How to Give a Steve Jobs Caliber Keynote Presentation

How to Give a Steve Jobs Caliber Keynote Presentation

When you step up to the microphone, make sure you have a appealing Keynote presentation backing you up.


> Apple Keynote ($79 with iWork '06,
> Presentation text and images


Keynote, the flagship application in iWork - Apple's two-title productivity suite - doesn't have the corporate cachet of Microsoft PowerPoint. But if you've ever used PowerPoint (and if you have bald spots to prove it), we recommend giving Keynote a try. It's an elegant, powerful, easy-to-use tool that will allow you to create slide presentations as attention-grabbing as the ones Steve Jobs uses to unveil new Apple breakthroughs. Before you even launch Keynote, it's a good idea to create an outline in Microsoft Word, TextEdit, or even Pages (the other app in iWork).


Also, don't miss our Web Exclusive tour of Keynote's Inspector.


Step 1: Create a Basic Presentation


Start with your title page, and be sure to save the presentation now - and every few minutes hereafter. Add slides by clicking the New button in the toolbar. You can change the layout of your slides either by selecting page templates from the Masters drop-down list or by using the Inspector. For example, you can turn a page that has a title and a two-column bulleted list into one with a title and a single-column bulleted list by clicking the Inspector and then choosing the Slide tab. Under the Appearance tab, click the thumbnail of the kind of slide you want. Don't worry about filling in all the slides now—just create a skeleton to work from.


Change the look of a slide instantly with the Inspector.




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How important is it to engage your audience? I recently attended a roll out of a new executive team at a Fortune 100 company event and I could not believe how distracting the PowerPoint was. Small fonts, tiny unreadable charts and more than one read his presentation straight from the screen.





For some of the new users like myself it was some help except for masking, doing what the article said I could never get a shape to mask and the part about selecting a shape then dragging it onto the picture I dont know about the rest of you but my shape appears in the middle of the slide I resize it and I never get an option to "mask a shape" I can mask photos but not shapes, now of course Im new to this program and macs in general and Im sure Im doing something wrong any help would be appreciated, Thank you.



While this is a good article in how to use Keynote, the article's title led me to believe you were going to give us some presentation tips. For example, I was expecting some do's and dont's and other tricks and secrets to make my Keynote presentation as good as Steve Jobs'. Instead you only told me how to use Keynote - nothing new to most users (except I learned more about masking). So, what about a followup to this nuts and bolts article with one on presentation tricks and tips? Awaiting breathelessly...



This article is worse than useless. It merely rehashes the free Keynote tour. It extols chartjunk (for an indictment of this deplorable practice, see: "The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint: Pitching out corrupts within", by Edward Tufte). And anyone who has ever watched a Steve Jobs performance will have noticed how sparingly he uses Keynote: to highlight, to emphasize, to illustrate. The main thing is his talk.



Completely agree with the last three comments. Fake 3D is the worst posible gimmick in a presentation. The third dimension is fake because it carries *zero* information. You're just trying to make a 2D plot *look* three-dimensional. Ridiculous.




David H Dennis

This looks like a pretty good simple tutorial on Keynote, but the article was supposed to tell me how to create a Steve Jobs-grade presentation. These are, of course, two different things.

So since some people are no doubt interested in that subject, let me throw out a few hints.

* Show enthusiasm. You can tell that Steve is really excited about his product and what he's doing with it. For a very nice example of this, view his iPhone keynote, available at . If you're not sincerely enthusiastic about your presentation, find someone who is to make it.

* Don't bore your audience. This means, don't make the slides a duplicate of your talk. Don't sit up there droning that the new Mac Pro has Four Processor Cores while "Mac Pro" and "Four Processor Cores" appears on the screen. Steve would never do this.

* So what should be on your slides? Things that can't be expressed well verbally. For instance, a shiny picture of your Quad processor Mac Pro would do way better than Steve saying how great it looks.

* Elegance and simplicity are good things for a slide presentation. Remember that the public only has a minute or two to see and understand your slides. See a nice contrast between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs here:
Could you grasp the meaning of Bill's slide with all the clouds in two minutes?

* It is not bad to have a list of key points on your slide, since you might rush through them quickly, yet want them to be remembered. Steve does this, but the key is that he elaborates on the points in different language than is on the slide. This keeps both the written and verbal components of the talk interesting.

* Notice how infrequently Steve uses flashy transitions, which just detract from the substance of his talk. Especially note that when he does use them, how little you notice them. You are focusing on him.

Not everyone can be Steve, and yet it's surprising how basic the tips are that can send your ideas out of the evil swamp of mediocrity.




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Les Posen

You lost my confidence as soon as I saw your first slide contained bullet points, something Jobs rarely uses.

The only thing here in common with a Jobs' presentation is the use of Keynote.

Readers would be better advised to actually watch many Jobs' Keynote and try to absorb what he does, then locate those websites that attempt to deconstruct what he does.

Oh, and if there is one thing NOT to copy it's the use of 3D charts. A great way to obfuscate and distort data. Let the Powerpoint 12 bozos think they're doing great presentations using 3D - stick to plain and simple and understandable.

Finally, tell stories with passion using high quality pictures will overcome most display errors, but not all.




Clint Bradford

Great article on presentations. I just last week was subjected to a presentation that broke most of these rules. Use bulleted items, NOT entire paragraphs of text! Every time you put up a new page, the audience is NOT listening to you for a moment or so as they analyze it. If there's tons of text (which has to be smaller in size - i.e., harder to actually READ), then you have lost 'em for a minute.



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