Satya Nadella & The iPhone – Seeing Is Believing

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015 by Simon Morton

A week or so ago, I had the honour of being asked to speak at Microsoft’s Future Decoded conference in London.  Future Decoded is a huge deal – a total of 10,000 attendees over two days soaking up the latest thinking about the future of business, society, leadership, technology and more.

As you’d expect from such an event, Microsoft had rolled out a series of high profile and rather marvellous keynote speakers from the world of business, sport and technology.  The big name on the list was Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft – like I said, they pulled out all the stops on the event.

Satya & iPhone

I was intrigued to see Satya in action.  I’d seen him interviewed, read a fair bit about and by him but never seen him present.

As on TV, he comes across as a gentle, quietly spoken, considered presenter on stage …and if I was being hyper-critical, a tiny bit dull.  Now this might be a little unfair – after all, the vast majority of the audience were fellow techies and seemed pretty happy with proceedings – but there was a distinct lack of impact for the first 10 minutes.

I was beginning to wonder if after all the build up, this keynote might become a little, um, tedious.

And then something changed…

Satya started to demonstrate the (extremely cool) developments Microsoft have been beavering away at.  Not on some fancy set up with clever camera angles and carefully stage managed equipment.  Nope – on a phone (an iPhone of all things) to kick things off.

Not only did the mood in the audience change from slightly twitchy to truly engaged but Satya suddenly came to life too.  He was impressively comfortable in the various demos (there was no doubt that he’d put the rehearsal hours) but he also let his excitement and glee shine through.

He stopped being the cautious and considered tech CEO and morphed into someone who was bursting with pride and who couldn’t wait to share this cool new stuff with the audience.  It was brilliant…

At the end of Satya’s keynote, I was left pondering the metamorphosis I’d just witnessed.  To me, it was yet another example of the power of the demo.

I’ve long ranted about how this form of presentation seemed to be dying a slow death and that sales teams were missing a trick…and one of the most powerful and well respected business people of our time proved it again.

Demos aren’t hokey or something to be avoided – when delivered with confidence, passion and knowledge, they are the perfect platform for presenters to shine and for audiences to engage.

So ask yourself – are you relying on slideware too much?  Would a demo of your software/hardware/widget benefit the audience?  If so, you know what to do (and it has nothing to do with PowerPoint, Prezi or Keynote).

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One Response to “Satya Nadella & The iPhone – Seeing Is Believing”

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