A Thesis Statement
Among the many ways that leaders influence others is through the use of rhetoric.
Charismatic leadership has been linked to rhetorical competence, and Steve Jobs, the co-founder
of Apple Inc. and an acknowledged charismatic leader, employed rhetorical strategies in his
speech. Jobs customized his rhetoric to audiences and situations and maintained similar themes
when confronted with different rhetorical contexts, which was a key attribute of his competence.
Steve Jobs’ perceived credibility, appeal to logic and emotions are the three customized
rhetorical strategies that will be analyzed in the present essay.
Historical or Political Context
Steve Jobs, the founder of Pixar, NeXT, Apple, was widely regarded as having
revolutionized the tech industry. Jobs is credited as having persevered and in the end created
considerable developments that are still being felt today. The innovations credited to Jobs, Mac
computers, the iPod, iPhone, and many software applications, have changed the world. Although
his influence is mainly felt in the technology industry, Jobs is also credited as having exhibited
brilliant oratory skills. Compared to other business leaders. Steve Jobs incorporated rhetorical
aspects in presentations and speeches he gave throughout his life. Job speeches were
characterized by sufficient presentation, visual simplicity and employment of rhetoric strategies
that make his speeches relatable to world’s most famous orators. One of the most renowned
speeches given by Steve Jobs was the commencement speech at Stanford University. Jobs
delivered a fourteen minute speech that has been viewed over 18 million times on YouTube and
has become one of his memorable presentations. Jobs employs various rhetorical strategies to
connect with the audience and uses personal experience and lifelong lessons to achieve that. Jobs
appeals to ethos, logos, and pathos to appeal to the audience and to put his message across.
Considering the extraordinary speaking abilities that Steve Jobs exhibited, he succeeds I
convincing audiences with the message he intends to pass across.
Analysis of Rhetorical Strategies
There are primary differences between ethos, pathos, and logos and they are regarded as
the most fundamental aspects of rhetorical theory. Ethos deals with how credible, authentic, or
trustworthy the speaker is. It addresses the presentation of the speaker, self-portrayal and the
conscious or subconscious conveyance of character during the speech. The speaker can achieve
ethos using body language or through vocal qualities (Martín and Ana 54). Ethos is based on the
social position of the speaker, the authority expressed through dressing considering the social
setting and reputation. On another note, ethos, is based on the speaker’s tone, volume, body
language, facial expression, posture and movement.
Pathos is concerned with the ability of the speaker to connect with people emotionally. It
is described as the emotional influence that a speaker has on the audience and the objective of
pathos is to elicit an emotional affection from the audience towards the speech. To be able to
affect an audience from an emotional standpoint, the speaker artfully uses words that have an
intended effect and apply linguistic strategies that have specific adornments.
Further, logos deals with the use of logical appeal by the speaker. This is achieved using
content and structure and arguments and how they are presented in the speech. Logos deals with
the clarity and integrity of the speech and stresses the appeal to reason. Logos not only deals with
rationality and truthfulness of the speech but how they appear (Martín and Ana 54). A speaker
achieves logos using comprehensible, explicit and unambiguous arguments and the structure of
the speech has to be clear and logical.
One of the strategies that Steve Jobs employs is Kairos during his speech. Jobs
understood that his audience was primarily comprised of young intelligent students and a
significant part of them were still searching for themselves. For this reason, Jobs employed the
strategy of sharing anecdotes that were relatable to a significant portion of his audience. He
discussed instances of his life in which he was confronted by unfavorable situations and in one
way or another, succeeded in overcoming adversity. In one way or another, everyone in the
audience had experienced a similar situation or even worse (Martín and Ana 54). Jobs succeeds
in skillfully connecting with the audience and manages to pass the message across, that success
can be regained by simply following one’s passion.
From the first line of this speech, Steve Jobs immediately aims at appealing to the
emotion of the audience when he congratulates that graduates, by calling the institution one of
the finest in the world. His ironic exclamation of his failure to graduate from college further
places him in a position of pathos and shows humility in himself, and the audience in turn feels
extremely accomplished. Moreover, the introduction of the speech encourages humor in the
speech and makes both the audience and Jobs more comfortable to enjoy the rest of the speech.
Jobs’ introduction, although brief, is followed by examples of emotional rhetoric that
focuses on stories from his lifetime where people in the audience can relate to. The objective of
these specific emotional discussions is to enable Jobs to establish a simple structure of the
speech, which is characterized by short and simple diction and inc...