The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs is a book that a speechwriter can love. Gallo quotes from sources such as Nancy Duarte's slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations and Garr Reynolds' Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery . He even has a sidebar on JFK speechwriter Ted Sorensen's influence on Barack Obama titled, "What the World's Greatest Speechwriters Know."
The message of this book is that Jobs' extraordinary impact is based on his authenticity and his passion for his company's people and products. Most presenters can't claim to be the CEO of an archetypically cool Silicon Valley company.
Neither can they get away with wearing faded jeans, sneakers and a turtleneck onstage. But simply everyone with a product or service that improves people's lives has a story to tell. Gallo's book explains in detail how Jobs presents his story so that his passion shines through and ignites the audience. It's Gallo's claim that anyone can learn how to deliver an "insanely great" presentations.
The "secrets" that make Jobs so effective onstage include the usual stage tips taught by presentation coaches: Make eye contact with the audience, use vocal variety and know the power of a well-timed pause. But the majority of the book analyzes the structure, rather than the delivery techniques, of major keynotes Jobs has given at Macworld and elsewhere over the years. This makes the book of inestimable value for anyone who needs to understand the nuts and bolts of writing a speech.
When Steve Jobs takes to the stage he often tells dramatic stories, so it's appropriate that the book itself is structured as a three-act play. Act 1 tells how to create the story, Act 2 tells how to deliver it, and Act 3 stresses the importance of rehearsal. Gallo adds "Director's Notes" that summarize each chapter (or scene), and he introduces a cast of supporting characters.
Organizing the book in this way also reinforces the importance of telling a story in three parts; of delivering a speech with three messages. In fact, Gallo concedes, the chapter on the effectiveness of breaking a speech into three "could easily have become the longest in the book."
The book is a playbook for writing a great speech. Jobs and his team start scripting a speech long before firing up PowerPoint or, in their case, Keynote software. They settle on an attention-grabbing headline ("The world's thinnest notebook"); then they decide on the three key messages; develop analogies and metaphors; and scope out demonstrations, video clips and cameo guest appearances.
Next they develop the "plot" of the speech, setting up an antagonist (Microsoft or IBM in the early days), dressing up numbers and including plenty of "amazingly zippy" words. Finally, they script a memorable "holy smokes" moment that people will talk about long after the event ends. The slides they eventually create are heavy on images and light on text and bullet points.
Live action video
A book alone will go only so far. If you've never actually seen Jobs present in person, then you haven't experienced the "reality-distortion field" his charisma and eloquence creates in the auditorium. Gallo has this covered.
The book's end notes provide URLs for some of the 47,000 [...] video clips showcasing Jobs and clearly demonstrating the techniques discussed. Viewing the videos compensates for the poor-quality monochrome photos of Jobs onstage-the one disappointment in the book.
Learning from his mistakes
To counteract any feelings of inadequacy you might have after watching Jobs deliver a flawless keynote, do a quick search on YouTube for "Apple Bloopers" and you'll see that, even for Steve Jobs, things don't always go well onstage. Demos fail, screens freeze, and he stumbles over words. But as with any masterful presenter, Jobs remains calm.
Even if the speeches you write or deliver are not destined for "insane" greatness, they'll be much, much, better for having read Carmine Gallo's insanely great book.
Too bad I bought the Kindle version. I love writing in margins and highlighting in yellow.
I'm not just reading this book; I'm devouring it. I'm condensing it to use in my work, especially my writing, but also in my presentations. In fact, I'm going to use this stuff in debates at the conference table during a meeting and blow away the people who torment me. They're doomed to humiliation. Toast, I tell you.
Create stories. Intro the villain. Talk in threes.
Send in the hero to solve the problem and banish the villain. Above all, always remember (and don't ever forget) people don't care about you, your product, your needs . . . as much as they care about themselves. So don't bore them about you, your mission, your data.
