Apple’s September keynote presentation in which they announced the launch of the iPhone 11, Apple Watch series 5, the new iPad and more was yet another reminder of how well Apple has mastered the art of introducing new products.
It’s true that Apple certainly know how to keep their presentations very visual and product focussed. And while they’re not immune to certain flaws, such as the overuse of the word ‘awesome,’ an obsession with battery life and wider screens and are slightly exploitative of their fanboys’ brand loyalty. There is no debate that when it comes to crafting a presentation story, Apple are in a league of their own.
Although it does help to invite a cohort of your most devoted loyalists to whoop every time a stat is shown, there are also some very valuable lessons you can learn from Apple when it comes to presenting:
Aim for the heart
To sell a product to an audience, you first must inspire them. Of course, it’s important to convey the right information but there are exciting ways you can achieve this through harnessing the power of storytelling. Bin the bullet-point strewn slides and build a connection with your audience. Creating a story around your message will generate long-term engagement and enthusiasm from your audience. No one has ever been enthusiastic about reading an instruction manual.
For example, when introducing the Apple Watch, Tim Cook discusses the personal and profound impact the Apple watch is having on people’s lives. What followed was video testimonials from people of all ages, from different countries, speaking in different languages discussing how using the device has positively influenced their lives, from spotting one woman’s potential miscarriage to aiding one man’s weight loss journey.
Every time Cook introduces a new product or starts a new topic he opts to say, “We think you’re going to love it,” or “This is a really cool feature,” or (brace yourselves for the dreaded word) “It’s just awesome” (shudders).
Despite our bias against a certain adjective, the point here is that you should really emphasise your personal excitement for what you’re talking about. Aligning this with your audience (through Heatmapping) will help transfer this enthusiasm across.
One theme per slide is enough. Remember you are not the real star of the show, your audience is. You rely on them, not vice versa. If you bombard your audience with too much information and content all in one go, you’re guaranteed to lose them. Keep it simple and choose the key points you want to make wisely. If you can’t figure out how a piece of information is valuable to what you want to say or how you can use it in the presentation within ten seconds, get rid of it.
Meet the team pages are an unfortunately common theme in modern business presentations, along with their equally unpleasant cousin, ‘how much money we make’ slides.
Of course, a multi-billion-dollar corporation like Apple has no need for these horrid clichés…but, honestly, neither do you. Bluntly, no one cares. Your audience is there to listen to your insights, and you are there to convince them you are the expert. You only have a short window to grab their attention, don’t waste time or give your audience any opportunity to switch off.