|When Steve Jobs passed away, not only did we lose a visionary, but we lost a world class speaker as well. In fact, all of us who speak in front of others can learn a lot from the man who turned business keynote speeches into an art form. Not bad for a Techie. |
Here are some of the things I learned from the former CEO of Apple:
1. Connect to the Audience - No one likes being lectured to, and Jobs had the ability to make a speech sound "un-speechy" He talked to his audiences, not at them, which often made his remarks sound off-the cuff. In fact, because he was so conversational and didn't use notes, many people were surprised to learn that he spent a great deal of time memorizing and rehearsing his speeches. That's the brilliance of a great speaker - keeping it conversational and making a well rehearsed speech look improvised.
2. No Podium, No Notes, No PowerPoint - In order to have a successful speech, a speaker has to connect with an audience. Jobs made sure he connected by usually not having anything between him and his audience. Instead of being hidden behind a podium, Jobs strolled the stage. He had no notes and made eye contact with people, not paper. Jobs used pictures to convey a mood, or a product, not mind-numbing Powerpoint slides filled with technical data.
3. Be Yourself Authentic Self Onstage - Jobs didn't wear the typical CEO suit. He was a "jeans and a turtleneck" kind of guy... and that's exactly what he always wore. Many speakers want to look exactly like the audience and dress in "business-casual" rather than finding their own "brand" which includes not only their content, but what they wear.
4. Tell Stories Rather than Facts - Although Jobs was a Techie and spoke to a high tech audience, his speeches were never a mechanical recitation of specs, data, and insider jargon. Rather, he emphasized real-life stories of how Apple products changed lives and he focussed on the stories of the customers who used their products.
5. Reveal Your Personal Life Struggles
In this era of reality shows where there are no personal secrets, even CEOs need to reveal the non-business side of themselves. As you will see in the linked video, Jobs draws stories from some of the most pivotal points in his his life -- his loves, losses and his struggle with cancer. He inspired audiences with not only his products, but with his life.
He will be missed. For those of you who have never seen Jobs in speak,, here are a few links to some videos.
Stanford 2007 Commencement speech - Urging graduates to pursue their dreams and see the opportunities in life's setbacks -- including death itself.