11 Public Speaking Tips From the Tour’s Best Speakers & Conversation Experts [SlideShare]

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On January 9, 2007, Sam Jobs unveiled the iPhone with the most captivating product launches in history. Indeed the iPhone was a revolutionary product, but it was not the iPhone that inspired thousands of people to camp out in the cold over night. It was Jobs’ unique presentation style — which Apple fans known as a “Stevenote” — that helped make this among the most awe-inspiring, memorable keynotes ever delivered.

As Carmine Gallo puts it in his book, The Demonstration Secrets of Steve Job opportunities, Steve “transformed the typical, boring, technical, plodding slideshow in to a theatrical event complete with characters, villains, a supporting ensemble, and stunning backdrops. People who witness a Steve Work presentation for the first time describe this as an extraordinary experience. ”

Steve Jobs was one of the tour’s most captivating communicators. Even if you’re not the star of a highly anticipated product release or a best-selling author and entrepreneur, chances are, you’re going to be standing in front of an market at some point in your career.

Consider these lessons from the world’s most captivating presenters and communication experts and use them to your next presentation.

What Might Steve Jobs Do?

1 . Start with a clear information and purpose.

  “If you can’t write your message in the sentence, you can’t say this in an hour. ”


— Dianna Booher, Communication Expert

Chances are, if you don’t know elaborate most important for your audience to find out, they won’t either.

Don’t even begin your presentation without first understanding what, basically, you want the audience to consider away. This purpose and message becomes your guiding star. Once you can convey it in the simplest terms, you’ll be able to build from that foundation to support your factors.

2 . Begin on paper, not really PowerPoint.

  “The single most important thing you can do to dramatically improve your presentations is to have a story to tell before you focus on your PowerPoint file. ”


— Cliff Atkinson, Beyond Bullet Points

Think back to the last time you ready for a presentation. Did you start by outlining the story you should tell on paper? Did after this you gradually weave in significant data, examples, and supporting points, based on that outline? Did you have a clear unifying message that your audience would certainly remember even without the advantage of a transcript or records?

Chances are, you answered “no” to those questions. If you’re like the majority of people, you probably “prepared” by opening up PowerPoint the night just before your presentation, cobbling jointly a few dozen slides through decks you or your own colleagues have used in the past, peppering in a few stock photos, plus counting on your ability to “wing it” in person.

The planet’s most captivating communicators know better. They invest more time in the idea than the 35mm slides. Don’t sell yourself short by jumping head-first directly into presentation software. Take the time to considerately craft your story in writing before you even think about making a single slide.

3. Consider your presentation as a story.

  “Personal stories are the emotional glue that connects the audience to your message. ”


— Nancy Duarte, Communication Expert

Expert speakers cautiously, painstakingly plan, storyboard, script, design, and rehearse their presentations like an Oscar-winning Hollywood director prepares their film for the big screen. They’ve observed the impact that a thoroughly crafted story can have upon influencing an audience, and they also know that skipping this essential first step is what separates average communicators from outstanding ones.

According to Nancy Duarte, the communications expert behind Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth , presenters should dedicate approximately 30 hours to researching, organizing, sketching, storyboarding, scripting, and revising the story for a one-hour presentation.

4. Inform your story in 3 acts.

“The way something is presented can define the way you react to it. ”


— Neville Brody, Designer

Most presentations follow some variation on the subsequent format:

  1. Who I am 
  2. The things i do (or what the company does)
  3. How my product/company/idea is different
  4. Why you should buy/invest/support me now

The world’s most captivating communicators typically depend on a three-act structure, more common in modern storytelling within corporate conference rooms. The narrative is divided in to three parts — the particular setup, the confrontation, and the resolution — and comes complete with vivid characters, heroes, plus villains.

The following image supplies a snapshot of the three-act structure and which critical queries are answered for the target audience in each:

three-act story structure, which introduces the setup, the confrontation, and the resolution

Notice that this structure turns the typical presentation “flow” on its head.

Instead of following a THAT > WHAT > HOW > WHY flow, master communicators like Steve Jobs prefer a WHY > HOW > WHAT format:

  1. Why should the audience care
  2. How the idea/product will make their lives better
  3. What action they need to take

This works due to the fact expert speakers recognize that the particular first thing they need to do when standing in front of the audience is get them to care.

By structuring your presentation with a clear and compelling starting, middle, and end, you will take your audience on an fascinating journey… the kind that motivates action, sells products, plus funds businesses.

