If you saw or read up on the recent iPhone 4 unveiling, you probably noted that eminently qualified speaker Steve Jobs ran into technical problems, just like us poor shmoes. The difference is in how he recovered.
Image via Wired Gadget Lab.
Carmine Gallo, author of The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, tells MacWorld (originally via CIO.com that three key Jobs-ian techniques were revealed during the WWDC keynote speech, during which Jobs had trouble connecting his just-officially-announced iPhone 4 to the conference centre's Wi-Fi network, due in part to the large number of connections and cellular-to-wireless access points being wielded by the tech-savvy audience.
Gallo suggests that Jobs showed how to elegantly roll into backup plans when things go wrong, and be entertaining when a seemingly perfect plan hits a snag. Above all, Jobs didn't talk nervously, endlessly, about technical problems during his talk, and took the time to analyse his next move:
"If it's a small enough glitch where nobody in the audience knows that something is supposed to happen, don't call attention to it," Gallo points out. "I've seen this happen all the time. People said: ‘Oh, that slide is not supposed to be there.' Or: ‘Oh, I don't want to show you that!' It makes you look bad, and it brings the whole presentation to a halt."
In addition, you shouldn't panic over a couple of seconds of silence as you gather yourself after a technical hiccup, such as a slow network connection ... During Jobs's WWDC presentation, there were several instances where he took some quiet time to try to remedy his technical issues and figure out his next step. "He was not afraid of the pause," Gallo points out. His use of humor (and, admittedly, an adoring crowd) also helped to diffuse any audience discomfort.
If you can deal with less-than-subtle Apple CEO idolatry, the full read on what Steve did and didn't do when things went wrong is worth the click, for sure.
How Steve Jobs beats presentation panic [Macworld]