Q&A with Author of "The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs"

What makes Steve Jobs such a special presenter, and what can CIO.com readers borrow from Jobs' vast skills? Communications coach and author Carmine Gallo shares his insights and favorite Jobs YouTube clips.

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There's always one moment in a Jobs presentation that I call the watercooler, or "holy smokes" moment—that part of the presentation that everybody talks about the next day. For instance, in January 2007, Jobs said that he had three revolutionary products to introduce: a widescreen iPod, a revolutionary mobile phone and an Internet communicator. He repeated this several times. Finally he said, "Are you getting it? These are not three separate devices. They are one device and we are calling it, iPhone."

Most presenters would have launched right into the introduction of their product. Not Jobs. His presentations are theatrical productions, complete with heroes, villains, stunning backdrops, a supporting cast and that one memorable moment that was worth the price of admission.

iPhone Keynote - Part 1

CIO.com: Any interesting stories or observations from the book which are really telling about Jobs' presentation abilities?

Gallo: Are you ready for this? I don't think Steve Jobs is a naturally gifted speaker.

Think about it. Nobody is born knowing how to deliver a presentation. Jobs rehearses and rehearses to get everything just right. It's not uncommon for him to be practicing on stage for four hours at a stretch in the days before presentations. I also believe that Jobs has become a more polished speaker over time.

Author Malcolm Gladwell has pointed out that it takes someone 10,000 hours to gain world-class expertise in something—be it sports, surgery or music. That's about three hours a day over 10 years. Well, Steve Jobs has improved dramatically every decade. He started sharing ideas with his friend and Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak in 1974. Ten years later, in 1984, he gave one of the greatest presentations I've ever seen—the introduction of the Mac.

Fast forward about a decade later, in 1997, when he returned to Apple after a leave of absence. He was a much more polished presenter, losing the lectern and not reading from notes as he had done in 1984. Now, fast forward to 2007, the launch of the iPhone at Macworld. From start to finish, it was his greatest presentation. Steve Jobs is not a natural. He works at it.

Steve Jobs Demos Apple Macintosh, 1984

CIO.com: In his recent presentations, how has Jobs done in "managing" the effect that his appearance (due to his illness) has created? Has he done a good job in dealing with that? What can our readers take away from how he handled this tough situation?

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