Billionaire Marc Benioff has a foolproof tip for giving great presentations

Salesforce, Marc Benioff speaking
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff Business Insider

Salesforce’s charismatic CEO Marc Benioff loves to be on stage. He just wrapped up Dreamforce last week, his company’s huge annual event that is part tech conference, part music festival, part woo-hoo sit in, and all party.

At Dreamforce he doesn’t just do an ordinary CEO opening keynote speech.

His keynotes are epic three-hour affairs — this year, he was introduced by a three-song set from music legend Stevie Wonder.

During the talk, Benioff wanders around the audience, doing his interviews with other tech celebs from the seats, talking without PowerPoint. Throughout the week he gave multiple keynotes and other talks.

How does he do it?

Turns out he has a great secret for giving great presentations, shared with Business Insider by Bonnie Crater, CEO of Full Circle Insights.

The secret is: rehearse 7 times.

Crater worked with Benioff back in the 1990s at Oracle, before he founded Salesforce. She briefly joined him at Salesforce, too, in 2006 as a senior vice president. (Plus, Salesforce’s venture arm has backed her young startup, which launched in 2011 and has raised $US4.3 million.)

“When doing a presentation in front of customers Marc Benioff was relentless about practicing his pitch. ‘7 times!’ he would say. ‘If you rehearse 7 times, you will know it.’ It’s true! 7 times — in the car, in the conference room, in the bathroom, walking down the street. If you know the presentation, you can visualise your slides and say the words,” she tells us.

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