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Why did the 2018 Apple Keynote event fall short of Steve Job’s presentation standards?


Inside the Steve Jobs Theatre in Apple Park

Because it failed to create a powerful aha moment.


It’s arguable whether this was due to the technology introduced not being aha-worthy. But my point is that irrespective of whether the technology wows customers or not, there are more and less effective ways to present it. And Apple unfortunately didn’t seem to have chosen the most effective means to create a memorable experience.


Steve Jobs pulling out the first MacBook Air from a manila envelope was an aha moment. He told us that it was the thinnest notebook computer in the world. But he didn’t only back it up with numbers. He used the manila envelope to show us too.



“Show, don’t tell.” is one of the most important principles of product demonstrations. And even though Apple Keynote events are not typical product demos, the iconic Apple co-founder more than once resorted to demonstrating features of Apple’s new products during these events. Another well known example is the introduction of the iPhone.



Which brings us to how the 2018 Apple Keynote event could have used “show, don’t tell” to create a memorable moment.



For me, the most groundbreaking feature of the iWatch 4 presented at the 12th September event is its ability to take an ECG. Having an ECG machine on your wrist is a major breakthrough. Apple COO Jeff Williams unfortunately only told us about it.


He could have worn the watch and taken his own ECG on stage. That would have been an aha moment!


If Jeff Williams’ ECG had revealed he was a bit nervous or excited, there would have been plenty of room to turn it into a joke too. Which could have added some humour to the otherwise not very exciting presentation.


“Show, don’t tell.” can go beyond tech products. Lately, sports equipment and shoe manufacturers have started using plastic bottles to make footwear. A very noble idea as this will reduce the amount of plastic polluting our environment. I haven’t been able to find the official unveiling of such products as a traditional presentation. But if there was such an event, then displaying on stage the bottles that would have gone into making a pair of sneakers could deliver a more powerful message than just saying how many bottles go into a pair.


So the next time you wish to land a strong message, think of ways how to show. Don’t just tell.


Happy presenting!


If you find the ideas in this post interesting, drop me a line. Share what aspects of your presentations you would be interested in improving. And I’ll be happy to cover it in a post.


#presentations #presenting #publicspeaking #communication #apple

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Akos Gerold

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