A Tough Act to Follow

Today’s post comes from Jesse Langley. Jesse lives near Chicago and divides his time among work, writing and family life. He writes on behalf of Colorado Technical University and has a keen interest in blogging and social media. He also writes for The Professional Intern


Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, you are likely aware of at least some of the buzz about Steve Jobs. And there’s still a lot of residual buzz even though Jobs is no longer the head of Apple. He has been replaced by Tim Cook, and on 4 October 2011, the world will get its first sense of the CEO when Apple launches the iPhone 5.

The release of the newest incarnation of the iconic iPhone will be a real testing ground for Mr. Cook. There is a lot more to running a major corporation than public speaking, but it’s one of the things that Steve Jobs does better than almost anyone else among his peers. When Steve Jobs speaks, people listen. The man can capture a room just by entering and we hang on his every word. His public speaking skills are legendary and it’s part of why he’s revered.

Even the people who disagree with the way Jobs ran Apple give him grudging respect for the manner in which he has leveraged his public speaking ability to gain maximum exposure for Apple products. The man can soften the animosity of even his most ardent critics. His speech to college graduates at Stanford University highlights his ability to get his audience in the palm of his hand and keep them riveted until he’s done.

Tim Cook – The New Face of Apple

The real genius in Steve Jobs’ public speaking ability isn’t mere eloquence. Consider the actual content of his speeches. Most of them deal with highly technical matters. But Jobs can take those topics and deliver them in a way that draws us in and leaves us wanting more when he’s finished. He possesses the rare ability to speak simply about complicated concepts. We often celebrate eloquence for the sake of eloquence but forget that the real goal is to effectively communicate ideas and convey concepts to the audience.

Steve Jobs used his public speaking ability as a vehicle to propel the Apple brand to prominence through the sheer force of his personality. Having a brand tied so closely to one person can be risky; however, Jobs pulled it off incredibly well. He used his speeches to present an appealing and unified image for Apple. When he took the platform to promote a new Apple product, he moved Apple’s stock price and increased the value of the brand.

Apple keynote speeches are among the most anticipated video streams. Such anticipation doesn’t happen by accident. Whether the huge, Steve Jobs-fueled success that Apple has enjoyed will continue under the direction of Tim Cook remains to be seen. Apple has great products, but whether Cook will inspire us to run to the Apple store to buy them remains to be seen.

Steve Jobs is a tough act to follow. Is Tim Cook up to the task? On 4 October 2011, the world will be watching.

Photo courtesy of Valery Marchive (LeMagIT)

About John Zimmer

International speaker, presentation skills expert, lawyer, improv performer
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1 Response to A Tough Act to Follow

  1. Pingback: Today’s the day! « Mac Aficionado | Mad about Macs

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