Wednesday, December 22, 2021



“1000 songs in your pocket”- this is how Steve Jobs chose to describe iPod when it was first launched in 2001. I distinctly remember getting awed with the utility that iPod provided and ended up buying one a couple of years later (when it became available in India). The moot point here being- Storytelling, the way the message is presented, matters.

It's a given that the presentation skills are crucial not only for glorious product launches but also in our day-to-day work lives. The topic of enhancing one's presentation skills has been sliced and diced in many ways in too many books. It really gives way to the feeling that there is hardly anything left to write about it.

I too felt the same way till i read Carmine Gallo's HBR article . What stood out for me in this article is the singular (and often underrated) focus on one aspect of growing one's presentation skills- Rehearsals.

For a presentation to be successful, rehearsals have to be purposeful and systematic. Ken Kocienda, Apple engineer who wrote this fantastic book "Creative Selection", had following to say about Steve Jobs' presentation skills:

"This was one of Steve's great secrets of success as a presented, he practiced. A lot. He went over and over the material until he had the presentation honed and he knew it cold. Steve thought about what each line meant to him and what those lines could mean to an audience. He worked on pace, on using his voice, his body, and his gestures to supplement his words."

Carmine's article brings forward some of the finer aspects of presentation rehearsals to the fore. Few are:
1. Commit to 10x Improvement
2. Start as Strong as You End
3. Practice Under Mild Stress
4. Record Your Rehearsal
5. Ask for Feedback

My favorite of these is the suggestion to practice under mild stress. Not all stress is bad. The more you rehearse under real-world conditions, less likely will you crack under pressure.

Highly recommend reading the article and applying. Catch my summary of the key learnings in the sketchnote.

What are some of the ways you rehearse for presentations ?

My Sketchnote:

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