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Take a lesson from the keynote master, Steve Jobs

Wednesday, 27 February 2013 | By Taskmaster

taskmasterDo you have a big presentation coming up? Perhaps you’re pitching to investors? If so, and you want to get psyched up for it, you could do far worse than watching an old presentation by the Taskmaster’s hero. No, I don’t mean Scrooge McDuck; I mean Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.


Now, Old Taskmaster is certainly not a Mac fan. Anyone deluded enough to think that Apple has never produced a dud product has probably never had the “joy” of using an old Macintosh running System 7.


A quick history lesson: In the mid ‘90s, during the period Jobs left the company, there was a good reason the company nearly went broke; it was called System 7. While Windows finally got decent multitasking in 1995 and the Amiga had it since 1985 (in colour no less), one dud app would crash your computer if you used a Mac. It was a complete mess. Just ask your grandparents!


Anyway, I digress. Apple may have produced some dud products over the years, but when it came to selling products, Jobs was perhaps the closest we’ve had to a modern-day PT Barnum.


Old Taskmaster’s favourite has to be this keynote from 1983:



This video is a great example of American oratory. In the space of less than seven minutes, Jobs’ biggest business rival at the time – IBM – is likened to the totalitarian government IngSoc from George Orwell’s classic novel Nineteen Eighty Four. Steve Jobs didn’t sell his audience a computer; he’s sold them on the idea of basic human liberty.


Keep in mind the following year, President Ronald Reagan got re-elected based (in part) by positioning himself as the candidate who was willing to stare down the totalitarian Soviet Union. Jobs was clever enough to tap into something far larger in the zeitgeist at the time with his message.


Jobs’ ability to sell an idea rather than a product in a keynote was ultimately the secret to growing the business he started in his parent’s garage into the biggest company (by market cap) in the world.


So, do you have a big presentation to do? Perhaps you’re off to a big sales meeting or your pitching for capital? Or maybe you’re just practising your speaking technique?


If so, make sure you watch a Steve Jobs keynote speech beforehand.


Get it done – today!