Scene 14: Master stage presence

‘I was hooked by Steve’s energy and enthusiasm.’ Gil Amelio

  • The words Jobs uses to describe a product are obviously important, but so is the style in which he delivers the words.
  • He punches key words in every paragraph, adding extra emphasis to the most important words in the sentence.
  • He makes expansive gestures to complement his vocal delivery.

‘Who’s Mr. Note Card?’

  • Sigman .. read stiffly from a script, pausing awkwardly to consult notes.

Three techniques to improve body language

  • Eye contact
    • Most presenters spend too much time reading every word of text on a slide
    • Eye contact is associated with honesty, trustworthiness, sincerity, and confidence
    • Avoiding eye contact is most often associated with a lack of confidence and leadership ability
    • Jobs can make solid eye contact with his listeners because he practises his presentations for weeks ahead of time – he knows exactly what’s on each slide and what he’s going to say when the slide appears; the more Jobs rehearses, the more he has internalized the content, and the easier it is for him to connect with his listeners.
    • The second reason why Jobs can make solid eye contact is that his slides are highly visual – more often than not, there are no words at all on a slide – just photos.
    • Open posture
      • Jobs rarely crosses his arms or stands behind a lectern – his posture is open
      • An open posture simply means he has placed nothing between himself and his audience
      • Rarely breaks eye contact for a long stretch of time
      • Hand gestures
        • Jobs emphasizes nearly every sentence with a gesture that complements his words
        • Keeping your hands at your sides will make you look stiff, formal, and, frankly, a little weird
        • Very disciplined, rigorous, and confident thinkers use hand gestures that reflect the clarity of their thinking – it’s like a window to their though process
        • Be careful that your hand gestures do not become robotic or overrehearsed
        • Be yourself. Be authentic.

Say it with style

  • Jobs uses his voice as effectively as his gestures
  • Great slides mean little without a great delivery
  • Pay particular attention to pacing, pausing, and  volume
  • Jobs varied his delivery to create suspense, enthusiasm, and excitement

Is that a CEO or a preacher – Cisco CEO John Chambers roams among the audience after only a minute or two onstage.

  • Inflection
    • Raising or lowering the pitch of the voice
    • Descriptors: unbelievable, awesome, cool, huge
    • Pauses
      • Nothing is more dramatic than a well-placed pause
      • Don’t rush a presentation; let it breathe
      • Remain quiet for several seconds as you let a key point sink in
      • Don’t script more material than the time allows
      • Carefully rehearse to give yourself plenty of time to slow down, pause, and let your message take hold.
      • Volume
        • Lower or raise voice to add drama
        • Lower the voice to build up but raise volume to hit the big note; may do the opposite
        • Rate
          • Speed up the deli very of some sentences and slow down for others
          • Slow down when delivering the headline or key message that you want everyone to remember
          • When Jobs introduced the iPod for the first time, he lowered his voice nearly to a whisper to emphasize the key takeaway. He also slowed the tempo of his sentences to build the drama.

Act like the leader you want to be

  • Nonverbal cues were discovered to carry the most impact in a conversation
  • Tone of voice – vocal expression – was the second most influential factor
  • The third, and least important, were the actual words spoken
  • How Jobs speaks and carries himself leaves his audience with a sense of awe and confidence in him as a leader
  • People are making judgements about you all the time, but especially in the first ninety seconds of meeting you.
  • How you deliver your words and what your body language says about you will leave your listeners disillusioned or inspired.

Bueller? Bueller?

Director’s notes:

  • Pay attention to your body language. Maintain eye contact, have an open posture, and use hand gestures when appropriate. Don’t be afraid of using your hands. Research has shown that gestures reflect complex thinking and give the listener confidence in the speaker.
  • Vary your vocal delivery by adding inflection to your voice, raising or lowering your volume, as well as speeding up and slowing down. Also, let your content breathe. Pause. Nothing is as dramatic as a well-placed pause.
  • Record yourself. Watch your body language, and listen to your vocal delivery. Watching yourself on video is the best way to improve your presentation skills.

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