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Selling [blank] to [blank]

The Steve-note is online at Apple’s web site. If you care about such things, you’ve already watched it.

If you don’t, it is a great opportunity to see the best salesman of our time in action.

http://events.apple.com.edgesuite.net/s83522y/event/index.html?internal=g4h5jl83a

You’ve heard the old phrase “He could sell [stereotype] to [ethnicity]“. Well he could.

In all seriousness, if you care about information design and the art of communication, watch his presentation.

This is probably the only time you’ll see the CEO of a company get real applause — but more importantly watch his slides carefully.

  • There are no bullet points
  • There is no point in the presentation where he reads from the slide
  • Almost every slide is a strong, simple image or graphic
  • Text is minimally used and always underscores important-to-remember facts (like sales totals or battery life)

Steve Jobs uses Apple’s Keynote instead of the ubiquitous Microsoft Powerpoint. But that doesn’t matter. Skilled hands can create garbage in any software environment. The real magic here is that he has a script, and the slides are his accompaniment. His slides are like Dean Martin. They aren’t a crutch, they back up what he’s saying, so what he’s saying becomes the focus.

Notice all the little touches to the presentation. For example when he demonstrates a product, the slide reads “Demo” in an informal italic typeface. This indicates to the audience “go watch Steve now”.

Since this presentation is about iPods, music is liberally used throughout the presentation. However music is treated like a reward for a task. When Jobs demos searching for and purchasing a song in the iTunes WiFi store, he rewards the viewer with 10 or 15 seconds of John Lennon (and his iconic visage displayed on the large virtual iPod screen).

If you have a presentation coming up, do yourself a favor. Spend an hour watching this presentation, take notes, and steal some ideas.