Win Your Crowd, Steve Jobs’ way

February 12, 2007

This week’s entry is all about Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple. Every year, thousands of apple fanatics will come from various states and countries to hear him speak at the Worldwide Developers’ Conference (or more popularly known as WWDC). The highlight will be Steve’s keynote where he gives a lowdown on what Apple is up to. If you have the time, go watch him.
(Steve in action @ WWDC 2006) There are plenty of presentation tips to milk from watching Steve deliver his keynote. I will like to bring up three in particular.

1. Practice, practice and more practice
When you watch Steve’s keynote, you will think that he is a natural on stage. Everything appears to be easy for him. The truth is he practiced a godzillian times. Informality stems from certainty. Only when you are familar with what your script and your slides, can you be conversational and relaxed on stage. Being well prepared gives you room to manuvere and respond to changes.

Some people think that in order to appear informal and candid, they should just practice once. I think that’s foolish. Winging it will only get you into serious trouble. If you watch Steve’s keynote, you will notice that his speech is seamless with the slides. Each time he says something, the relevant slide will appear, almost on cue. Every slide is well timed to his speech. Even the demonstrations are well rehearsed. He knows what to click. And as he clicks, he knows what he needs to say. Nothing surprises him coz’ he has done his work. Now that’s practice!

On the contrary, I have seen presenters saying something, with the slide showing something else. And then when they realized their folly, they start fumbling. Not exactly a smart thing to do. Or worse, I ever met presenters who are as surprised as we are about their slides. It appears that he had also seen his slide for the first time! So whether you like it or not, practice is essential. It takes away ambiguity. It grants you confidence on stage. It gives you excess energy to connect with the audience. Now that’s a smart investment of your time!

2. One more thing…
In every keynote, just when you thought the presentation is coming to an end, he will surprise you with “one more thing”. That one more thing – without fail – will always be the highlight of his keynote. It could be an announcement of a business deal that no one knows about (for example with Disney), the launch of a long awaited product or the introduction of a band. And the audience love him for that.

In your presentation, do you end on a high note? Or do you end with the oh-so-boring thank you? Say you are giving a presentation to your board of directors, you can save the best result for the last. “Oh and one more thing, the value of your shares has quadrupled.” Or in a sales presentation, you can end by throwing in a bonus that your clients cannot resist. “And just for today, you will get all these for half price … In your prepared speeches, you can end off with a personal story, an inspiring quote or a video clip that reinforces your message.

Some people love to end their presentations with Q&A. My suggestion is to avoid that. It is too risky. If you flunk your Q&A, that’s what the audience is going to remember, no matter how well you did earlier. Even if you did well in your Q&A, the audience will only remember you as being competent. However, they may not remember your message. And worse, if you thank them at the end, you will make your audience think that they are obligated to listen to you. So the next you give a presentation, try new ways of ending your presentation. Surprise your audience and they will love you for it.

3. Love your products
One of the reasons why Steve’s presentations are so impactful is because he speaks out of lurve! His love for Apple’s products is so strong that it becomes infectious. I want to make a distinction here. His love doesn’t stem from pride. It comes from belief. He knows that his products are amazing. And that belief drives his presentation.

In the world of presentation, your message is your product. In order to win your audience over, you got to be first won over by your message. Here’s the acid test. Ask yourself the following questions: (1) Do you believe in your message? (2) Has the message impacted you? If your answer is no for either one, the chances of impacting your audience is greatly reduced. There are two ways around it. The easier way is to speak of something that you sincerely believe in or are passionate about. The harder way is to find means to connect with your message. Check out an article I wrote last Oct that explains how you can do so: Return to Source: Uncovering your Message(s)

Oh and one more thing! (grins) There are MORE presentation tips installed for you to help you win your audience over. See links below.

How to wow ’em like Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs presentation style… and all that jazz
Speaking from the Heart


The Mr Brown Show – Featuring Hossan Leong

February 11, 2007

Weekend’s here. Have a break!

I have always admired Hossan Leong (still do!) for his witty and incisive humor. In fact I am looking forward to watch his next stand up comedy! Meanwhile, enjoy this latest and most talked about “national” song written by Edmund Tan and performed by Hossan.

Here’s the song in case you are looking for it…

We Live In Singapura

Sang Nila, Utama
Saw a lion, alamak
Name the village Singapura, then run very far

Years later, ang mor came
Stamford Raffles was his name
Posed for statues very nice, we kenna colonize


Singapura very strong
Big guns all, pointing wrong
Japanese, came on bikes, invade us from our backside

War is over, ang mor back
Singaporeans no respect
Commies come, make a fuss, Singapore independance!

