Created :
May 4, 2023
|Updated :
May 9, 2023
Written By :
Rohit Wankhade

How To Be A Master Presenter?: 5 Lessons from Steve Jobs

Table of Contents
    Want to improve your Communication Skills?
    Get a Personal Coach and Speak Fluent English in less than 3 months. Start by taking a 60 minutes Private Counselling Session to know your current English level. (Counselling session costs Rs 499, but the fee is 100% refundable if you don't like the session - No Questions Asked)
    Book Counselling

    Steve Jobs as the cofounder of Apple, completely changed the way we use computers and technology.

    But, besides being a genius entrepreneur, he was also known as a master presenter.

    Steve Jobs’ speech at Stanford Commencement Address is one of the most watched speeches on the internet.

    People would wait for the presentation from Steve Jobs as much as for a new product from Apple.

    In this blog, you’ll learn 05 techniques and practices Steve Jobs used to deliver memorable presentations. We'll be looking at the things he did to make his talks engaging, interesting, and persuasive.

    So, let's jump right in and learn how to present like Steve Jobs!

    Steve Jobs Presenting At an Event


    • Simplify the Message
    • Use Visuals Effectively
    • A Compelling Story
    • Engage the Audience
    • Practice
    • Final Thoughts

    1. Simplify The Message

    In 2001, when Apple launched iPod, Steve Jobs did not begin with its technical specifications, storage capacity, or battery life in his presentation.

    Instead, he conveyed a simple message, “A thousand songs in your pocket.”

    Steve Jobs at iPod launch presentation.

    Steve Jobs had a great ability to simplify complex messages.

    He used straightforward language to break down complex ideas into bite-sized pieces, making them more accessible to the audience.

    Your audience will tune out of your presentation if they find your ideas difficult to follow.

    Clarity is the most important aspect of any effective presentation.

    Now, simplifying your core message may take many iterations.

    • First, identify your main idea and distill it into its essence.
    • Consider what your audience needs to know.
    • Avoid technical jargon or complex vocabulary.
    • Use analogies or metaphors to explain ideas.

    For example, let's say you're delivering a presentation to your company's executives about the importance of cybersecurity.

    The message you want to convey is that cybersecurity is critical for protecting the company's sensitive information and reputation.

    You could phrase it like, “Our company's security and reputation are at risk without strong cybersecurity measures in place.”

    When you distill your message down to its essence, you will communicate what’s most important to the audience. So your speech becomes clear, concise, and memorable.

    2. Use Visuals Effectively

    Steve Jobs was a master at using visuals to enhance his message. His keynotes always included clever slides that grabbed his audience's attention.

    To create powerful visuals for your own presentations, start by focusing on simplicity.

    Avoid cluttering your slides with too much text or unnecessary details.

    Remember that your visuals should complement your message, not detract from it.

    Jobs understood that the average PowerPoint slide has too much text. He always used minimal text and instead relied on images and diagrams.

    For example, in his iPhone presentation, Steve Jobs’ PPT used a total of nineteen words in the first three minutes.

    These words were spread across about twelve slides, each of which had a single image or a simple diagram.

    Steve Jobs at the first iPhone launch presentation.

    During the presentation of Apple's new phone, Steve Jobs declared with great enthusiasm,

    "Today, we are going to reinvent the phone."

    This statement was highlighted in a slide with the headline, "Apple reinvents the phone."

    Additionally, in his famous iPod launch presentation, he used a series of slides that showed the evolution of music players over time, leading up to the unveiling of the iPod.

    Overall, the use of clever slides was a key factor in Jobs' success as a presenter.

    By keeping your slides simple, visual, and engaging, you will capture the audience's attention.

    3. A Compelling Story

    Steve Jobs always worked hard on how he would convey the content in his presentation.

    He was a master storyteller. Jobs often used elements of storytelling to keep his audience engaged.

    In every great story, there is a hero and a villain.

    Steve Jobs' 2007 presentation had both. Jobs explained why the world needed another mobile phone from Apple.

    He first introduced a villain —  the problem of regular cell phones being hard to use.

    Then, Jobs explained the iPhone would be super easy to use. The hero was the new multi-touch user interface that worked like magic. It was super smart, and users could perform multi-finger gestures.

    Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone

    All Steve Job presentations would have a narrative arc with a distinct beginning, middle, and end. This approach helped him keep his audience hooked.

    To tell a compelling story in your own presentation,

    • Use specific details and vivid language.
    • Build suspense through foreshadowing or withholding information.
    • Add unexpected twists or turns to your story.
    • Use humor to break up the monotony.
    • Use visuals or props to illustrate your story.
    • Share a personal experience or anecdote.

    Remember, telling a compelling story is all about making a connection with your audience. So, be yourself, have fun, and let your personality shine through!

    4. Engage the Audience

    Steve Jobs was a master at engaging his audience. He knew how to use humor, suspense, and surprise to make his presentations memorable.

    Steve Jobs would engage the audience in three ways.

    • Create curiosity about a product at the beginning.
    • Reveal the product.
    • Inspire the audience at the end.
    The audience engaged in a speech.

    Before revealing a product, Jobs would create immense curiosity among the audience right from the opening statement.

