Case studies

Steve Jobs. Great presenter? Hmmmm.

A great post from Stefan Lindegaard, on his excellent blog 15inno, from  Denmark.  It’s Steve Jobs again.  Stefan shows a great clip of ‘God’ speaking at the 1984 unveiling of that TV advert and suggests that-

The story-telling, the buildup of an us-versus-them feeling and the general control of the audience by Jobs – without using slides – is amazing! Great learnings on how to give a presentation!

See the clip and Stefan’s thoughts here. This is How You Deliver a Great Presentation | 15inno.

I’m less convinced by SJ as a presenter.  I think he’s like his products.  Beautiful, well presented and targeted, but not as good as he thinks. Yes this speech is good, but it’s my feeling, as with most of SJ’s speeches (to the converted), that as a speech, it’s better on paper than in the delivery, so my question is-

‘Is Steve Jobs reputation as a speaker more for his text than his presentation skills?’

Also it reminds me of another George Orwell thought, not 1984 this time, but from his ‘6 rules for journalists’. Rules that I think are relevant to all speakers, and a particularly useful kick in the pants for most of us professional speakers. I’m sure we’re all familiar with them, but if not, the rules are reproduced here– In my view, Jobs offends the last rule in this speech, and it’s a common mistake that people make. Too much ‘them and us’ for cynical commercial/political reasons.

Jim Harvey

Jim Harvey

Managing Director at The Message Business
Jim is the MD of The Message Business, a company which helps FTSE 100 companies to sell themselves, and their products better. Speech writer, Prezi trainer and designer, coach and consultant, Jim also finds time to be a proud father and husband.
Jim Harvey


  1. Stefan

    August 30, 2011 at 11:59 am

    He has great content (text). This is the key requirement for being a great speaker. He commands his audience and he is great at building up suspense and delivering key messages. He might not be a jump-around-full-of-energy guy, but do you really need this to be a great speaker? I don’t think so.

    By the way, if we are to judge him as a speaker by comparing to Apple’s products, I have to say that he is the greatest – my Ipads are the best gadgets I have ever had 🙂

    • Jim Harvey

      August 30, 2011 at 12:55 pm


      I agree he’s good, and much better than most senior types in most firms, in most industries. I also say that the iPhone is my ‘best ever gadget’. But as a speaker I still suggest that he has his ‘iMac’ moments!

    • Jim Harvey

      September 1, 2011 at 7:14 pm

      Also, how many iPads does a Dane need?


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