The 10th article on this blog was a speech critique of Steve Jobs delivering the commencement address at Stanford in 2005.
To this day, it’s one of my favorite articles, because Steve Jobs was one of my favorite speakers and that address was one of my favorite speeches.
After publishing the critique, I was often asked whether Steve wrote the address, or whether he had a speechwriter. A common belief at the time was that the speech was so good that it had to be written by a professional speechwriter. So, I emailed him to ask if he was the writer. To my delight, he responded, just 90 minutes later:
I wrote it myself. I am responsible for all of its shortcomings.
On top of crafting such a wonderful speech, he was modest as well.
Steve Jobs was the embodiment of all that speakers should strive to be:
- His preparation was second to none
- He told stories passionately
- He entertained while educating
- His timing and delivery heightened his impact
- He was a master of speaking fundamentals
We can all learn much from his speaking example. I encourage you to read these articles:
In the Words of Public Speaking Bloggers
Since his death a month ago, a tidal wave of tributes to Steve Jobs have sploshed around the Internet. He is praised for his vision. He is praised for his entrepreneurial spirit. He is praised for his presentation skills.
Here’s what some of my fellow public speaking bloggers have written about Steve:
Bert Decker — Steve Jobs the Communicator
Above all, he communicated his brilliant concepts to millions of people, brilliantly.
Nancy Duarte — Steve Jobs: The Great Presenter
So, if Ronald Reagan is The Great Communicator and Richard Feynman is The Great Explainer, might Mr. Jobs be The Great Presenter?
Garr Reynolds — Steve Jobs (1955-2011)
He even raised the bar for presentations. He was a true master. He was a true sensei.
Rick Altman — Steve Jobs’ Untapped Potential
He is arguably the greatest public speaker of his generation…
Kathy Reiffenstein — Remembering the Presentation Brilliance of Steve Jobs
Jobs’ ability to captivate an audience, the elegance of his “one big idea”, his passion, his focus on the visual and his rehearsal ethic are all worthy of imitation.
Jan Schultink — Who is Steve?
Seeing his keynote addresses a few yeas ago made me realize that the world could be a better place if I could help people present just a little bit more like Steve.
Scott Schwertly — Steve Jobs: Legacy of a Presenter
Jobs was a super speaker whose storytelling style created emotional experiences for his audiences and his example is one we should all borrow from.
Terry Gault — In Memory of Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs was often held up in our workshops as [an] exemplary presenter.
John Watkis — Steve Jobs: His Words & Works Live On
His work will live on forever. So will his words.
Matt Eventoff — Steve Jobs: Public Speaking, Preparation & Practice
What made Steve Jobs an effective communicator was not innovation or new technology. His public speaking skills had everything to do with fundamentals – an example being one that is crucial yet often ignored – extensive preparation.
Mike Consol — In Memoriam: Steve Jobs, 1955-2011
… he was the greatest presenter in business history.