January 15, 2006

How to sell a presentation

I have attended MacWorld for three years and have looked forward to it each time. This year, I had to line up at 5 AM, even held spots in line for my buddy Ian who can't recover even though he is 8 years younger and in much better shape. Wimp.

I digress. Anyways, Guy Kawasaki, a venture capitalist and former Apple employee summarizes the process well on how to give a powerful presentation, big or small:

Lessons from Steve's Keynote
"I attended Steve's keynote address at Macworld Expo San Francisco this morning, and I took a picture of most of the slides that he used. I couldn't capture them all because of the special effects he was using. You can read about these announcements all over the place, but here's a good summary on MacNN.

Admittedly, from a photographic sense, my pictures will win no awards. However, I put them in a loop, so that people can see how one of the world's greatest speakers uses a presentation product (ie, Keynote). Click here to get the loop.

As opposed to the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint, Steve uses the 125 (or so) slides/90 minutes/60 point font rule. :-) But then again, the rules are different for Steve. Here are ten lessons to learn from his keynote:

Minimal text. Many slides had only one or two words.

Extremely large font. If you were the 3,000th person at the back of the room, you could still read the slides.

A handful of bullet items, and he “built” the bullets. They weren't all on screen to start with.

Many, many beautiful screen shots (it helps to have a beautiful OS to take screen shots of, but I digress).

Many, many beautiful images.

Demos of software by the man himself--not calling upon some dweeb because the CEO isn't capable of using his own products.

Powerful use of guests: for example, the CEO of Intel (who was a very good sport and came on stage wearing a clean-room suit) and the head honcho of Microsoft's Macintosh unit.

“Eye candy” use of video. These videos were about a minute or two but captivating. When most speakers incorporate video, they use a a five to ten minute video of a talking head that's just stringing together adjectives like “strategic,” “secure,” “scalable,” and “powerful.”

Near the end, he threw in two “but wait, there's more” moments: he had been using an Intel-based iMac for the whole presentation, and there was a new laptop to announce. (This laptop isn't exactly the answer to my prayers, but God has lots to worry about. It does require a new power adapter, but for a very cool and useful reason called MagSafe. A magnet holds the adapter plug to the laptop, so you can't kick the cord and send your laptop flying.)

Ending on a very human touch of asking the Apple employees who worked in the new products to stand and be recognized. He also acknowledged the Intel employees who worked on the new hardware."

Guy does a good job capturing how he does it!

It is really a powerful 2 hour show. The stock is up 10 points since he began talking just a few days ago. Now that I have had time to load Ilife 2006 and think further about the products, their seems to be more flash than substance this year. Next year should be a big one - Tablet MAC, HD TV, more from the mini and more from Ipod.

I would expect a serious hiccup at some point this year both in the market and the stock, but it will be a great buying opportunity. The retail experience and advances in technology put them in a killer position for the end of the decade and beyond.

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