If you watch the video of the Commencement speech of Steve Jobs at Stanford University 2005 (see my former blog post), you can see some effective techniques which you can apply to your presentations as well.
Guiding the audience
Steve Jobs uses a clear structure for his speech: introduction – three stories – conclusion. He uses verbal guideposts to help the listeners follow the story. Use and share the ‘road map’ of your presentation.
The rule of three
His whole speech is based on the classical structure of three, he ‘just’ tells three stories of his life. In those stories, there are always three reasons, three examples or three main ideas.
Three is the magic number. Think about it. How many musketeers were there? How many nephews does Donald Duck have? Or think of the Declaration of Independence state, that all Americans have the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The rule of three is used by writers, comedians and good presenters. Now you know, you’ll see it everywhere. It works.
Silence and pausing
Watch again and see where he pauses. Silence is very powerful in presentations and speeches. Don’t be afraid to use it. Analyze and imitate others. Steve Jobs is a good example.
A good and interesting rhetorical analysis of this speech, can be found on the website of SixMinutes.