5. It’s not always about being exclusive.  

  “I tell my story, not because it is unique, but because it is not. It is the story of many girls. ”


— Malala Yousafzai, Activist and Speaker

Writers plus communicators often agonize over how they can be innovative and different. However , sometimes it’s preferable to be universal and resonant.

Malala’s story has been referred to as inspiring, courageous, and touching, yet “Malala does not consider herself extraordinary. That is ‘simply Malala, ‘ as she’d describe herself” (Source).

Nevertheless, her speaking and advocacy helps to fight for girls’ education and learning on an international scale.

In case you bring authenticity and passion to your audience, saying something new becomes less of a issue.

6. You don’t need to memorize word-for-word.

  “People will forget whatever you said, people will forget what you did, but individuals will never forget how you produced them feel. ”


— Maya Angelou, Poet and Activist

It’s natural to actually want to deliver your speech “perfectly” every time. Your inclination could be to memorize each phrase or read directly from your own speaker’s notes. This can result in a lot of undue nervousness. But guess what? You can let that every go.

Your audience doesn’t know what you were going to say; they only hear everything you are saying. And, as Maya Angelou said, they won’t keep in mind the exact words you spoke but rather how you spoke them and how it made them feel.

Instead of memorization, depend on the topic you know well. Exercise explaining it off the cuff.

7. Speak from the cardiovascular.

  “Emotionally charged events persist much longer in our memories and are also recalled with greater precision than neutral memories. ”


— John Medina, Brain Rules

Maya Angelou’s quote in the previous tip isn’t just regarding memorization, though. There’s provided she’s making.

While virtually every presentation relies on some form of data to illustrate or focus on the core point, master communicators like Steve Tasks know that data alone ain’t enough.

Science again comes to our aid in explaining just how and why this is important. In his book, Mind Rules , molecular biologist John Medina has this to say about the role of emotion on the human brain:

“An emotionally charged event (usually called an ECS, short for emotionally skilled stimulus) is the best-processed kind of external stimulus ever measured. ” 

Chip plus Dan Heath further intricate on the impact that emotion can have on persuasive conversation in their book, Made to Stick: Why Ideas Survive and Others Die . The authors describe a workout that Chip does together with his students at Stanford College. The students are tasked with giving a one-minute persuasive speech. Everyone must present on the same topic, along with half the class arguing for one point of view and the partner arguing for the opposite perspective.

After everyone has given their one-minute speech, the college students are invited to rate each other on the effectiveness from the presentations, and then instructed to jot down key points made by each loudspeaker.

Here’s the data these people collected from this exercise:

  • Typically, the students used second . 5 statistics during their one-minute speeches
  • 1/10 of the students used a personal story to produce their point
  • 63% from the class remembered details through the speeches that used stories
  • Only 5% remember the statistics that were shared

The Heaths drew this conclusion from the data:

“The stars of stickiness are the learners who made their case by telling stories, or by tapping into emotion , or by worrying a single point rather than ten. ”

With this in mind, make sure that your presentation content goes further than pure “facts. ” Triggering audience emotion is a guaranteed way to increase retention and impact of your core information. You can do that by talking from the heart.

8. Make use of compelling imagery as a component in your speech.

“A picture will be worth 1, 000 words. ”

There is a reason why expressions like, “Seeing is believing” plus, “A picture is worth 1000 words” are so universally regarded —  and that cause is based in science.

It’s called the Picture Superiority Effect, and it refers to a sizable body of research, which usually shows that humans more easily understand and recall information that is presented since pictures than when the same information is presented in words.

In one experiment, for instance, subjects who were presented with information orally could remember about 10% of the content 72 hours afterwards. Those who were presented with information in picture format could recall 65% of the content.

Picture superiority effect demonstrated with the word circle vs. an image of a circle

Nearly we remember visual insight better, but we furthermore process visual information sixty, 000x faster in the mind than we do textual content.

Sure, it takes more time to get and select awesome images to change text, but master communicators know that it’s worth the additional effort to achieve maximum influence and maximum audience retention.

9. Ditch the topic points.

  “The minute you put bullet points on the screen, you are announcing ‘write this down, but don’t really pay attention to it now. ’ People don’t take notes at the opera. ”


— Seth Godin, Actually Bad PowerPoint

Seth’s right. Researchers have demonstrated time and time again that will text and bullet points are the least effective way to deliver important information. Yet despite clear evidence that wordy, bullet-point-heavy slides don’t function, the average PowerPoint slide has 40 words. No wonder SlideRocket has found that 32% of people fall asleep during PowerPoint presentations, and 20% will want to go to the dentist than view another one!

