8 Things Presenters Can Learn from Stevenotes in 2024
Last updated on October 31st, 2023
The late Steve Jobs is remembered for many things. He was known for being the former CEO of the tech giant Apple, for his signature style of designer black turtleneck and jeans, and for his popular keynote presentations (aptly called “Stevenotes”) that were watched by millions around the globe. Steve Jobs was a prolific public speaker, and anyone who wants to improve their presentation skills can learn a thing or two from the tech genius.
Steve Jobs’ presentation skills were phenomenal, and yet these skills did not arise from thin air. The tricks that Jobs used for his keynotes can be emulated and applied to any other type of important presentation, be it for marketing a new product or driving home a key idea. In this article, we share with you 8 tips that you can learn from Stevenotes to create more impactful presentations.
What are Stevenotes?
Stevenotes are what Apple fans endearingly called the keynote presentations given by Steve Jobs during his stint as Apple CEO. At these Stevenotes presentations, Jobs introduced many of the most important Apple releases during the much-awaited events like the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference and Macworld Expo. Products like the iPod, the iPhone, and Apple TV were all first shown to the public at these presentations.
Millions and millions were tuned in to watch Steve Jobs speak at these events, not only because of what he was presenting but also because of how he presented it. People who witnessed a Steve Jobs presentation for the first time often described it as an extraordinary experience. And enticed by his presentations, long-time Apple enthusiasts and newly minted fans come flocking to Apple stores to get their hands on the newest releases.
These highly anticipated Stevenotes had largely contributed to the marketing success of Apple, owing to Steve Jobs’ compelling public speaking skills that held a lot of influence over listeners. Here are a few key takeaways that you can learn to give a wowing presentation like Steve Jobs.
1. Be passionate about your topic.
Steve Jobs was incredibly passionate about the groundbreaking technologies that they were creating at Apple, and it showed whenever he was presenting a new product. You could hear the enthusiasm in his voice and his words, and this electric energy is shared with the audience.
As a presenter, you are the one in charge of setting the level of energy in the room. Your audience’s enthusiasm will depend on the enthusiasm that you bring to your presentation. When you are determined and passionate about what you’re presenting, your listeners are more inclined to listen and have a stronger and more positive reaction to your presentation.
2. Establish a theme.
Cohesiveness is the key to not losing your audience and having them understand the narrative that you’re building, whether it’s a 20-minute marketing pitch or an hour-long tech presentation like Steve Jobs’. During his 2007 introduction of the iPhone, Jobs announced, “Today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone.” And throughout his presentation, he constantly repeated this phrase as he enumerated all the ways that they have done just so.
For your presentations, always have a central message or theme that you want to impart to your audience. Every part of your presentation must relate to that theme and reinforce the idea you’re trying to convey.
3. Make it visual.
Steve Jobs maximized the use of his presentation design by keeping it visual. His presentations were sleek and smartly used different visual elements to drive the narrative. To keep his presentations exciting, he used a variety of elements like pictures, videos, and even live demonstrations of the products onscreen.
An engaging presentation need not be dependent on any block of text, and instead must be a visual showcase. We have a collection of the best free PowerPoint templates to help you create a stylish and effective presentation for your various needs.
4. Use the rule of threes.
The rule of threes is an age-old rule that remains powerful today in making your speech more memorable and impactful. Three is just the perfect number to use when presenting ideas to make them stick better in your audience’s heads.
Take a cue from Steve Jobs who loved to use the rule of threes. He introduced the iPad 2 as “thinner, lighter, and faster”. He presented the iPhone as three different products – an iPod, a phone, and an Internet communications device.
Whenever possible, apply the rule of threes to your presentation. Divide a presentation into three parts, list down a product’s three benefits, or describe something in three powerful words.
5. Tell interesting stories.
Steve Jobs completely transformed the tech presentation from a boring speech into a full-on, engaging show. And he did so by going about his presentation like a story, filled with heroes, villains, and a storyline to take the audience on a journey.
Going back to the rule of threes, you can use the three-act formula to structure your presentation, like so:
- The setup. Introduce the problem, and establish why your listeners should care about what you’re presenting. Start with why, and set the audience’s expectations.
- The confrontation. Bring out the hero, like your company’s new product or service. Show how the hero is solving the problem and what actions were taken to achieve this.
- The resolution. Resolve the conflict, and reestablish how your hero is standing up and solving the problem.
6. Have fun with it.
Every Stevenote was so magnetic to watch because it was clear that you were in for a good time. Steve Jobs presented Apple’s technologies with zeal and a lighthearted nature, appealing to the power of a good laugh to make his presentations more impactful. Jobs had a lot of fun every time he gave a keynote, evident from his choice of words, the sprinkle of witty remarks, and his entertaining demonstrations.
Different settings call for different levels of formality. But no matter how formal the setting is, it’s always important to enjoy what you’re presenting and to make sure that your audience is enjoying as well.
7. “One more thing…”
Steve Jobs believed in a strong ending, and in almost every Stevenote, he would suddenly say “And there’s one more thing…” just as he was about to leave the stage. Then he would announce a completely new product to keep everyone on their toes, even at the very end of the presentation.
The ending of your presentation must not be taken for granted because this is usually what the audience remembers most. Even if you don’t have “one more thing” up your sleeve like Steve Jobs, leverage on your ending by recalling all of your main points, or ending with a powerful quote.
8. Prepare, prepare, prepare.
Steve Jobs’ presentations may seem so fluid and effortless, but it’s actually a product of hours and hours of practice. He was known to prepare for more than 4 hours as he reviews every slide and demonstration, and even more hours to rehearse his script on the stage. A Stevenote presentation flows smoothly and effortlessly because it was well-rehearsed.
Preparation is the number one thing that transforms a good presentation into a great one. Know your topic by heart, learn your slides inside out, and practice speaking in front of an audience. With enough preparation, you will be able to embody the Stevenote into your own presentation.
Steve Jobs remains to be one of the most influential personalities when it comes to public speaking, with his Stevenote style studied and copied by several aspiring presenters out there. There is a reason for the Think Different slogan that was used by Apple for decades. There are countless things that can be learned and emulated from Steve Jobs’ presentations, and the 8 we’ve presented here are just but a few of them. By learning from the greats like Steve Jobs, we can hope to improve our own presentations in our respective fields.