5 basic principles of Elon Musk’s presentations
Earlier, we have already talked about 15 rules for preparing Steve Jobs presentations, this time our article will be about an equally famous speaker, whose presentations are also admired and never cease to be used as an example – Elon Musk!
Musk keeps himself simple, he’s not a movie star. In places he fusses or is shy. However, the audience is jubilant and is ready to buy the battery. How does Musk do it? He follows 5 steps to ensure the success of any presentation.
Now let’s talk about everything in order.
1. Name the enemy – find the problem Mask’s worst enemy – fossil fuels
Don’t start your presentation by talking about yourself, your team, your product, or your target audience. Instead, immediately name the problems that are preventing your customers from becoming happier. Imagine them in vivid imagery that will evoke a strong emotional response. Describe the buyer’s problems in the darkest possible terms, identify the causes of their suffering, and find the culprit. Musk is so masterly representing the harm of fossil fuels that it seems as if Darth Vader is hiding behind his back and breathing ominously down his back.
2. Relevance of the product
The audience, especially investors, are big skeptics. They think as follows: “People have lived like this for a hundred years, why change anything?” The mask has something to say to that. He states that today the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached a critical point.
If people don’t solve the problem now, it will get worse in the future. When Musk says, “We need to solve this problem together,” the audience cheers for him.
3. Describe your “heaven on earth”, and then point the way to it
Before talking about solar batteries, Musk detailed an ideal world with a happy ending: a world powered by the energy of an “easily accessible thermonuclear reactor in the sky called the Sun”. For those with little experience in presentation, it may seem counterintuitive to start with “Where do we get to” rather than “How do we get there”.
It seems as if someone could not resist and gave out all the salt of the joke, forgetting about the beginning. However, when the audience understands what you are driving at, they are more likely to follow you.
4. Identify obstacles and explain how to get around them
You have shared your vision of an ideal future! Now 1) present to the public in detail the obstacles to the ideal 2) show how your company / product / service can help overcome each problem individually.
Musk identified three challenges on the road to a “solar future”:
1. The amount of energy that solar panels provide depends very much on the change of day and night.
2. Most people are convinced that the transition from fossil fuels to solar batteries in the United States will require huge territories. In the slides, Musk clearly shows that there is enough space – on the map it’s just a pixel somewhere in Texas.
3. Today’s batteries are worthless for a variety of reasons. In the presentation, Elon points out as many as seven: high cost, unreliability, undeveloped integration, short service life, low efficiency, not scalable, unattractive appearance.
At this point, Musk’s listeners are literally salivating to see a video of how Powerwall solves all these problems. Dramatic music and impressive diagrams only work because Musk positions the Powerwall not as a regular battery, but as a way to save humanity.
5. Don’t shake the air in vain: Present the facts!
We’ll have to repeat: people remain skeptics. They need to be convinced that the future you proposed is indeed achievable. Musk reveals a little secret to the audience: During his speech, wall-mounted solar panels supplied energy to the audience in which everyone gathered. As proof, he shows a close-up of the sensors, where it can be seen that the indicators of a conventional power grid are zero.
Startups can present little-known products in action in the same way. Evidence like this and the facts presented to early buyers (“beta buyers”) is impressive. Alternatively, use referrals from potential buyers that explain why they would like to purchase the product.