The 1st Rule of Hi-impact Presentations as Practised by Steve Jobs

"Goldfish, goldfish, goldfish, goldfish..."

“Goldfish, goldfish, goldfish, goldfish…”

Most people who’ve been on a presentation course have been taught to “tell ’em what you’re going to tell ’em; tell ’em; tell ’em what you’ve told ’em”. And then the internet came along.

Whether you want to get a song on your iPod that you’ve just heard on the radio; download an ebook onto your Kindle or find something out you can can do it in seconds. No waiting; no build up; no preparation just click, click, click, done.

The upshot of this is that our attention spans have been slashed. We’re not quite sure what we want but we want it now and we want lots of it!

Back to presentations then. Start a presentation with an agenda screen followed by one about your company and you’ll have the audience reaching for their Blackberry’s faster than you can say “and we have 9 offices throughout the UK”.

Nnnnnnoooooo!!!!!! Just face it, NOBODY CARES and if they do they’ll Google you.

Imagine Steve Jobs starting one of his famous presentations with an agenda screen and then telling us all about Apple. We don’t  want to hear that – we want to hear about the next cool device Apple are going to bestow upon us and that’s exactly what he gave us. What we wanted.

So here it is folks; the 1st rule of High-Impact presentations: always start your presentation with something that they can relate to.

  • A topical story with a message
  • Something controversial
  • A bold statement followed by a declaration that you’re “going to show how this is true”
  • An audience participation exercise
  • Anything but an Agenda or an About Us screen.

In other words if you were presenting to a room full of pussy-cats you’d start off by talking about goldfish. So the next time you’re building a presentation the first thing to do is figure out what their “goldfish” is and open with that!

This is the first of 7 blog posts all dedicated to the same end: delivering hi-impact presentations. 


Passionate about making business development a profession not just a job. Built and sold a £40m group in less than 9 years. Doing it all again and loving it!

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Posted in Communication, Differentiation, Presentation Skills, Uncategorized
5 comments on “The 1st Rule of Hi-impact Presentations as Practised by Steve Jobs
  1. Pat says:

    Nice one Mike. I’m just off to remove my agendas and think about my goldfish………


    • Mike Ames says:

      Indeed you should pat – Goldfish are the way forward. Also this is the first of 7 items all on the same theme; Delivering High-impact presentations. Hope you like the rest too.

  2. […] The same can be said for presentations, you need to capture the audiences attention quickly and dispense with the personal and company CV. If you are interested in being able to hold your the attention of your audience in presentations, there’s a very good series of blog posts on this very subject by a friend of mine Mike Ames. Take a look here. […]

  3. Fiona says:

    Really good thought Mike. Everyone is so “wired” these days we need the bottom line first!

    • Mike Ames says:

      You’re absolutely right Fiona – nobody has any time to spare and we’re used to getting what we want when we want it. Not sure I entirely approve but it’s the modern world I guess.

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Mike Ames

Passionate about making business development a profession not just a job. Built and sold a £40m group in less than 9 years. Doing it all again and loving it!

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