What You Can Learn From Steve Jobs About “PowerPoint”

Posted on by in Business, Communication, Creativity/Innovation, Design, Leadership, Writing

Every CEO eventually has to do a presentation. And that invariably means that you have to use PowerPoint–or if you’re lucky enough to be on a Mac, Keynote (which is way better, by the way). Note: That’s also why “PowerPoint” is in quotes above since Steve Jobs clearly uses Keynote–but you get the point.

While watching Steve introduce the iPad last week in real-time on Gizmodo (hats off to B. Lam and Jason Chen at Gizmodo who were doing photo and text blogging during the presentation–I was majorly impressed), I thought that I’d share some of their images of Steve’s slides so you could see how a master does his “PowerPoint.” So, here we go.

Here’s one of Steve’s first slides. Notice the simplicity of the design. A short quote in large enough type to read, and a simple image to further drive home the point. Also notice the cool reflection of the image.


As Steve started to talk about mobile platforms he posed a question, “Is there space for a device between a cell phone and a lap top?” Here’s how he represented that.


I love this next slide for it’s simplicity and color popping. No fancy charts. Just one image and one number–that’s all that matters!


Changing gears, when Steve wanted to talk about environmental friendliness, he took and created a “report card” check list that didn’t just look like another table. You get the point. Nothing confusing here.


Here’s another slide where Steve’s team had to convey a list of features (in this case, iWork software for the iPad). Notice the simplicity of the image and six statements. Once again, you get the point.


When Steve started talking about price, he started with one slide with just one number on it. Unfortunately, slide images don’t do justice to the animation Steve and his team used. The number actually dropped from the top and kicked up some dust until it settled with the following clear slide. It really was one of those awe moments when you could hear people’s shock and awe.


Probably, the only somewhat confusing slide Steve used (which isn’t too confusing) was this one announcing the different price points based on memory and 3G (an extra $130 per model)


So, there you have it. A few lessons from Steve on doing a “PowerPoint” presentation.

  1. Keep your slides uncluttered. Strive for simplicity.
  2. Use large font sizes (anything less than 40 pts. should be a concern). The bigger the better.
  3. Use one large graphic and minimal text to say a lot.
  4. Strive to find a simple way to say something complex.
  5. Get to the core of your point, and just illustrate that.
  6. Look for creative ways to say the same things
  7. Don’t spend time reading off your slides. Their job is to augment you, not drive the presentation (note: if you don’t put too much info on a slide, this becomes automatic).
  8. Use lots of slides. It doesn’t cost any more to add an extra slide. You don’t need to cram a lot of info on one slide. Most of my presentations have 80 – 140 slides.
  9. Practice, practice, practice. Steve and his team run through their presentations multiple times before going live.
  10. Get a Mac and Keynote. You’ll be glad you did!!! :-)

P.S. Post writing the above, I found a YouTube video that takes a humorous look at the adjectives Steve and his team use. Even as a Mac Addict, I have to admit, this is fun (cool, awesome, unbelievable, remarkable, exciting, gorgeous, amazing, super …)

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5 Responses to “What You Can Learn From Steve Jobs About “PowerPoint””

  1. Pest Control Seattle 28 July 2010 at 7:32 pm #

    I will be forwading this article to my friends. Great work!

  2. website design services 3 September 2010 at 12:30 am #

    p.s. You have a good theme . Where did you discover it?

  3. Bruce Johnson 3 September 2010 at 6:11 am #

    Go to http://www.ithemes.com. It’s the Flexx theme and the version is Candy Apple (with some variations on the theme).

  4. SB @ One Cent At A Time 22 September 2011 at 10:48 am #

    There’s always so much to elarn from a person like Steve Jobs. He took risk, dropped ut from school started business, he fialed initially and then again came back to create one of the most successful tech company. I wish him best for his health.

    Here is my tribute to Steve.

    http://onecentatatime.com/what-a-blogger-can-learn-from-steve-jobs/

  5. alec 19 January 2012 at 9:07 am #

    this is great


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