I live in Singapura
It’s not perfect living
But at least it’s interesting
I live in Singapura
Though it’s kind of crazy
We win other country

David Marshall, Lim Yew Hock
National Anthem starts to rock
Yusof Ishak the big man, guess who’s PM?

Malaysia say, come join me
Two of us be same country
Then not happy, Then make PM cry

PM Lee lead country
Build jurong and HDB
Made the country clean and green, opposition cannot win

JB Jeya no more funds,
Chee Soon Juan won’t eat his buns
Lim How Doong, what a goon, ‘Don’t talk cock’ in parliament

I live in Singapura
It’s not perfect living
But at least it’s interesting
I live in Singapura
Though its kind of crazy
We win other country

Kick out from Malaysia Cup
Michael Faye pain in the butt
S-League, Tea Dancing, Ah Bengs love Modern Talking

McDonalds Hello Kitty
Everyone drink Bubble tea
Crushing cockroach Margaret Chan, James Lye is VR Man


Reclaimation, Tuas Causeway
Malaysian water buay ho sei
Mahathir’s friend Datuk Anwar, Mathathir says he’s chow Ah Qua

NDP, aunties rush
Everyone it’s fun to flush
Bubble gums are all banned, ask your friends buy from thailand

I live in Singapura
It’s not perfect living
But at least it’s interesting
I live in Singapura
Though its kind of crazy
We win other country

Driving car, not funny
Bid on cars with C-O-E
E-R-P, Road Tax, PARF until I want to barf

Why our locals have to pay?
Foreign talent are okay
Housing estate upgrade
by contractors who go pok kai

IMF must follow
Want to protest, go indoors
M-R-T not so fast
Newater they laugh at us

I live in Singapura
It’s not perfect living
But at least it’s in-teresting
I live in Singapura
Though its kind of crazy
We win other country

Baby bonus, maid levy
Singtel Shares give out for free
Jack Neo, Kit Chan, sexy pastor Ho Yeow Sun

Beckham parties with models
Has affair but no one knows
S-league, go world cup, can come true if they don’t suck

Mahathir then Abdullah
Bar top dancing at the bars
Budget airlines start to pa (ie fight) Stop speaking Singlish lah

Gay is okay says PM
SM Lee becomes MM
PM Lee the same name, here we go all over again.


Hear what other fellow Singaporeans have to say

If only this happens on TV…

February 10, 2007

We keep talking about good presentation techniques but nothing can beat this one… Take a break and enjoy this video.

All The King’s Men

February 9, 2007


Saw this movie trailer last month – All the King’s Men. This movie charts the spectacular rise and fall of a charismatic Southern politician, Boss Willie Stark (Sean Penn). Jude Law co-stars as Jack Burden, the once idealistic, now embittered ex-reporter who unwittingly fuels Stark’s corrupt political ambitions. I have already made a mental note to catch it, not because of the movie per say but because of the charisma and power Sean Penn exude in the movie. His character (Boss Willie Stark) speaks from the heart! Go watch the trailer and you will know what I mean.

“Your will is my strength. Your needs is my justice! They want to ruin me because they want to ruin you and I won’t let them!!!”

All Marketers Are Liars by Seth Godin

February 8, 2007

How’s your weekend coming along? As for me, I am up in Poconos widewater rafting on the Lehigh River, all ready to experience the thrill of snaggletooth rapid and cookie monster! And while I am on it, I would like to introduce you to an engaging thought leader and speaker. His name is Seth Godin. He is an author of over six best selling books including Permission Marketing, Idea Virus and Purple Cow.

Here’s a presentation he gave at Google early Feburary this year: All Marketers are Liars For those of you who are dying to pick up innovative ideas on how to market your products, this 50 minutes presentation is a must watch!

I would be addressing two things in my upcoming entries that are inspired by his extremely insightful and entertaining presentation. (after my Poconos trip of course!).

  1. The strengths of his presentation and key takeaways (like what I did with Al Gore)

  2. Give a speech that is worth talking about! This is based on what Seth emphasizes throughtout his presentation – You gotta create a product that is worth talking about!

    So watch this space!

