Follow-Up: Lecturing Like Steve Jobs

Posted on by Brooke

I posted once before on the ways lecturers can learn from accomplished presenters; the prompt was an essay by Carmine Gallo about making presentations like Steve Jobs does.

Gallo’s book on the subject has become available: The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs (Amazon). The book is inductive and practical: always beginning with specific examples of Jobs’ successes, Gallo names the strategies he sees working for Jobs and generalizes them for popular use. For example, Apple’s 1984 advertisement provides an antagonist against which to establish one’s product as the heroic protagonist. The principles isolated by Gallo are arranged into three “acts”: 1) Create the Story; 2) Deliver the Experience; 3) Rehearse and Refine.

This is not a become-interesting-quick manual. There is no five-step or 12-step program offered. Instead, 18 principles culled from Jobs’ most successful presentations are sensibly arranged for long-term study, experimentation, and practice.

As with the earlier weblink (which only scratches the surface of the content of the book), I find application to academic lecturing everywhere in the book. I will leave to a later post the question of whether teaching involves “selling” a subject matter. (Among the problems I see in that idea is the error-ridden notion that, if the prof fails to “sell” the student on the course material, then the student has the right not to “buy into” the course expectations.) I will provisionally claim, though, that lecturing includes an irreducible element of selling.

As we know, many Bible-bloggers are presenting at SBL/AAR New Orleans (thanks, Daniel and Tonya). In December, we’ll see a slough of posts about bad practices in academic presentations. Don’t let yours be among those examples! Instead, ask yourself now how Steve Jobs would present deuteronomistic editing in Jeremiah…or stratum 5a/4b at Megiddo…or gender-bending in the Joseph novella…or materes in late pre-exilic Hebrew inscriptions…or misogyny in military taunt genres…or…or….