Steve Jobs is one of the common mentioned names in the subject of innovation and technological advancement. He was the founder and once the Chief Executive Officer of Apple. He was invited to Stanford University on 12th June 2005, and his commencement speech has remained on the media and internet coverage to date. This speech is called Commencement address at Stanford University- Rhetoric of following ones heart. I choose this speech because of its popularity, fame influence it had on the audience during the graduation, after extensively coverage by media and especially after the death of Steve Jobs on October 5th 2011. He was a great thinker, and through this speech he intended to influence the graduates’ way of thinking. Revival of the fame of this speech after his death renewed his message and made this speech one of the greatest in America. This speech lasted for 14 minutes and 34 seconds.
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In his speech, Steve Jobs covers his life experiences and draws lessons learnt from every experience. He encourages the graduates and all American to pursue what they love doing. According to him, the graduating class should follow what their hearts desires in selecting a career. He shows his ability to capture attention from his audience in the beginning of his speech by telling them that this was the closest he ever got to graduation his entire life. He delivered his message in telling three stories about his own life. In doing so, he was able to deliver his intended message without getting out of context. He intended to persuade them to follow the desires of their heart regardless of what it costs because according to him, the reward is happiness.
When he stepped on the podium, the crowd applauds loudly. Steve Jobs was about to speak to a crowd of scholars. They knew him, since it is possible that most of them own a computer and Steve Jobs was very influential in the computer technology. Therefore, Steve Jobs bridges the gap between himself and the graduates when he tells them that, this was the closest he ever got to graduation. He narrates to them how he dropped out of college and the various challenges he went through in pursuing what he loved to do. This enabled him to draw his audience closer to the message he intended to deliver. He used situation and invented ethos to add credibility to his speech. He showed his willingness to use all the facts he could gather regardless of their effect and his reputation. By sharing his cancer situation, Steve Jobs showed why it is important to do what you love when you can.
His introduction contained the three main parts. These include the attention catcher when he said he never graduated. It has the thesis where his speech is a summary of his life experiences. He gives a preview by stating he will summarize his message into just three stories. He opened his speech with a humor by stating that this was the closest he ever got to graduation. As a result, this triggered applause and laughter in the crowd. This makes the speech very memorable to the audience.
In the speech body, Steve Jobs puts his points in an organized manner. He could state his main points first, and then elaborate using facts. He could connect with his audience by asking rhetoric questions. E.g. “So why did I drop out?” He carefully uses figures of speech such as indirect comparison in summarizing his main points. For example in the first story connecting dots, dots are used symbolically referring to the various stages he went through in pursuing what he loved. He used a quote in summarizing his third story. He shows the relevance of this quote in life especially when he was diagnosed with pancreas cancer. When he shared his experience with cancer, the audience is able to relate his message to the reality. It creates curiosity on what happened next and how he was still surviving and this makes his message very clear. It helped him to connect with his audience emotionally. This quote makes his speech memorable especially after his death. He seemed confident and varied his voice to make a transition from one story to the next. He was loud and clear and looked confident on his appearance. Though he spent some time reading through his notes and hence not maintaining eye contact with his audience, his attitude reflected the message of contentment that he got by doing what his heart loved.
In concluding his speech, Steve Jobs used a quotation. He first explained the content he was about to quote brings his audience closer to his message by picking a quotation that he used since when he was of their age. According to him the quotation “stay hungry stay foolish” had been a long life source of his inspiration. Steve Jobs advised his audience to apply this quotes in their new life and leaves them thinking of what this quote meant. This made his conclusion concise and memorable. He made appropriate use of the podium and kept shifting weight from one leg to the other. This speech is very convincing, and I would listen to his speech again. Steve Jobs had a unique way of expressing his message and connecting with his audience. Though he is dead, his message will remain forever.
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