So. Give people personal reasons to read your writing, to listen to your presentation, to buy your product. Let them know why they should care. Make them fear to be left out of your influence. Remember, it's all about them.
All this, and I'm only a third way through the book. Forget about Steven Jobs and computers and PowerPoint. This book transcends all those things to get to the elegant simplicity in how to reach out and recruit people to your side. Already, I've hit upon the secret to why writing works, why it sells and why no writing book I know of has ever attacked the problem from Carmine Gallo's POV. So I'm writing about it (elsewhere). It's not about the writer, not about the written or spoken product, even. It's about the reader, the listener, the customer, the you you should care about recruiting.
More than care, I love, love, love the useful insights of this book. I got a book of my own out of this book that's so powerful because it takes its own advice.
Oh, and I almost forgot. Be passionate.
PS: I'm not Carmine's uncle or anything. I don't know him, can't vouch for him (to borrow a line from Fargo). Not a shill here, just a guy who hasn't run across a book this useful in a long time.
In the past few years, I've found myself in situations where I have to (oh my) stand up and (uh-oh) say something to a group of strangers. I'm confident about a lot of things, but when it comes to presentations and talking to a crowd, my skill could be fit on a dime. On the thin edge. (How nervous was I? I once stood up to talk and fainted dead away. Really passed out, flat on the floor. Now THAT was a bad moment.) So, once I decided that it was time to get better at this, it made sense to learn presentation skills from someone whose "get the point across" ability has inspired fandom and business success; I picked up Carmine Gallo's book at the library.
For, no matter what you think of Apple or Steve Jobs, he is probably one of the best presenters of our generation. I've attended a few of his Macworld keynotes; I personally know what it feels like to be wrapped around his little finger. In fact, I'd argue that if you DON'T like Jobs or Apple, you should make a point of reading this book. If Apple has succeeded only through this guy's ability to convince people to buy the (in your view) wrong/over-priced products, then it behooves you to learn how he does it... because just think what you could do if you had the RIGHT product/message to communicate along with these presentation skills.
I looked forward to this book for the advice it might impart for how to improve my "make better slides" and "stand up in front of people" skills, but I got something more: a wonderful, put-it-to-use treatise about good leadership, and passion, and what it takes to make people want to listen to you. Because, obviously, if they aren't listening, they aren't following you or the strategy you propose.
Absolutely, the book delivers on its promise: There is PLENTY of information to help you learn how to improve your presentations, from identifying "the one question that matters most" to using slides as the supporting background to your pitch rather than as the "read off the slide" body of the message. The major Aha! moment for many presenters, I think, is that Steve Jobs never uses bullets. Ever. The book made me realize just how often people try to shove the kitchen sink onto a slide rather than underscore "the point I'll be making as I speak aloud;" instead, Gallo points out, Jobs communicates three things, and doesn't try to identify every product feature. (This also applies to beginners' efforts at writing articles or other essays, though that's not a point Gallo stresses.)
Nearly every presenter's task is examined. Gallo has an entire chapter explaining how to dress up your numbers by using analogies and by putting them into context, for instance. He shows how to control how others perceive your announcement or message by creating Twitter-like headlines. The book is chock-full of examples (not all from Jobs' presentations, so you can see how other accomplished presenters succeed with the same methods) and each chapter summarizes the key messages to take away. Gallo analyzes Jobs' presentations (largely Macworld keynotes; he invites you to follow along on YouTube), showing both Steve's words and Steve's slides. The book is immensely readable. Even better, I figured out what my presentation weakness is, and now I know how to overcome it.
It'd be worth reading this book just for that... but to my happy surprise, Gallo doesn't look only at Jobs-on-stage for his advice on "how to be insanely great in front of any audience." For example, he spends quite a bit of time discussing how Jobs has -- and imparts -- a messianic sense of purpose. Jobs' presentations don't aim to tell you about a product with new features; he communicates to the audience that by buying into his message, they are changing the world. People want to make a difference in the world, Gallo points out, and Jobs helps people believe they're doing that. "Ask yourself, 'What am I really selling?'" Gallo writes. "Here's a hint: It's not the widget, but what the widget can do to improve the lives of your customers. What you're selling is the dream of a better life. Once you identify your true passion, share it with gusto."
