Steve Jobs’ Commencement Speech Analysis


A prominent figure, such as Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, has the potential to change a person’s life in the most extraordinary ways. A good speech entails incorporating the appropriate grammar, using the right structure, and should also strike the right tone for the audience. Jobs took a unique approach to speech structuring and rhetorical techniques to highlight well-known notions and concepts of love, sorrow, and fatality in a new pattern. Because of that his lecture on the significance of choosing a satisfying job garnered recognition and was effectively delivered. To bring the students’ attention to the crucial issues that can alter one’s life, Jobs employs effective rhetorical techniques: personal approach, connection to the listeners, and management of time and subject. Speech is a powerful tool that can be used for inspiration and motivation, and talented speaker, such as Jobs, has the ability to wield their own experiences for these purposes.

Personal Approach

In his speech, Steve Jobs finds it necessary to appeal to the audience’s sense of achievement and pride. He commences his speech by complimenting the graduates and making the attendees feel incredibly accomplished for their achievement of graduating from Stanford (Stanford, 2008). Steve Jobs’ argument about the need to undertake what a person adores and the value of discovering these matters and operations is developed via the use of three stories conveyed in the speech. This assertion is established with references to the speakers’ narratives’ logical or concluding segments, which also have powerful emotional undertones.

Special Connection

A great method to make a speech appealing to the audience is create an example of one’s own experience. In order to do so, Jobs uses his life story to give weight to his words. He describes his history through the lens of a necessity to attend college, inevitably creating a sense of added importance to his decision to leave (Stanford, 2008). Since it was his biological mother’s wish to have him go through college, his leaving proves how strongly he believed in the necessity of quitting and the utter trust in his own pursuits.

Time and Subject Management

For a speech to be relatable to people, it has to contain several elements to make it suitable for the audience. One of the important factors that made it appropriate for the audience was its length (only 15 minutes), which is an adequate time frame to convey an important idea without boring an audience to slumber. In addition, Jobs uses themes of love, loss, and struggle in order to appeal to general human realities without undermining the importance of hard work. He describes his dour thoughts and feeling after being fired from Apple (Stanford, 2008), but he also uses it as an example of how one can pick themselves up and keep going.


In conclusion, speech is a tool of persuasion and inspiration, and Steve Jobs uses his life in order to provide an inspiring example. He discusses his evolved vision of his work and life’s interests with references to the notions of love and death. In addition, he corroborates his arguments with personal stories incorporating different styles and techniques. When striving for success, one must question whether their actions could be used for inspiration and motivation. Doing so would allow to filter negativity and open new perspectives on a person’s struggle for success.

Work Cited

Stanford. (2008). Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address [Video]. Web.