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How Steve Jobs liked to Pitch & Present his ideas/products

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Like many people, you will receive presents of books this Christmas. I would suggest you drop a hint for the Steve Jobs Book by Walter Isaacson.

I received a present of this book a couple of Christmases ago. My first thought was, look at the thickness of the book and do I want to spend my Christmas reading this? In early February I picked the book up again and started to read it.

I like to read books with a highlighter in hand; this allows me to review the book quickly and remember important messages and ideas that may be valuable in the future.

On reviewing the book, I realised that a lot of my highlighted ideas were to do with how Steve Jobs and Apple like to pitch and present their ideas/products.

Here are a few pointers which you may find helpful:

APPLE’S DESIGN MANTRA

Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication

This also applies to the presentation of ideas. I spend a lot of my time encouraging presenters to reduce and simplify the content of their presentations.

STEVE JOBS ON POWERPOINT

I want them to engage, to hash things out at the table, rather than show a bunch of slides. “People who know what they’re talking about don’t need Power Point”.

 

I recently helped a Chief Executive reduce the number of slides for an important pitch from 30 slides to less than 10 – and he won the business!

Mike Markkula, an early mentor, taught Jobs to understand that people do judge a book by its cover- and therefore to make sure that all the trappings and packaging of Apple signaled that there was a beautiful gem inside.

How is your pitch/presentation package, is it as innovative as your product, or more likely a series of bullet points on a slide?

Alex Haley once said that the best way to begin a speech is “Let me tell you a story”. Nobody is eager for a lecture, but everybody loves a story. That was the approach that Jobs chose. “Today I want to tell you three stories from my life”, he began. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

There is nobody better in the world at telling stories than the Irish; it’s in our DNA.

I give people confidence to tell stories in a business situation; give me a call if you need to win more business.

Be the person with the Gift of the GAB!

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“The only thing to do with good advice is pass it on. It is never any use to oneself.” Oscar Wilde, Irish dramatist, novelist & poet (1854-1900)

Irish people are generally regarded as good storytellers; we often tell ourselves that we have the gift of the gab.

I believe we publish and sell more short stories in Ireland than anywhere else in the world; lots of our famous novelists are also great short story writers.

This natural ability to tell stories doesn’t often lead to us being good confident public speakers however.

I believe that the reason we are lacking in confidence in this area is the fact that generally during our school days the teachers focused on what was wrong, rather than what was right. Perhaps our parents were guilty of the same trait, because that’s the way they were educated.

E.g. if you did ten sums and 8 were right and 2 were wrong, were you praised for having 8 right or chastised for the 2 that were wrong?

If you stop and think back to your school days, the best teacher you had and the one that stands out in your memory is the teacher who encouraged you and found the good in you. Am I right?

I often use the analogy that the difference between good coaching and bad coaching is similar to Eastern Medicine and Western Medicine.

In Western Medicine we deal with symptoms; tell your doctor you have a headache and he will give you a tablet, if we have a lump somewhere they will cut it out. Whereas I believe Chinese Doctors look at your lifestyle and diet, to find out why are you feeling unwell?

In parts of China I believe that you pay your doctor when you’re well and you stop paying him when you’re unwell.  The complete reversal to how we do it in the Western world.

Referring back to my analogy, bad coaching is the same as western doctors, they deal with symptoms. Regularly I hear presentation coaches say; stand up straight, put your shoulders back, take your hands out of your pockets, make eye contact, speak up – all symptoms that the speaker isn’t comfortable or confident.

I believe a good coach should focus on giving presenters confidence, filling them full of courage – and when they do, the symptoms listed above will generally disappear and what we will see is an engaging, energetic and enthusiastic speaker.

If it is important in your business life or your social life to be the person who can be relied on to present well on big occasions, please continue to read my blogs, or enquire about Aristo’s upcoming training programmes if you wish, for more immediate results.

Andrew Keogh speaking JCI

Tips to make your customers feel valued

Last Saturday evening I had the pleasure of being the Keynote Speaker at the Junior Chamber Ireland ‘Friendly Business Awards’ for Dublin City.  This event is held annually in the Mansion House and recognises and awards businesses under the following headings:

Customer Care, Shop Layout and Design, Disability Access, Digital Experience

JCI events are always exciting, engaging and full of enthusiastic young people.  An organisation I would recommend young business people to join if they wish to enhance their careers.

My talk was entitled:  Are You Being Served?

The idea was to offer the audience some key thoughts about what makes a difference to customers when they visit somewhere intending to spend their hard earned money. Continue reading

A Radio Interview Packed with useful Advice and Tips to improve your Presenting and Pitching Skills

A Radio Interview Packed with useful Advice and Tips to improve your Presenting and Pitching Skills

After my recent blog post Why are People Fearful about Speaking in Public, Dublin City 103.2 FM asked me to come onto their Business show ‘You and Your Business’ with Don Harris and expand on the the importance to peoples careers of being confident when speaking in public.

Here’s the link to this in-depth interview which enhances greatly the content of my recent blog.

Please have a listen (& download) and let me know if you agree or have a comment about my unique approach to improving people’s ability to present on important occasions, be they business or personal.