This is a really great book. It goes well beyond "how to give a presentation." I think it ought to be required reading for anyone whose job includes getting other people to agree to your strategy and ideas. And doesn't that mean anyone in business?
Today's business environment is so cluttered with messages, pitches, copy-cats, and general information overload that many new and fresh ideas sit in obscurity. The need for individuals to communicate and influence others is more critical in an age of sound bytes and 24/7 headlines.
Presenting your ideas with purpose and meaning is at the heart of Carmine Gallo's book, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How To Be Insanely Great In Front of Any Audience. Modeling off Steve Jobs (the icon), Gallo successfully deconstructs the formula for making any presentation a winner. Whether you're objective is to pitch a product or service, or advance your career, the simple elements described in the book can be applied by anyone at any level.
Gallo teaches you how to rise up through the noise. For example, he outlines the back-end processes such as planning with paper and pencil to craft your story. It's not about the beautiful PowerPoint slidedeck - it's about convincing people why they should care about you. Without that (mixed in with strong dose of personal passion) you go nowhere. In the workplace success goes to the evangelist who creates the roadmap that gets everyone's buy-in. This is true of leaders as well as individual contributors.
Gallo goes on to layout how to present information in digestible chunks suggesting the use of headlines and Twitter length messages to create key points that stick. In other words, if you build the experience they will come. Seems simple enough, but many of us trip over ourselves trying to get the task part of our pitch down and overlook the heart of the message. People gravitate to you when you can solve a problem and create a change and that's what Steve Jobs does and so can you.
My review copy of this book is riddled with highlighter and post-its. Every chapter has a plethora of gold knowledge nuggets that I will be practicing every chance I get. True to Gallo's style, the book is formatted with chapter end summaries (Director Notes) and an easy to follow flow and format. If you ever wanted to know how Steve Job captivates crowds, but more importantly, how to harness his techniques for your own success, read this book immediately!
I have been associated with Apple for eight years and have attended many of Steve Job's presentations. This man is a masterful presenter who knows how to lead his audience from dissatisfaction or satisfaction to genuine excitement. The analysis provided by the author captures the essence and specifics of Job's speaking brilliance.
As PowerPoint induces us to use bullets and numbers, this book gets you out of Power Point scheme and head you to the Steve Jobs way of presenting.
Some key learnings:
- Keep it simple
- The power of three
- The villain and the hero
- Story telling
Excellent book !!!
Awesome book. Thank you Carmine Gallo for writing it. I'm a teacher and I'm always looking for better ways to deliver information to a class and this book is perfect. Highly recommended. Part of the appeal for me is that I love my Apple products and I admire Steve Jobs and his presentation style and ability to sell you something (without ever feeling like you're being sold to) - He's the MASTER! He stands out from any other presenter I've seen and it's so great to have a book that analyses his style. Funny thing is I'm only halfway through the book but it keeps getting better and better and I know the rest will be amazing. Easy to read, well organised, and entertaining. I've only started to incorporate multimedia into my classes. I've learnt the technology late in my career but having this book and access to Steve Jobs's product launch videos on YouTube will give me an edge and help me use the technology in a much more effective way.
Thanks again Mr. Gallo.
Let's face it, few (if any) of those who read this book will then be "insanely great in front of any audience." That's not why Carmine Gallo wrote it. Rather, his purpose is to help his readers to present their ideas to anyone, anywhere, anytime "with the power of believing in themselves and in their story." Obviously, there are valuable lessons to be learned from what Steve Jobs does and how he does it. He brings so many resources to bear on each presentation. They include (1) a thorough understanding of the given subject, (2) a passionate interest in it, (3) rigorous and extensive preparation, (4) total self-confidence and physical presence that command attention, (5) brilliant insights that are thoroughly developed, and (6) sharp focus on what is most interesting and most important to the audience...and on nothing else. I have seen Jobs in action several times and can attest to the power and impact of what he says and how he says it.