    Related Posts
    Speaking Secrets Revealed: Evaluate All Speakers, Simon Cowell’s style
    Critique of three biz presenters: Biz Gurus Present

The Power Of Body Language

February 7, 2007

Body language is one of the most powerful forms of communication. Unfortunately, a lot of speakers fail to harness its power in their delivery. Not sure where to start? Simple. Videotape yourself at your next speech! Playback the video but mute it. See for yourself if your body language is helping you or detracting you from your speech!

Here’s an article to get you started: Five Ways to Make Your Body Speaks

The Mechanics Of Humor

February 6, 2007

Humor is all about creating surprises! The bigger the surprise, the more laughter you create. This video is an excellent example. 🙂

Al Gore’s Speech on Global Warming

February 5, 2007

View Video Here

Here’s a break from all the four “secrets” I have shared with you. I want to show you a phenomenal speaker that you can learn from! He is Mr Al Gore, the former Vice President of United States of America.

Here are three things that were particularly outstanding in his presentation.

1. Effective use of visuals to tell a story

We all know that a picture tells a thousand words. But when your presentation is full of stunning visuals, attention-grabbing animation and captivating video clips, words do not matter anymore. For a good half an hour, Al Gore painted an extremely convincing picture – global warming is a serious threat and it is real. How? He hardly used any numbers to prove his point (thankfully). Probably a few graphs here and there. Instead, he showed us! By bringing up pictures after pictures, he allowed us to see it for ourselves. In my opinion, that’s the most convincing way of proving your point! He did not just tell us that the snowcap in Artic was disappearing. He showed us various pictures of the snowcap in Arctic at different year and got the audience to make their own conclusions. Another great example was the explanation of the relationship between greenhouse gases and global warming. Instead of explaining it with a picture, he showed us a Simpson video that was both informative and entertaining! He killed two birds with one stone. Impressive!

2. A compelling message

And it started with simplicity. Al Gore skillfully structured his hour-long speech with a really simple structure that most of us would have known about. He began his speech by proving the reality of global warming (with all the stunning visuals) and in his body; he gave us three causes of global warming. He then concluded with – in my opinion – one of the most compelling and inspirational call for action. (I will explain this in a bit.) Yet at every part of his speech, the message was the same. Global Warming is a serious threat and we must do something about it! His speech was supported by well-executed delivery. At one point in his speech, I muted his presentation. And yet I could still feel the intensity of his presentation. Al Gore is an example of an individual that speaks from the heart! He means every word that he said. He feels every word that he said. Who will not be convinced?

3. Conclusion to die for

We all know the reasons why a well-delivered conclusion is critical to the success of a speech, right? We have also heard speeches with pretty good conclusions. But trust me, nothing will prepare you for Al Gore’s gripping conclusion that was both inspiring and profound! In my opinion, he has set the new benchmark. Allow me to do some deconstruction.

He started the conclusion by painting two possible futures. One where our grandchildren will curse the name of this generation. The other was a future that resulted from the right values and the right perspectives. If you realized, just words alone did not create the impact. Go listen to it! It is at the 1 hr 13 mins 12 seconds mark. Feel the emotions he placed behind every single word. Anger. Indignation. Embarrassment. Compassion. Hope. Absolutely intense!

Another aspect of his conclusion that I found compelling was the skilful writing, particularly the use of juxtaposition. He started with Abraham Maslow’s quote – “If the only tool you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.” He then skillfully related it back to his message with this quote – “If every tool we use to measure what is important in our lives is a price tag, if money is the all mighty ruler of the world, then things without a price tag will have no value…” There were definitely more examples of juxtaposition in his conclusion. Shall not spoil the fun for you!

What made his conclusion powerful was also the element of profound-ness. He started the presentation with a slide of Earth and spent a large portion of time addressing the issues we have in Earth. Yet near to the end, it zoomed out and showed us Earth in the perspective of the entire cosmic galaxy. It was just a grey screen with a teeny weeny dot in the left hand corner. Like he said, we are merely a “mode of dust suspended on a sunbeam”. It was that moment that transcends all words, all argument, all emotions… He left us with a “Wooooooooowwwwwwwwww……….” and a standing ovation from the audience. He deserved it.

Check out Garr’s post on Al Gore’s presentation too.

Microsoft Redesigns iPod Package

February 4, 2007

Couldn’t resist posting this here. A powerful lesson on the importance of simplicity! Don’t understand why presenters love flooding their powerpoint slides with bullet points of text after bullet points of text. And worst, clip-art that are cartoonish and distracting. If confusion is what they are aiming for, they sure score an A++!

Check out Garr’s related post: Noise and Elimination of the Nonessential