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How Presentation Skills are Bringing Sexy Back

I don’t pay for cable, and I certainly wasn’t watching the 2013 Teen Choice awards. But, I ran across this clip of Ashton Kutcher giving his acceptance speech and loved how he delivered a powerful message.

You may have heard something like this from your dad or grandfather (minus the sexy part) because these are pretty universal truths that most people can connect with, even while struggling to accept them.

It’s true that some of us have held a job that we felt was beneath us. Some of us think that Victoria’s Secret models are sexy, and some of us are trying to build a life that resembles someone else’s life while we struggle to raise the bar personally. Apart from all this, there is something else to be learned from this message: how to deliver a compelling message that gets attention.

Staying in Character

Kutcher clearly did his homework when preparing to play the role of Steve Jobs in the film Jobs (2013). He delivered the message as the late Jobs would have done, and he illustrated many of the strategies and tactics that Steve Jobs used for impactful presentations.

Here are a few of the communication tools that Kutcher adopted from Jobs in his Teen Choice Awards acceptance speech.

The Rule of Three

The rule of three can be traced back to the notably academic minds of the ancient Greeks–using three words to express one idea. Jobs included the rule of three in nearly every presentation he made. He used the technique to introduce the first iPhone, the first iPad, and the iPad2. Lets just say he found something that was proven, stuck with it, and made it his own.

Kutcher’s three:

  • Opportunity = hard work
  • Sexy = smart, thoughtful, and generous (more of the rule of three)
  • Live your life = intentionally build a life for yourself

Know Your Antagonist

It’s good to know what you’re up against. Your antagonist is anything that impedes you from fulfilling your destiny.

Kutcher described our culture and media as the opposing forces to opportunity, knowing what “sexy” really looks like, and living a purposeful life today.

In 1984, IBM, then commonly known as “Big Blue”, was the only thing Steve Jobs saw as standing in his way. Later the villain would be the music industry against the iPod.

Your enemy can be a business, a person, or an idea. But whatever it is, use it to your advantage. Rally others to fight with you against whatever is standing in your way.

Incorporate Stories, Metaphors, and Analogies

Right out of the gate, Kutcher made the presentation personal by telling his audience something about himself that we may not have known. He went by the name Chris until he was 19 years old when he changed his name to benefit his acting career.

He continues with stories about some not so glamorous jobs that he held before he was “Ashton Kutcher”. He analogizes, hard work is an opportunity.

Next, he convincingly conveys the idea that sexy is not what the media and culture would have you think. Kutcher describes sexy as being smart, thoughtful, and generous. (There’s that rule of three again. It works.)

His last story is about his role as Steve Jobs in his latest movie. He says that life is bigger than it looks. Build your own life, and don’t follow any preconceived scripts for life. Steve Jobs said, “You can poke life. If you push in, something will pop out the other side. You can change life.” Jobs felt like this was the most important key to a meaningful existence.

Presentation Skills as a Web Professional

You don’t have to be Ashton Kutcher or Steve Jobs to give a great presentation. But using some of Kutcher’s advice might be helpful. Take every opportunity to work hard, learn as much as you can, and be smart.

You can find out some of the other communication tools that Kutcher used in the book The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs. I highly recommend this book to take your presentations to the next level. As a web professional, incorporating these techniques has been a no-brainer for me to communicate with clients on a daily basis.

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