe two, that had more than 5-7 words on it. Words were only present to highlight the visual reference or give it more power. Yet even without the words, even without the bullet points, Jobs delivered the message.

Garr Reynolds, author of Presentation Zen, said this about the Jobs experience: “Jobs’s visuals are a big part of his talk. The visuals do not overpower him but they are a necessary component of the talk, not just ornamentation or notes to remind him what to say. Jobs uses the slides to help him tell a story and he interacts with them in a natural way, rarely turning his back on the audience. Jobs uses visuals and his own words and natural presence to tell his story.”

I’m not saying we’re all Steve Jobs, or even want to be. We don’t have the same monetary resources, the same adoring audience (although sometimes we do). We do, however, have the same opportunity to tell our story VISUALLY. Whomever said, “one picture is worth a thousand words,” may have had the math a little fuzzy but the point was clear: visuals work.

Whether your next presentation is electronic, from a portfolio, a manual or an easel you can present it in a way that will enhance learning, empower your story and allow you to deliver your message effectively – with visuals. Who knows, maybe you could show your next presentation on an iPad.

To learn more, pick up Garr Reynolds book, Presentation Zen, Nancy Duarte’s Slide:ology, or look for the next offering of my class Visual Chi and the Art of the Perfect Presentation.