Presentation Case Study: Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs’ MacWorld 2007 iPhone Launch Presentation

Steve Jobs had the uncanny ability to make audience engagement appear simple and natural. His presentations compelled an audience’s undivided attention for an hour and a half or more—something that very few presenters can do.

Steve Jobs does not deliver a presentation.
 He offers an experience.

– Carmine Gallo

Jobs was the quintessential presenter; he handled the content, contrast and delivery all very well. His reputation for marketing brilliance had the audience coming in to the presentation in a frenzied state of excitement, and he brilliantly kept them there with dramatic suspense and an intriguing delivery. This is an uncommon skill for a CEO, or anyone, for that matter.

Jobs purposefully built anticipation into each of his presentations—which have been described as an “incredibly complex and sophisticated blend of sales pitch, product demonstration, and corporate cheerleading, with a dash of religious revival thrown in for good measure.” Over the years, he used every type of S.T.A.R. — Something They’ll Always Remember — moment. Below are four from his 2007 iPhone launch presentation.

/Repeatable Sound Bites: During the keynote address, Jobs used the phrase “reinvent the phone” five times, the same phrase that Apple used in their press release. After walking through the phone’s features, he hammered it home once again: “I think when you have a chance to get your hands on it, you’ll agree; we have reinvented the phone.” The next day, PC World ran a headline stating that Apple would “reinvent the phone.”

/Shocking Statistics: Instead of merely throwing out a large number, Jobs provided context so the audience could relate to the true scale of the number. “We are selling over five million songs a day now. Isn’t that unbelievable? Five million songs a day! That’s 58 songs every second of every minute of every hour of every day.”

/Evocative Visuals: The audience laughed when he said, “Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone, and here it is…” He then showed the iPod you see here to look like it had an old rotary dial on it to tease the audience.

/Memorable Dramatization: In earlier presentations, Jobs had pulled an iPod out of his coin pocket and removed a MacBook Air from an inter-office envelope. For this launch, a feature of the product itself created the dramatic moment. The new interface was so revolutionary the audience gasped the first time he used the scrolling feature. Later, Jobs said, “I was giving a demo to somebody a little while ago at Apple. I finished the demo and I said, ‘What do you think?’ He told me this: ‘You had me at scrolling.”