This may be hard to think, but Steve Jobs never used a single bullet point. Not once. His delivering presentations were always remarkable extra, relying on a few powerful images and carefully selected terms or phrases.

Even throughout product demos where Jobs explains or demonstrates important benefits of a new product, his slides are refreshingly devoid of bullet points.  

Our own short-term memory can hold on to fewer than 7 items for no longer than 10-15 secs.

So , imagine you’re introducing the world’s thinnest notebook computer. Replace the bulleted listing of techie product features using a photograph of a large, manila office envelope.

Or perhaps you’re trying to inspire an market to help your nonprofit end the water crisis? Skip the bulleted list of statistics in favor of a short, powerful video that will shows rather than tells precisely why everyone in the room need to care.

10. Spend time practicing.

  “Spending energy to understand the particular audience and carefully making a message that resonates together means making a commitment of time and discipline to the process. ”


— Nancy Duarte, Communications Expert

Creating a display that informs, entertains, PLUS inspires an audience requires a lot of time. The first thirty hours will be spent researching, sketching, planning, and revising your story. The next thirty hours will go toward constructing simple, highly visual slides with very few words with no BULLETS.

But the final 30 hours will go toward rehearsing the delivery.

It takes 90 hours to craft a world-class, 60-minute presentation.

When was the last period you spent 30 hours practicing for a presentation?

Of all of the lessons revealed above, this one is undoubtedly the most often unnoticed. Don’t be the person who does everything by the book, only to screw it up all at the very end by failing to practice. A lot.

30 hours of rehearsing might be painful. It’s definitely time-consuming. But there are no cutting corners to excellence.

11. Use plain English.

  “iPod. 1000 songs in your pocket. ”


— Steve Jobs

When Dorrie Jobs introduced the world to the iPod, he could have said something like this:  

“Today we’re introducing a brand new, portable music player that weighs in at a mere 6. 5 oz ., is about the size of a sardine can, and boasts voluminous capacity, long battery life, plus lightning-fast transfer speeds. ”

But he did not. Instead, he said: “iPod. One thousand songs in your pocket. ”

Jobs could have described the particular MacBook Air as a “smaller, lighter MacBook Pro with a generously-sized 13. 3-inch, 1280- by 800-pixel, glossy LED screen and a full-size keyboard. ”

Rather, he walked on stage by having an office-sized manila envelope, pulled the notebook out and simply said, “What is Apple macbook Air? In a sentence, it is the world’s thinnest laptop. ”    

Steve Jobs introduces the MacBook Air

Unlike most of his contemporaries, Jobs generally avoided complicated stats, technical data, buzzwords, and jargon in his presentations. Instead, he relied on simple, clear, direct vocabulary that was easy to understand, easy to keep in mind, and better yet, extremely “tweetable. ” Jobs frequently used metaphors and analogies to bring which means to numbers.

A nearer look at some of Jobs’ most well-known keynotes reads like a demonstration in “headlines” —  powerful, memorable, specific statements that consistently add up to less than 140 characters.

At this point take a look at one of your latest presentations. Is it buoyant with simple, specific, tweetable headlines? Does the script read like plain English that a 7-year-old could understand? Would you put data and statistics in context so their particular meaning is clear and easy-to-digest? Have you ruthlessly pruned out there all of the jargon, including overused, meaningless terms like “integrated, ” “platform, ” “leading-edge, ” “synergy, ” and so on?

If you want to improve your ability to persuade an audience, do your best Steve Jobs impact. Use simple language, free of jargon. Make sure that your key messages are concrete and consistent. And do not forget to use vivid metaphors or even analogies to provide context plus clarity around big amounts and complex ideas.  

Final Thoughts on These Public Speaking Tips

On September 28, 1997, Apple company debuted its now popular “Think Different” ad campaign, which usually featured a series of black-and-white pictures of iconic figures such as Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr., and Amelia Earhart. While their images flashed on the screen, these words were spoken:

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square opening. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can estimate them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t perform is ignore them. Because they change things. They drive the human race forward. And while some may see them because the crazy ones, we discover genius. Because the people who are insane enough to think they can replace the world are the ones who else do. ”

The goal of the “Think Different” strategy was to sell computers. Discover how the word “computer” didn’t appear even once in the script.

I point this out as a final thought, because it summarizes a crucial, exceptional quality shared by the majority of the world’s most captivating communicators. They may have wildly various presentation styles, but they most have this in common:

They do not just provide “information; ” they express meaning —  plus they do it with passion.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 03 2013 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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