Note: Visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hd_ptbiPoXM and upload his commencement speech at Stanford in 2005. Once you've seen and heard it, you will never forget it. You will also want to share it with recent school and college graduates.
Gallo cites a few tips early in his narrative. They may seem simple but don't be fooled. All of the greatest public speakers will tell you that it took them many years (about 10,000 hours) of deliberate practice to master them.
1. "Plan in Analog": Think of the presentation as a story that has a setting, a plot, characters, conflicts, increasing tensions because of unsolved problems and/or unanswered questions, a climax, and a brief concluding lesson.
2. "Answer the One Question That Matters Most": Those in the audience are asking the same question, "Why should I care." Disregard this question and you will lose the audience almost immediately.
3. "Develop a Messianic Sense of Purpose": Gallo notes that Jobs was worth more than $100 million by the time he was 25 and it didn't natter to him at all. That wasn't what he was about. "Understanding this one fact will help you unlock the secret behind Jobs's extraordinary charisma."
4. "Create Twitter-like Headlines": Develop headlines into 140-character sentences. Less is more.
5. "Draw a Road Map": Jobs effectively uses the most powerful principle of persuasion, The Rule of Three (i.e. three new products, three objectives, three barriers. three parts, three new features).
6. "Introduce the Antagonist": In each of Jobs's greatest presentations, he introduces a common enemy against which everyone unites, becomes emotionally engaged, prepares to do battle, agrees to make sacrifices, etc.
Note: It could be waste, a foreign country, the New York Yankees ("the Evil Empire"), a product, a competitor. Whatever.
7. "Reveal the Conquering hero": At each presentation, Jobs introduces a hero that the audience can rally around. It could be a person, a product, a goal, or a destination.
As I suggested earlier, few (if any) of those who read this book will then be "insanely great in front of any audience." However, there are valuable lessons to be learned from what Steve Jobs does and how he does it. I commend Carmine Gallo on his brilliant organization and presentation of so much material. As perhaps he would agree, much of his success as a writer is explained by how much he has learned from "an insanely great" role model.
McGraw Hill is sending me these incredible books. This one is a jewel for any one who gives presentations.
For quite some time Rocket Builders has been using techniques such as Gallo explains which we gleaned from watching Jobs and Obama perform, reading Guy Kawasaki's guide as well as Presentation Zen and Nancy Duarte's work. This one is a good easy to read book which benefits from the author, Gallo, being a journalist.(Are my preferences showing? )
You will learn the power of three as it helps you build up a framework to really communicate your story. He lays out the tips that the other pros espouse such as images before words and simplify simplify. Again we hear that the last thing you do is build your slides and just banish all bullets. You also see the famous readability index test that compares Jobs to Bill Gates. Jobs incredible work ethic wrto practising and delivery is also laid out for you. All this and more makes this a worthwhile investment to buy and read this book.
The first time I saw Jobs talking was a video of his Stanford address. Since then I have seen a few of his product launch videos and have been mesmerized by the way he carried himself. I brought this book about two weeks ahead of a major presentation with a client.I was given a two hour slot at 4PM on a Friday, a time when most people are well into their weekend .I badly needed some inspiration to do a good job.The book is well laid out , easy to read and the style of writing helps to recall a lot of stuff mentioned. I tried to employ most of the points mentioned in the book; changed a standard deck to incorporate the minimalistic, catchy and engaging style that is the hallmark of most of Jobs presentations. And practiced. I had an audience who sat through and engaged actively in discussions till 7PM that day !!. Good book which becomes better if you put the words into action at the first opportunity.