How to present like Steve Jobs during online webinars

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Matt Francis - Founder at Cloudpresenter
Post by
Matt Francis
Last updated :
February 9, 2024
 | 20 min read

Very few brands are as recognisable as the Apple Brand. Since its inception, especially with the introduction of the iPhone, the company has firmly implanted itself into the fabric of popular culture. But Apple is not just a popular brand; it is also one of the biggest and most marketable brands on the planet, with customers and enthusiasts in every part of the world. The brand is so well-positioned that it now practically sells itself; there are people worldwide who would buy the next iPhone or Apple Watch, regardless of its features.

The success of Apple is not a fluke or a product of chance. On careful observation, you can trace a significant part of its initial success to the charisma and presentation prowess of its founder, Steve Jobs. Everyone old enough will surely remember when Jobs introduced the first iPhone during the 2007 Macworld Conference & Expo and how the audience went wild.

Today, despite the sad departure of Jobs, Apple continues the tradition of giving exceptional presentations—a tradition that has served them spectacularly well.

What makes Steve Jobs presentation skills spectacular

Good presentations do more than dish out information; the ultimate goal is to change how people view the subject or product you, and if possible, take the actions that you wish them to take, whether it be starting a healthy routine or purchasing your product. To do that, you need to captivate the audience with your body language and make an emotional connection; this is where Steve Jobs public speaking skills excels. This article will show you some tips to help you improve your online presentation by analyzing the presentation style of Steve Jobs.

Presentation secrets of Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs used many techniques to get his audience on the edge of their seats. His method stemmed from his belief that people didn't just buy what was valuable but also what they liked; he understood presentation makes all the difference. So he wanted to show them the importance and beauty of his product. Every presenter can learn valuable tips by considering some of these techniques. Here are some ways he went about it.

Build momentum before your online webinar or keynote

Many speakers make one mistake when they try to address a topic in the webinar session; they often deliver their speech at a straight, unchanging pace. While you may not necessarily be delivering your talk in a flat, monotonous drawl, this is still the worst way of presentation as you can still lose your audience.

This is because humans, especially now, can get increasingly bored if they are not excited about the presentation or feel the talk is going nowhere. One way of combating this problem is by building momentum. There are two ways you can do this:

  • Set the theme

  • Create a road map.

  • Instil Anticipation

Steve Jobs did this perfectly when he unveiled the iPhone and even the macbook air. He did not allow his audience to wonder what the presentation would be about nor did he ramble on carelessly from one unrelated point to another. Rather, he structured his talk in a way that allowed him to link one point to another. He had a roadmap and it went something like this.

  • He started with an announcement– he would launch three devices at the end of the day. Now, the audience was curious to see the devices.

  • He went on to outline the logical and emotional value of these devices.

  • Finally the big reveal. The three devices are, in fact, one device with multi-purpose value; it was a satisfying twist.

By giving his audience something to look forward to and ensuring he didn't spend much time discussing each of the most logically and emotionally appealing features, and by revealing something surprising, Jobs hooked the audience. From the beginning of the presentation, everyone was curious about the end, and he did not disappoint. You can use this technique to take your presentation to new, riveting levels. 

Dish out information in small bites and sell the benefit

People struggle to remember bulky information, and you will never be as influential as you wish if your audience doesn't remember the information in the first place. Steve Jobs understood this concept well, so he boiled down his presentations to their core details. He used a principle called The Rule of Three- a vital concept in communication theory.

The rule of three principle suggests that when a group of topics, products, or characters are three in number, it gives the audience the most psychological satisfaction while also helping them retain the information. You can apply this principle by arranging your presentation in three parts; do this in the following three ways:

  • Break up your presentation into tiny chunks, preferably arranging them to fit three sessions. The length of each segment should ideally be 10-15 minutes because that is the limit of most people's attention span.

  • Input suitable relief material in between each session. It should be something lighter than what you are presenting. If possible, you can play a video or interview a satisfied customer. Steve Jobs used this technique when he made his first call using an iPhone during one of his presentation intervals.

  • Highlight only the core values of the product, this way you don't include details that distract your audience from the main points.

