4 SlideShare Tips Inspired By Steve Jobs

March 25, 2013

Apple fan or not, you can’t deny that Steve Jobs was a legendary presenter. Those who had the opportunity to witness his famous keynotes referred to his unique presentation style as “Stevenotes.” What made Jobs’ speeches so special that they warranted a nickname?

Jobs “transformed the typical, dull, technical, plodding slideshow into a theatrical event complete with heroes, villains, a supporting cast, and stunning backdrops. People who witness a Steve Jobs presentation for the first time describe it as an extraordinary experience,” writes Carmine Gallo in his book The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs.

Indeed, we here at HubSpot were so inspired by this notion of storytelling and presenting that we created a SlideShare presentation and blog post condensing the presenting wisdom of Jobs and other remarkable modern-day speakers.

These tips are great for live presentations -- but with SlideShare, a story doesn’t have to be presented in person to spark and start a wildfire discuss in the industry. In fact, our deck on speechmaking lessons from Steve Jobs and other captivating presenters hit 179,000 views in less than a week without anyone presenting it in person. (It's now been viewed more than 274,000 times!)

How do you translate some of these speechmaking tips to a slide-only medium? Here are some presentation secrets for creating a ‘Stevenote’-style SlideShare. Note: these tips are abbreviated and adapted from a full-length article on HubSpot’s blog.

TIP #1: START WITH PAPER, NOT SLIDESHARE. Don’t sell yourself short by jumping head-first into SlideShare before planning out your story. Take the time to thoughtfully craft your story on paper before you even think about creating a single slide. That extra step separates the great from average presentations.

TIP #2: TELL YOUR SLIDESHARE STORY IN 3 ACTS. Most presentations start with who you are, what your company/product does, and why you should buy. Boring! Just like a story is composed of a setup, confrontation and resolution, Jobs favored a three-part WHY> HOW>WHAT progression. He framed his presentations on 1) why the listener should care, 2) how the product would better the listener’s life and 3) what action the listener should take. Isn’t that format much more interesting, viewable and sharable?

TIP #3: A PICTURE IS WORTH 1,000 WORDS. It’s a fact--the human brain absorbs pictures better than words. We process visual information 60,000x faster than text. Science calls this the Picture Superiority Effect and there’s lots of data to back it up. When creating a SlideShare, use images over words as much as possible.

TIP #4: DITCH THE BULLET POINTS ON YOUR SLIDES. Speaking of eliminating words, it’s time to ditch the bullet points. Steve Jobs NEVER used bullets on his slides, even ones that listed product features. In his ebook Really Bad PowerPoint, Seth Godin wrote, “The minute you put bullet points on the screen, you are announcing ‘write this down, but don’t really pay attention to it now.’ People don’t take notes at the opera.” Get rid of those bullet points; you don’t need them. Instead, focus on choosing the important words and pairing them with powerful images. The best SlideShares make one point per slide with a tweet-length headline.

For the full list of presentation tips inspired by Steve Jobs and other modern presenters, please visit the original article on the HubSpot blog.

What are some of the best tips you’ve used for creating remarkable SlideShares?


Lindsey Kirchoff is a content creator at marketing software company HubSpot. When she's not at her dream job writing about inbound marketing, she also discusses millennial/GenY marketing on her personal website. Her writing has been featured in the LA Times and LinkedIn's blog. Find her on Twitter @LindseyKirchoff.