    For example, he started his 2007 iPhone launch with,

    “This is a day I have been looking forward to for two and a half years.”

    Just before revealing the product, he piqued the curiosity with his humor. He teased the audience by showing a picture of an iPod with a rotary dial attached. This created excitement and anticipation among the audience.

    Humor can help you connect with your audience and break the ice. Use it strategically to lighten the mood and keep your audience engaged.

    And at the end, he shared a quote to leave the audience uplifted and inspired. He said, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”

    Remember that your audience is there to hear what you have to say but also to be entertained and informed. Make sure you have their attention and keep it throughout your presentation.

    5. Practice

    What is the secret of good presentation?

    Practice, practice, and practice!

    Steve Jobs was known for his intense preparation for keynotes.

    He would spend weeks rehearsing and refining his presentations. He knew every detail of every demo and slide, which helped him deliver a flawless presentation.

    People might think Jobs was naturally smooth. It was his hours of practice that made him look polished, casual, and effortless.

    Steve Jobs in a rehearsal session.

    During a presentation, Steve Jobs’ clicker stopped working. Even after a couple of attempts, it didn’t work. Jobs did not panic or show any awkwardness.

    In fact, Steve Jobs laughed at it and quickly shared a small anecdote about his friend Steve Wozniak.

    He recalled how Steve and he used to pull a prank with the TV jammer that they invented.

    The problem was fixed, and he smoothly got back to the presentation.

    Now, such confidence comes from intense preparation.

    To practice effectively for your own presentations,

    • Start by rehearsing your material multiple times until you are comfortable with it.
    • Try practicing in front of a mirror or recording yourself on the video to identify flaws.
    • Practice in front of a live audience to get feedback and refine your presentation.

    By putting in the time and effort to perfect your presentation, you will be better equipped to deliver a powerful and memorable message to your audience.

    One effective way to improve your presentation is to practice with a personal coach. If you are looking to learn from a communication expert, BBR English is the right place.

    We offer live 1:1 sessions on public speaking with an expert. In these interactive sessions, you’ll discover techniques to improve your delivery, body language, vocal variety, structure, and much more. With feedback from corporate experts, you’ll master your presentation skills in no time.

    Book a counseling session now and start becoming a better presenter today

    Final Thoughts

    Steve Jobs’ leadership and presentation style left an indelible mark on the world of business. By studying his techniques, you will become a more effective communicator.

    Remember, the ability to communicate effectively is a valuable skill that can make all the difference in your career.

    Whether you're giving a sales pitch, a TED talk, or a job interview, the principles of presentation mastery that Steve Jobs embodied will help you succeed.

    If you want to be a great presenter like Steve Jobs, you have to put in the work.

    According to Ken Kocienda's book Creative Selection, there is an anecdote about how Jobs readied himself for the MacWorld 2003 keynote, which marked the debut of the Safari Web browser by Apple.

    I will leave you with an anecdote to inspire you.

    “Three weeks or a month before the keynote itself, Steve would start rehearsing with portions of his slide deck in some venue at Apple, often in Town Hall, the auditorium on the Infinite Loop campus. Slowly, day by day, he would build the show by stepping through it as he wanted to present it at the keynote. This was one of Steve's great secrets of success as a presenter. He practiced. A lot. He went over and over the material until he had the presentation honed, and he knew it was cold.

    When Steve spoke to a slide, he went fully into his keynote persona. His tone of voice, his stance, his gestures, everything was exactly as if he were presenting to a packed house. For as long as everything proceeded to his satisfaction, he kept going. As needed, he stopped, stepped out of character, reduced the volume of his voice, and asked executives seated in the front row, like Phil Schiller, the company's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, what they thought of some turn of phrase or whether they believed ideas flowed together smoothly.

    Feedback received, Steve would pause quite deliberately for a second or two, go back into character, and resume his keynote persona.”

    Thank you for reading!

    Let us know your thoughts on this post in the comment section.

    Table of Contents
      Want to improve your Communication Skills?
      Get a Personal Coach and Speak Fluent English in less than 3 months. Start by taking a 60 minutes Private Counselling Session to know your current English level. (Counselling session costs Rs 499, but the fee is 100% refundable if you don't like the session - No Questions Asked)
      Book Counselling
      May 9, 2023
      | By :
      Rohit Wankhade
      A Guide To Vocal Variety: How To Break a Monotone Voice? (08 Tips)
      Discover the power of your voice to engage your audience. Learn 08 proven techniques to improve the vocal variety and break a monotone voice.
      May 9, 2023
      | By :
      Rohit Wankhade
      007 Insider Tips: How To Present Like A TED Talk Speaker?
      Learn what makes TED talks so effective. Discover 07 expert tips to deliver your next presentation like a Ted talk speaker.
      May 9, 2023
      | By :
      Rohit Wankhade
      All About Imposter Syndrome: Overcome That Feeling of Being a Fraud (7 Tips)
      Learn how to beat imposter syndrome with 7 proven strategies and take control of your life in this comprehensive guide.
      May 9, 2023
      | By :
      Rohit Wankhede
      Tell Me About Yourself: Tips To Deliver Powerful Self-Introduction (With Examples)
      Want to nail your self-introduction? Learn how to be concise, clear, and interesting with these tips and examples. Make a lasting impression!