LESSON #1: Forget “the end justifies the means” when you're leading.
person, Steve Jobs had questionable tactics that have been brought to
light in recent books and articles. It seems his focus on Apple was
relentless and his family and many colleagues paid the price of his
Machiavellian approach where, in his mind, the end justified the means
and human toll. Some people suggest that this is an effective type of
leadership. I disagree. Although it may have yielded results for Jobs from a corporate
viewpoint, I’m unaware of any gravestone
that reads, “He got corporate results”. No ma’am. Gravestones talk about
people, their human qualities and kindnesses. Steve Jobs will forever
be remembered as someone who crushed other people in his climb to the
top. I bet his gravestone doesn’t mention anything about that. Nope, communicating like that does not a leader make, at least not in my opinion.
LESSON #2: A presentation that looks effortless is most often the result of deliberate practice.
In his recent book, “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience”, Carmine Gallo studies and shares the techniques that Jobs used to prepare and deliver his legendary presentations. In his decades of stage time, his keynotes engaged the legions of Apple fans and beyond. Here are a few things Jobs would do to prepare. You can do them too:
- Rehearse. Rehearse is more than "practice" -- it means practicing in front of others. Gallo reveals that Jobs’s seeming effortless speeches were the result of obsessive rehearsal. Some of his five-minute presentations took hundreds of hours of practice. If you’re preparing a presentation, don’t just practice it by yourself, in front of a mirror or before your pet dog or cat. Deliver a dry run in front of a supportive group of employees, colleagues or peers.
- Incorporate feedback. In addition to getting over some nerves of speaking in front of people, rehearsing in front of live people is a wonderful opportunity for you to ask for and receive feedback. Allowing for anonymous feedback will earn you the most honest, and sometimes brutal, responses. You won’t agree with all of them, so throw away what you don’t want and use the rest. I suggest using “the rule of three”. If you hear a similar comment from three independent sources, it’s probably worth implementing.
- Record yourself. If you're like most people, you’re probably reticent to audio or video record your presentation or speech. “I can’t stand the sound of my voice”, “I hate seeing myself on video”, “It makes me nervous to be recorded”, are all excuses I’ve heard from clients wanting to improve their presentation skills. Get over it. What you will learn by recording yourself, will far outweigh the awkwardness you may feel. You will be able to note your body language, word “fillers”, and speech patterns that may not be serving you well. Recording yourself is probably that #1 way to fast-track improvement in how you present. This being said, its true value is only found if you review your recording with an eye and ear to ameliorating versus judging. It’s a tool meant to serve you, not break you down.
Steve Jobs may be gone but his lessons live on. You can learn both from what he did right as a presenter, and perhaps even more so, by what he did wrong as a leader -- and communication was a big part of both.
Until next time, here's to ...
Better communication, Better business, Better life,
Marion Grobb Finkelstein
Keynote Speaker / Corporate Trainer / Author
PS: Are you planning a conference, employee gathering or management retreat and looking for presenters? I'd love to submit a proposal for your consideration. Please contact me Marion@MarionSpeaks.com© 2012 Marion Grobb Finkelstein
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