Glossophobia. No, it’s not the fear of glossy surfaces – it’s a more common fear: public speaking.
Addressing a room of people, hoping to impress them, educate them, or merely hold their attention can be a daunting process. Yes, it takes practice, but observing talks from some of the best speakers in the world shows you what makes a truly engaging presentation (hint: it isn’t Powerpoint)
So, who is the best speaker in the world? Well, many consider the late Steve Jobs to be the sage of public speaking.
Like the genius simplicity of Apple products such as the iPod, Macbook and iPhone, Jobs also made his talks engaging, inspiring and concise.
Hubspot notes that Apple fans even called Job’s presentations, “Stevenotes”, outlining several reasons why people listened to him so closely:
Jobs always structured his presentations with a WHY > HOW > WHAT format. After answering the audience’s initial unspoken question of “Why should I care?” he would then tackle “How will this make my life better?” and eventually, “What action do I need to take now?”
When introducing new Apple products to an audience, Jobs would describe them in a concise sentence. Instead of listing all the iPod’s technical details and fancy jargon, he said simply: “iPod. One thousand songs in your pocket.” Similarly, with the Macbook Air he said” “What is MacBook Air? In a sentence, it’s the world’s thinnest notebook.”
Pelt your audience with too much information and they’ll switch off. Jobs knew this all too well, so he never used bullet points. Instead he remained concise using only attention-demanding words and images.
Hubspot also mentions a few more important facts and stats about presentations:
“32% of people have fallen asleep during a PowerPoint presentation, and 20% would rather go to the dentist than sit through another one!”
Why? Psychologists tell us that, on average, our short-term memory can only hold onto around 7 pieces of information for around 10-15 seconds. That is why your phone number is the length it is.
So, remember: to avoid jargon, keep it simple, concise and without bulletpoints! These are the subtle differences between inspiring your audience, and having them secretly plug in their iPods.
Who is your favourite speaker? We’d love hear which presenters you look to for inspiration, so please let us know with a comment below, or on Facebook, or Twitter.