How do you identify the key message you want to deliver?

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Many years ago on the Michael Parkinson Show, Michael interviewed Frederick Forsyth, author of, amongst many bestsellers, ‘The Day of the Jackal’.  Michael asked Frederick to explain how he went about writing bestsellers, whereupon he told Parkinson this fascinating story which I like to use as an analogy for what I do.

He said “for example if I wished to write a book on the Mafia, I would fly to Italy, base myself in Sicily and spend six months in the library researching the Mafia. Somewhere in that research I would possibly make a connection between the Mafia and the Vatican.

As a result of that I would go and spend three or four months in the Vatican libraries researching possible connections between the Vatican and the Mafia. From that research, it’s likely there will be a connection between politics and the Mafia. This would lead me off on another tangent, spending another three or four months in some sweltering library researching possible connections between politics and Mafia”. Continue reading

Pitching to Win Sales and Investment, here’s my best advice …

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In the last few weeks I have coached Russian Startups, Social Entrepreneur Startups and several companies who Enterprise Ireland would describe as High Potential Startups (HPSU).

I have also helped prepare a company to pitch and win at the Thrive Accelerator Sustainability Award, at the 2nd annual Forbes AgTech Summit held in Salinas, California.

Another company hired me to work with their CTO before travelling to Melbourne to pitch at a major International Banking Conference.

If you have an important pitch coming up shortly, be it to win sales or investment, read on …

You’re interested in Pitching, so let’s get started:

In my talks to start-ups my first slide usually has these three numbers on a plain slide, 6-3-1
To explain the slide I tell them the story of one particular incident, but in reality, this could be any judging panel I sit on, or any pitch event I attend.

I attended a pitch event where there were companies pitching to a panel of Venture Capitalists, the panel was a Who’s Who of Venture Capitalists in Ireland.  Six companies pitched and the next day I met judge Brian Caulfield from Draper Esprit at 10 a.m. for a coffee and asked him the following question:

Of the six companies who pitched the night before, how many of them did he remember?

He paused, and started to think and then he said three.  Remember, it is now less than 12 hours since he heard these pitches and three have been completely forgotten!

I said to him of the 3 that he remembered why did he remember them?

Again, he paused for a moment and then he continued. “The first one is easy, it was the worst pitch I’ve ever heard and I have no understanding what the idea or the product was and what is more I completely lost interest about a minute after the pitch started”.

One down – two to go.  I said to him which of the other pitches do you remember?

He answered “the second one of them was a pitch within the medical space. I previously had an interest in a company who was in this area, so for that reason I was engaged.

I didn’t think it was a particularly good idea but I do remember the pitch”.

Then I said what do you remember about the third pitch?

He replied “AAH the final ONE”!

At this stage, I should tell you who the final one was. The presenter’s name was Simon Lunt and the business he was starting at the time was a company called B-Gate in the logistics area.

I would describe his pitch as follows:

He arrived into the room on a cloud of enthusiasm and energy.  I have rarely seen someone more excited and more enthused about the ideas he had.  He continued to engage us and hold our attention throughout and when finished he left the room in a cloud of dust and excitement and one of the Venture Capitalists turned to another Judge and said “if we could bottle that enthusiasm we would all be millionaires”.

Now in reality it wasn’t the most polished or professional pitch I’ve ever seen in my life and probably could have been better organised, but what it did have (which is what I’m always coaching people to demonstrate) was an abundance of energy, excitement and infectious enthusiasm for his business idea.

More than anything else that’s what I want people to show when they are pitching for sales, funding or investment.

Postscript to this point:

It might be worth noting that Simon Lunt was one of the founders of RiverDeep, so already he had a track record. But this wasn’t revealed until quite late in the pitch Q&A session.  I would have mentioned it much earlier, but in reality his energy his enthusiasm and commitment won over the judging panel.

If you have an important Pitch / Presentation coming up, and would like to have as successful an outcome as my most recent client Gary Wickham did when pitching at the Thrive Accelerator, please get in touch.

 

Testimonial

“I can safely say Andrew is one of the best connections that I have made in my professional career. He is very knowledgeable and makes you feel at ease in his company. MagGrow entered into the Internationally renowned Thrive accelerator in California. We were the only Irish company who reached the last 30 with over 200 entries from 36 countries worldwide. The challenge was to get to the final 12 which required us to pitch our proposition in just 6 minutes. This is where Andrew came into his own. He helped me achieve the above by encapsulating our technology and its many benefits into a fantastic slide deck but most importantly do it as a story. Feedback from a truly acclaimed panel of judges was that the pitch was one of the best. I firmly believe that I would not have gone through without Andrew’s input. He then came up with a very clever analogy for the final. I felt prepared and confident for the final pitch after my time with Andrew and the great news is that we won. We have already opened discussions with leading customers in the USA, all arising from our success so far. We are already thinking about my forthcoming talk at an investor forum in London later this year. Andrew is a trusted and important advisor to MagGrow and me.

Speaking to Andrew may be the best decision you have ever made.”
Gary Wickham, CEO, MagGrow

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