Zuckerberg’s Steve Jobs Worthy Presentation
I consider Apple co-founder Steve Jobs to be the world’s most astonishing corporate storyteller, but I also believe that any speaker can use some of Jobs’ techniques to improve their presentations. So I was pleasantly surprised to see Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg deliver a Steve Jobs-worthy presentation to kick-off Facebook’s developers conference and to announce a massive redesign of the site. Although the site’s redesign will have its critics and admirers, Zuckerberg’s keynote received high marks. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff called it Zuckerberg’s best keynote ever.
Zuckerberg’s presentation came to my attention via Twitter posts from viewers who were convinced Zuckerberg must have read my book, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, which has just been updated with new material.
“10 bucks Zuckerberg read Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs”
“Didn’t you see Presentation Secrets tucked in his back pocket?”
“Mark Zuckerberg has read @carminegallo book, about Steve jobs keynotes. Fully inspired, gestures, words, attitude!
“Zuckerberg is really copying Steve Jobs. Same sentences, same presentation structure, same rhythm.”
“Sounds like Zuckerberg is taking speaking lessons from Steve Jobs.”
Whether or not Zuckerberg read the book, he did apply the principles to create a presentation which observers labeled “effective,” “polished,” and “intriguing.” It’s not a bad thing to draw comparisons to Steve Jobs who has become famous for his awe-inspiring presentations. Here are some of the principles Zuckerberg applied to create a Steve Jobs-worthy presentation.
Create a Twitter-friendly headline. Great communicators can explain their product or service in one sentence. I find it uncanny that every Apple product is accompanied by a one sentence description that fits well within a Twitter post of 140 characters. For example, the MacBook Air is “The world’s thinnest notebook.” If that’s all you know about the new product, it tells you a lot.
Zuckerberg, too, included a Twitter friendly description for Facebook’s new feature called Timeline. In a sentence, Zuckerberg said, “Timeline is the whole story of your life on a single page.” The description is short (57 characters) and memorable. If you search for the phrase it will show up in thousands of blog posts and news articles because Zuckerberg effectively and concisely framed the narrative for his customers.
Stick to the Rule of Three. Steve Jobs and other great communicators will often divide their presentation into three digestible chunks of material or call out “three” new features or benefits of a product. What’s the iPad 2? It’s “thinner, lighter, and faster” than the original. Since we can only consume about three pieces of information in short term memory, don’t overload your audience’s brain with dozens of key messages?
After delivering the Twitter friendly headline, Zuckerberg said Timeline has three components: “All your stories, all your apps, and a new way to express who you are.” He repeated the three elements three times for added drama. Zuckerberg then dived deeper into each of the three areas. By providing a 3-part outline, he made it easy to follow the narrative. He used the rule of three several times throughout the presentation. In another instance Zuckerberg introduced “open graph,” a new set of apps that he said would allow for “frictionless experiences, real-time serendipity, and finding patterns.”