Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 10.32.15 AM

Two weeks ago, I spent two and a half hours in the middle of my work day watching the latest Apple keynote presentation on a live stream. I was captivated and those hours slipped by easily. How does Apple keep viewers engaged in what at its core is a slideshow?

Apple presentations are, of course, more than slideshows; they are well-orchestrated performances. These performances have been lauded and analyzed in the past, particularly under the reign of Steve Jobs. Books have been written, articles have been posted and attempts to replicate the style have been made.

Though the players have changed, Apple’s keynote presentations are still models of perfection. Watching the latest keynote, I reminded myself of some of things they do so right.

  • Set the Expectation Up Front: Provide an outline. For example, “Today there are four things I want to talk about…”
  • Keep the Slides Simple: Be more visual than text heavy and use Twitter-friendly headlines. For example, “1,000 songs in your pocket.”
  • Show Numbers: But make them meaningful. For example, rather than simply giving the measurement for the thickness of the MacBook Air, Jobs pulled it out of a envelope.
  • Use Humor: I actually believe the humor at Apple’s events has gotten a little bit cheesy. But the tasteful jabs at competitors always get a good laugh from the Apple loyalist audience.
  • Show Videos: The music, the movement and the storytelling power of video sets the tone for the message that follows.
  • Save Something For the End: “One more thing…”

Most importantly, have passion for the content you are presenting. It will show and incite excitement from your audience.