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How Apple Caught My Attention for Two Hours at #WWDC


It started with my first iPhone.  I’d had it for a week or so, and I turned to my husband and said, “Have you heard me complain once about this phone?”

Every other time I’d had to get a new cell phone, I threw a major hissy fit within 24 hours – usually in my husband Rich’s direction.  I whined about not being able to figure out how to do what I wanted to do on my new phone.  That was, until I got the iPhone.  I never complained.  It just worked.

After the great experience with the iPhone, I decided to make the switch to Mac for my business computer.  (Anyone considering the switch… get the One-to-One training to learn how to transition from PC to Mac – best $99 I ever spent.)  I’m typing this on my MacBook Pro with my iPhone 4 to the left of me and my iPad (the first one…but I so want a 2) to my right.

Monday evening sitting on the living room soft, I was flipping channels trying to find something good to watch.  Rich was on his iPhone 4 and said something about Apple announcing a new operating system.  After giving up on finding something interesting on TV, I checked my email and saw the email Rich was talking about.  I clicked the link to the WWDC (Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference) keynote address.

When I saw Steve Jobs, I thought (1) he’s gotten so skinny, I hope his health is OK.  And (2) as a presentation coach, I really should watch the presentation so I know what folks will be saying about Steve and Apple’s latest speech.

I noticed when I went to hit the play bar that it was almost two hours long.  I remember thinking, Geez, I don’t know if I can watch the whole thing – not just tonight but ever.  Turns out, I was wrong.  At different times on Monday night and Tuesday, I watched the whole two hours.

As a presentation coach, I asked myself, why did I feel motivated to watch the whole thing?  What did Steve Jobs and the other Apple presenters do that caused me to feel compelled to watch the whole thing?  What can I and other presenters learn from their example?  Here’s what I came up with.


How Cool Is That?

The first 6 minutes of the presentation (not counting the rousing round of applause that Steve Jobs received just because he’s Steve Jobs) were what I call the “about us blahs.”  I don’t care for “about us blahs” myself.  This is when a company talks about how wonderful they are and all the wonderful things they’re doing.  Me, I think so what when I hear the “about us blahs.”  Toward the end of the 6 minutes, I was tempted to tune out.  But when the about us blahs finally ended, and when Phil Schiller started talking about the changes to the operating system, I kept thinking, “Oh, that’s cool.”  But what I meant by that was, “That change will make it easier for me to do the things I do.”

We all want to know “what’s in if for us” when we’re a member of the audience.  When a speaker goes on with the about us blahs, he leaves the audience thinking “So What… why do I care?”  As presenters, our messages need to say, “…and here’s why that’s important to you.”  The Apple presentation was about how the changes would make my life better as someone who uses their product.  I wanted to watch the whole thing to find out.

As you talk about your product or service, are you spewing about us blah?  Are you trying to shove as much information about you and your business as you can to your listener?  Or are you telling them how your product or service will make their life better?  Drill yourself on every point.  Ask yourself, “How will this piece of my presentation be relevant to my audience?”  If you can’t answer that question, cut the piece from your presentation.

We’re Covering Three Things

Steve Jobs set the day up saying they were going to cover three things.  By setting up the three things, he quickly gave us a road map.  We knew there would be three things, and as the two ours unfolded, we always knew where we were relative to the three points that would be covered.  That helped us stay tuned in as the presentation went along.


We Don’t Need the Whole Story

There are 250 new features in the changed operating system.  Now theoretically, Apple could have covered all these feature in their presentation.  They covered 10.  Ten may have even been more than they needed to cover.  What they did cover were those changes they felt would have the biggest impact on the people using their products.  And they got me saying, “How cool is that?!”

Are you trying to cover too much material in your presentations?  Can you reduce it down to three to five points that make the most difference to your audience?


Mean It

All the Apple presenters were enthusiastic about their product.  They knew how helpful their features would be for people who buy their products.

Do you have enthusiasm for your product or services?  Does it show in your energy?  In the tone of your voice?  In the look on your face?  Mean it when you get on stage.

Yes, I’ve Drunk the Apple Kool-Aid

Yes, I may be a little punch drunk on Apple Kool-Aid.  Maybe I’m more fascinated by the new functionality than the average computer user.  But now that I’m an Apple convert, there’s also an air of hanging out with the cool kids.  My point is, they kept my attention enough that I kept watching until I was able to see the entire two-hour presentation.  With my self diagnosed attention-deficit, that’s an impressive feat.

So do your audiences hang on your for your entire presentation?  Do you keep providing them with what’s in it for them?  How can you serve up your own version of Kool-Aid?


So What Do You Think?

Did anyone else watch the keynote?  Do you agree?  Disagree?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!



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