Presentation inspiration from Jack Ma

Updated: Dec 17, 2021



Jack Ma is one of the most inspirational leader of the 21st century who through his true determination and hard work built one of the biggest business empire in China. Alibaba Group that he founded in 1999 has a market cap of $356 billion (as of November 2021).


From his humble beginning working as an English teacher to running a multi-billion dollar business empire, his success story is truly surreal.


While he stands as an epitome of entrepreneurship, something striking about him is his ability to narrate gripping stories from his personal life experiences. And he always puts the story across with an added pun. Here are some of the inspirational presentation lessons we from Jack Ma.



Jack Ma doesn't use Powerpoint slides


Have you ever seen Jack Ma use PowerPoint presentations during his speech? He is able to put across his point without any PowerPoint or speaker notes.


To make a presentation without supporting PowerPoint looks simple enough - but in reality, it requires practice and a thorough understanding of the subject.


Jack Ma brings a unique skill to be able to narrate the story from his real-life example with simple and clear language. And he ties back his stories to a single theme.


Here is a video of Jack Ma's presentation to a capacity crowd in Toronto about the opportunity China presents as an export market for Canadian small and medium-sized companies. Take a note that he doesn't use any PowerPoint presentations.



Less is more


You would have heard 'Less is More' phrase being used quite frequently during business conversations. 'Less is More' in a presentation context is all about sticking to fewer ideas, and having your message revolve around few centralized ideas.


Jack Ma is known as an excellent storyteller. While he narrates his story, you would see that he sticks to a fewer number of examples and always ties back the stories and messaging around a centralized theme.


His motivational speech on 'Believe in your dreams is a good example where he skillfully narrates his personal life stories, and everything ties back to the theme of 'Believe in your dreams'.


In the video Jack Ma speaks about how he was rejected by 30 companies including KFC before starting Alibaba. Watch this inspiration video.




When you have passion for the subject, it shows in the body language


Presentation and communication experts often advocate paying attention to the body language, modulation of the voice, telling jokes, etc.


What I am saying here is contrary to experts opinion - when you have the passion for the subject, it shows in your body language.


Jack Ma is a non-native English speaking leader from China. He may not be the most fluent with his language, and often his body language comes across as low energy. But his point of view is powerful and he put them across with conviction.


Forget being fluent, being jovial just during the presentation. If it comes naturally to you, then it's great. Otherwise don't bother.


Of-course you need to practice presentation techniques to improve your vocabulary, voice modulation, body language and so on. But understand that it will take time and needs to be mastered over a period of time.


Listen to 'Future in your Hands' speech from Jack Ma for some inspiration on presenting with passion.




Learn from failures


Jack Ma had many set backs in his life. From job rejections that he had to face, to all the scrutiny from China's regulatory authorities, he had challenges along the way. But then he kept trying and improving himself.


One of his famous quote reads

"Once in your life, try something.

Work hard at something.

Try to change.

Nothing bad can happen."


This quote of his is very relevant for presenters. The key is to try and learn from your mistakes.


The first time when you present, you will for sure feel butterflies in your stomach. That's natural and it happens to most of us. As you keep presenting, you will see your confidence will improve and you will evolve into a better presenter.


Practice makes you perfect. Practice as much as you can - in front of the mirror, present to your friends and take every opportunity coming your way to present.


Listen to this career advice from Jack Ma



Hope you found this blog useful. Do add your comments and point of view. It will help us improve our story.

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