andy@ideagroupatlanta.com | (404) 213-4416
23
APR
2013

Steve Jobs Was the Master of Meaning – And You Can Be One, Too

Message-content-relevant

Steve Jobs wasn’t too concerned about how he grabbed your attention. He wasn’t above being theatrical, putting on a show or even making fun of himself. All he wanted was for you to pay attention. You can be a master of meaning and get the results you need.

He was a creative, innovative entrepreneur who made millions by turning technology into entertainment. In 2009, Fortune magazine named him “CEO of the Decade.” A ton has been said about his management style, personality and obsessions. But I think what Jobs did best was communicate meaning.

Sell The Meaning First

Getting people to understand what his latest product meant to them was his winning difference. He did it on the most personal basis possible.  Jobs didn’t sell the iPhone based on technology; it was what you could do with it. You don’t think that the legendary “i” stuck on all the product names is a marketing coincidence, do you?

He showcased the true meaning of his product. It wasn’t a phone or an MPG player – it was your individual communication/information/entertainment/personal expression device!

Here’s What This Means To You

As I’ve said before, “Always Give Them a Show” that’s personal and emotional. Now imagine you are sitting in the audience and the speaker says, “Here’s what this means to you.” Suddenly your total attention is centered on what is coming next.

“Here’s what this means to you.” Few things command attention as well as these simple words.

Keep It Personal

Communicating meaning at a meeting or event requires being as personal and individual as you can. Facts are just dry numbers and colored graphs without context and insight – the cause behind the facts. In an earlier article, we talked about how real insight is the vital link between a fact you present and a customer/personal/business need you can fill.

Meaningful content constantly delivers value and relevance. It requires a constant stream of audience decision: Is this important to me? Yes or no? That, folks, is the on/off switch of every meeting or event you host.

If the answer isn’t clear, you’ve wasted your budget and everyone’s time.

Simple, Clear Communication

Steve Jobs exemplified clear communication. His presentation style has been dissected more than a box of frogs on lab day. All the business articles make you think that before you can “dance like Jagger” you have to “speak like Steve.” Toss it all! What Jobs really did was to present great ideas simply, with strong images and the fewest words possible.

When you put the emphasis on your event’s core meaning and not endless details, you can communicate that way, too.

Here’s how to do it:

Put The Other Guy First

Know what the audience cares about – Give them fresh content they can use right away to handle their requirements. Don’t guess. Research, prepare, polish – and then remove every superfluous word and idea until you are down to just the meaning.

Showcase Just a Few Big Ideas – Focus on a single message, issue or objective and discuss it only as far as needed. You don’t have to say everything under the sun about it to communicate meaning. Have one overarching strategic mission – that’s it.

Present the Bare Minimum – Don’t pad your remarks and agenda to kill time. Break the desired result down to the essentials. We all say too much if we aren’t confident that what we say matters. So don’t oversell it – just explain it. Focus on “How,” ”Why” and “Here’s what this means to you.”

Aim for Insight – Your ultimate goal is the individual connection when it all comes together, the light comes on and they “get it.” You want them to walk out the door energized and motivated to act. So make your content as personal, compelling and as specific as possible. Use the fewest facts necessary to drive the meaning home.

You Will Make Content That Sticks

What makes a memorable experience? What makes your event or trade show relevant and valuable, gets results and keeps audiences and customers coming back? The simple answer is content that’s simple, clear, entertaining and human. You do it through Message, Meaning, Media and Music.  Make every element of your content matter, work together and demonstrate to the audience that they matter –and your event will pay off stronger than ever.

You don’t have to be Steve and wear a black long-sleeve mock turtleneck.  Just remember these tips from the Master of Meaning.

Forget your corporation and focus on the audience.

Provide content that touches people on a personal level and inspires emotional connections.

Transform facts and details into insight.

Let’s face it. You can set a million goals, objectives, quotas and aspirations – but people have to make them happen. Follow these guidelines and you will become a Master of Meaning – just like Steve.

If you want to know more about how to add meaning and create memorable events just click on CONTACT US and get in touch.

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About the Author
Andy Johnston is a multi-faceted communication professional who has a comfortable way of working with people. Andy is an Emmy Award winning communicator known for his energy, humor, creativity and his unique ability to discover the key results that must be generated – and then to develop ingenious ways to engage and motivate audiences. He has broad experience in strategic planning, messaging, creative direction, marketing, and events.One of the things Andy says often is, “How can we make it better?”
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