Transcript: Carmine Gallo Discusses Three Secrets All Inspiring Messages Share at Stanford

So they mentioned I wrote this book Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs. This came out several years ago. I taught a lot about the visual display of information. Steve Jobs didn’t create it, but he happened to use it very, very well. And a lot of — I’ve been really gratified, because ever since then a lot of business people, some very well-known that have touched your life every day that you know very well, have called me or they sent me emails. Or they send me their slides ahead of time. And they’re showing me how they’re incorporating visual design.

So whether you read my stuff, or Nancy Duarte who spoke here, Garr Reynolds, there’s so many different resources out there, but the point is start learning how to think visually. This is called Picture Superiority. Picture Superiority simply means that, when I deliver information verbally you remember about 10% of it. If I can add a picture though, retention goes up to 65%. The average PowerPoint slide is 40 words. That doesn’t surprise me. When I first heard I thought that’s too much. Actually no, it’s not; it’s very close to reality.

Great communicators, it’s hard to find 40 words in like ten slides of their presentations. When Tim Cook at Apple has a number, when he wants to just introduce a big statistic or a number, that’s all you got to have on the slide is the number, 5 million. If he wants to talk about a product, it’s the product. You don’t need to clutter slides with bullets and texts and bullets and texts. Especially when you tell stories.

Let me give you one example that I actually delivered here a couple of years ago. Remember I told you about the MacBook Air, the world’s thinnest notebook? Well if I’m going to tell you it’s the world’s thinnest notebook, boy, that’s clear. Why would I clutter a slide and make it look as ugly as this? This is what I think most people would’ve done when they introduced a new product like the MacBook Air. Let me put all the specs on one slide. And, by the way, I heard Carmine mentioned something about visual design, so why don’t I add some clip art, clip art of a battery up there? And there you have it. That’s a pretty ugly slide.

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Steve Jobs and Apple they thought about it. They thought creatively. Well if it’s that thin, it kind of fits inside one of those envelopes that you see around the office. Well why don’t we just show that? Oh, isn’t that so much more powerful than this? That’s memorable. That’s emotional. It makes a connection with you. But that takes work.

Thinking visually takes work. And it also takes collaboration as well, so but that’s okay. Collaborate with people who might be better at something than you are. There are many people who are better designers than I am, so I collaborate with them. I’m very good at telling them the story. They collaborate, we came up with some pretty interesting slides, or images for certain events. But think visually.

And finally, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but most people don’t care about your idea or your product. They care about themselves. I don’t think most of you would disagree with that. They care about themselves. Their hopes, their dreams, their goals, their ambitions. If you can sell dreams, and not products, that’s how you’ll win them over. If you can convince people, persuade them, that by joining you on your journey and your vision that they’re going to be taken to another place, that’s how you’re going to win people over.

And today especially there’s a real lack of inspirational leadership. People crave inspiration. They’re hungry for it. They are looking for someone to believe in. Make them believe in you. Make sure you articulate and communicate your message and your idea, in a way that truly inspires me. That lifts my spirits. That takes me to another place. That makes me feel better about my place in the world. Once you do that, you’ll win me over, and you’ll have achieved a significant step toward, reaching your dreams as well.

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Okay, thank you very much for inviting me for your your lunch break.

Appreciate it.

Thanks everyone.

I understand we do have a few minutes for questions if anyone has anything specific. Yes sir?

Question-and-answer session

Audience: You talk about — seem to target business to consumer interactions, and I’m curious to know how effective is what you’re saying in business to business interactions when you’re dealing with potentially more self-controlled [inaudible]?

Carmine Gallo: Sure. The question was a lot of what I’m talking about was applied to business to consumer interactions. All of these techniques apply to the most complex idea. In fact, the more complex your idea, the harder it is for people to grasp, the more you need to understand — really this is just the theory of communication. Last year, and I’ll be very careful with what I say. But last year, I actually worked with nuclear scientists at a very large nuclear lab in a desert somewhere. And true story, nothing, nothing that you do in your career will be as complicated as developing nuclear weapons. It is really complicated stuff. But guess what? They loved all this. They loved it. There was a lot of push-back. It was one of the roughest half day workshops that I ever had to give. All of these scientists were just pushing back, and pushing back on everything I was saying. They wouldn’t even let me get one word out, before they started disagreeing with everything. It was, it was tough, it was a really tough workshop. I mean, I was just drenched, by the end. I was exhausted by the end of it.

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