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Speech Analysis

Speeches are the best way for an individual to pass a message to the masses. They give the people and listeners the idea of the message that is to be passed on. The type of speech that gives the listeners the notion that they are not involved in a monologue, but a dialogue is one that employs a technique known as ‘conversational skills.’ This is where the person giving the speech treats the listener more than a person listening to the speech but rather an individual that loves to have an intellectual conversation. The importance of the speech is to give the listeners the hope that life can be different provided they are doing that which they love. The audience of the speech is a group of college graduates as they celebrate and receive their graduation certificates. The speech is significant because at the time there was the belief that one needs to have an education to do their best in life. The speaker tries to convince the students that with graduation into the world it is important to be cautious and to be aware of the possibilities that may arise in the world. The message behind the speech is that the students need to go into the world believing that they are going to do the things that they love.

When Steve Jobs got on stage to give his speech, he starts by having a small introduction that makes the students believe that he is quick and straight to the point. The speaker shows that he understands the problems that most people, especially students, go through from speakers at graduations. This causes the crowd to go into frenzy because they see the connection that they share with the speaker. The key point that the speaker tries to give to the people is the fact that education is important in their lives despite the fact that one does not have to graduate. He speaks of the way in which he gave up on education and dropped out of college (Dlugan, 2005).

However, he goes on to mention the fact that he stayed in school long enough to get inspiration for his creation of the Apple Mac. He gives credit to the fact that he opted to stay in school. Steve Jobs delivers the message in the form of what one would call a biography. He narrates the happenings in a way that would seem enjoyable to the listeners. Furthermore, similar to college tendencies of slander and badmouthing of a friend or rival, he opts to take shots at fellow Silicon Valley company, Microsoft. The crowd admits that his speech was one that opened their minds to the truths that life has to offer.

The organization of the speech is one that ditches the formal tone and opts for a more casual and ‘laid-back’ delivery method. The voice that the speaker uses is one that does not scream authority and restriction, but rather calmness and humility, but still echoes confidence (Dlugan, 2005). Furthermore, the language is best suited for the target audience, which is the student body. With the use of commonly spoken words, Steve Jobs manages to get the trust and attention of the students.

However, the audience is not only the graduates but the teachers, the lecturers and their parents too. This would move one to believe that there is a need for a language that would be understood by the parents as well (Dlugan, 2005). Thus, the language technique used by Steve Jobs is appropriate because the speech seems like one directed to the students. However, this is an accurate fact. The day is the graduation of the students. It is not the graduation of the teachers, lecturers or their parents; it is a day for their children – the students. The children are the ones addressed and thus the language is well suited for the students.

The strength of the speech is that it has an element of being pithy. Unlike most speeches on most graduation days, the speech is one that took less than fifteen minutes. The reason for this is because the speaker knows that the students do not have a tolerance to long speeches. It is long speeches that cause most graduates to fall asleep despite the fact that it is supposed to be a happy day for the students. The fact that the speaker can maintain the attention of students that are eager to prove their excellence is commendable (Dlugan, 2005). Steve Jobs uses sympathy to explain the past further that he underwent so as to give the audience the understanding that life does not end because one has hit a speed bump. He says that life is not about the number of times one stumbles but rather the number of times one gets back up.

In conclusion, the speech is one that the listener can compare to a mini skirt; it is long enough to cover the essentials and short enough to keep things interesting. Steve Jobs delivered a speech worth re-watching due to the content and method of delivery.


Dlugan, A. (2005). Speech Critique: Steve Jobs (Stanford, 2005)Six Minutes. Retrieved 19 November 2014, from