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Book Review: The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs

“The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience” is a book with the goal of helping people improve their presentation Skills. The Book uses Steve Jobs’ Presentations as case study and shows readers ways to become a great presenter.

The book is written by Carmine Gallo. Mr Gallo is a popular communication coach. He is highly inspired by Steve Jobs, and has written many other books with Apple or Steve Jobs as case study.

The book is divided into three sections: 1) Create the Story, 2) deliver the Experience, and 3) Refine and Rehearse.

First section focuses on developing content for your presentation. A strong story about your brand or message will help you keep your audience engaged. Focus on one thing that matter most to the audience. Be passionate about what you are selling. Create a road map for the audience:  Group the key points into 3 messages, and lighten the messages with stories, facts, analogies and metaphors. Introduce the antagonist or the problem you are looking to solve. Later bring the solution to the problem.

Second section focuses on creating an experience for your audience. Keep your slides simple, use images and avoid lot of text. Dress up your numbers with relevant and contextual analogies. For example, Talking about $700 billion bailout, A newspaper said,” (With $700 Billion) the Government can write checks for $2,300 to every man, woman, and child in America.” This analogy makes it easier for people to understand the enormity and impact of $700 Billion. Avoid redundancy, buzzwords and Jargons, and use zippy words.  Jobs used words like cool, zippy, stunning etc. in his presentations. Incorporate customer testimonials and media reviews. Show demos, and deliver unexpected moments. In short, deliver the experience and not just presentation.

Third section focuses on refining and rehearsing. Practice your presentations. During practice, record your presentation. Check body language, eye contact, posture, and vocal variety. Practice the presentation so many times that it looks effortless. Avoid using notes. If you have rehearsed enough, you would not need notes any way.

What I like about the book is that it presents examples of every advice. For example, when Mr Gallo asks us to use “Amazingly Zippy” words, he compares speeches of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. He shows how Jobs uses Zippy words while Gates uses difficult words. This examples help grasp the advice better. This chapter is also a perfect example of how presentations should be delivered using stories and life examples.

The book lives up to the expectation set by the title of the book. It shows presentation secrets of Steve Jobs using presentations of Steve Jobs as examples. So, if you read the book, you will not be disappointed. Throughout the book, Author keeps the single-minded focus on Steve Jobs, and does not try to clutter the book with many presenters and styles.

The main problem with the book is that the topic is not very well suited for book. If I have to improve presentations, I would like to see examples of presentations, and not read them. A Video book or lecture will accomplish that goal far better than the book. Text Book has the limitation of showing the text, and at the most images. But it is difficult to capture the impact of presentation, especially the ones Steve Jobs delivered, in text and images. So, the message does not come out very well. Other than that, the book is a very good attempt at revealing secrets of Steve Jobs’ presentations. For the best impact, probably users will have to search internet for the examples presented in the book. Mr Gallo has made our life easy here by providing links to many you tube videos at the end of the book. I would have preferred if these links were included after each chapter. This would have created bigger impact.

Overall, the book delivers many practical advises to improve presentation skills. The book shows examples of these advises, so readers will definitely benefit from the book. If you were looking for one place where you can see all you could learn from Steve Jobs, then “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience” is the answer.


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