Use story techniques

Every human on earth is easily affected by stories; they are how we learn lessons about the world. Good stories are not only entertaining but also memorable. You probably remember the plot of your favourite movie or the lyrics of your favourite song. Conversely, arranging your presentation using a story format can make your presentation engaging, relatable, and unforgettable. Here are some ways you can do this:

Introduce an antagonist (or a bad guy)

The Bad guy could be anything from a rival product that is not fulfilling the audience's needs, a gap in the industry that is highly inconvenient, or a terrible habit that is preventing the audience from reaching their goals. Emphasise how terrible it is and how the bad guy reduces the quality of their life.

Show your concerns and efforts

Next, briefly recount your desire to provide a solution or weapon they can use to combat this enemy that seeks to make their lives miserable. This part will show you as emphatic to their plight and bind you to them. But be careful not to dwell too much on this segment so you don't start sounding too sanctimonious.

Reveal the hero

Show how your products succeed in addressing the problems that you have outlined earlier. Ensure you imprint the necessity of making changes as the only solution to the audience’s problems (which usually requires purchasing the product). This empowers them through using your product - it is important to make the customer the hero of the story.

Make the presentation people-centered

An important thing to remember when making your presentation is that it isn't all about you. Your audience is not listening to you out of compassion; it is because there is a problem that needs solving, and they are interested in knowing how beneficial your presentation will be. Hence, the presentation should be audience-focused, not speaker-focused. There are some unique ways you can do this:

Capture audience imagination

You will have better success engaging and possibly influencing your audience when you capture their imagination. For example, Steve Jobs did not say "we have built a better phone"; instead, he said "we are putting 1000 music tracks into your hands". The second statement was better because it instantly made the audience think of a specific need the phone would solve.

Make numbers and figures relatable

We often take for granted that many people are blind to measurable parameters. We may know what a kilometre or a pound is, but until we compare it to something else, we cannot really sense the impact. Use this principle when you make your presentation; if there is any raw data, make sure to present it in a way that your audience can feel. For example, instead of saying the company uses a 128-bit encryption network, try saying: We use the same security used by the National Bank. This way, your audience can relate to your data and picture it in a way that holds meaning to them.

Create a sense of higher purpose

This part is essential especially in sales because people often hesitate to make purchases, possibly feeling guilty or scared at having to indulge themselves. You can overcome this feeling by giving the thought of buying the product a sense of nobility. When Steve Jobs presented the iphone, he offered his future customers the chance to be part of the phone reinvention. Suddenly they were not mere consumers but part of something extraordinary. You can apply that principle during your presentation. Only be careful not to lay it too heavily, or else you risk coming off as pretentious! 

Keep the audience focused on you

You don't want the audience getting distracted by anything, not even the presenting aids you're using to get your points across. Some presenters often prepare such elaborate slides that they end up hugging all the audience's attention. Slides, pictures and audio-visual materials are a crucial part of your presentation. Still, you want to ensure you draw attention to yourself and what you're saying occasionally. Steve Jobs had an incredible stage presence, but he often included a blank slide that subconsciously made the audience focus back on him. Some presenters use a prop such as a laser pointer to grab attention. You have to look for effective but discreet ways to do this during your presentation.

Prepare properly

Although it often doesn't seem like it, Steve Jobs always knew to sweat the small stuff. He agonised over every product detail, ensuring he knew every facet of his story. When preparing for a presentation, Steve Jobs rehearsed and scripted every part of his presentation so as not to deviate from his outlined structure.

Even if scripting every word of your presentation isn't your style, you want to know what you're about to say. One way to do this is by writing your main points in a single sentence or as bullets, so that as you carry out your presentation, those points will remind you of what you should be talking about. This technique gives you the freedom of spontaneity while guiding you against derailing off-topic.


Finally, be sure to bring some humanity into your presentation. In todays world where AI is used in an increasing amount of communications, it's important to remember, as human beings we are capable of emotion and humour, engaging in our own unique way. You don't need to bring the house down with hilarious stories (although a good story always helps!), but in reality remembering to pause and smile at certain moments will bring warmth and help your audience build belief and trust in you and what you are presenting, even if it's not as exciting as a new iPhone!

Frequently Asked Question

How do you make a presentation like Steve Jobs?

Craft a narrative with a clear structure, use minimalistic slides, and prioritize visuals over text. Practice and master your delivery, focus on audience engagement, and infuse passion and enthusiasm into your presentation for a compelling and impactful style, akin to Steve Jobs.

How can I be confident on a webinar?

Prepare thoroughly, practice your content, and familiarize yourself with the best webinar platform. Maintain a positive mindset, engage with your audience, and remember that expertise and enthusiasm will boost your confidence during the presentation.

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