Stop Trying to Speak Like Steve Jobs and Be Yourself

Take off the Steve Jobs mask and speak like yourself
Take off the Steve Jobs mask and speak like yourself

I love Apple products. This blog is created on a MacBook (must upgrade to a MacBook Air STAT). I love my iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. If I could have adopted my cats from the Apple Store, I totally would have. 

I live in Seattle, just miles from Microsoft, and I’m a huge Apple loyalist.

I admire Steve Jobs. He thought differently, innovated and was a bit of a prick.

As a speech coach, most notably, Steve Jobs was a public speaking God. 

Frankly, I’m over it.

I’m over presentation tips from Steve Jobs, how I changed my speaking style to be like Steve Jobs, public speaking the Jobs way and let’s find Steve’s DNA, clone him so he can make more presentations we can talk about non-stop.

I get it. He’s phenomenal. 

I’m not saying that you can’t learn valuable presentation tips from Steve. You can. God knows there’s enough articles and books on the subject. What I am saying is…

There was 1 Steve Jobs & you’re not him

Recently, I read a blog post from a fairly well-know blogger. It was about how he changed his presentation style to “mimic” (his word not mine) Jobs. He knew he had to repeat himself, slow down, be passionate about his product, and implement at least 4 other strategies. 

Of course, there was a video of his speaking gig. As I viewed, I could totally tell he was channeling his inner Jobs (at least he didn’t don the black turtle neck and jeans), but it was blatantly obvious because it was inauthentic. I could tell he was not being himself. He was trying to be someone else. Something just didn’t ring true.

I would have preferred to have watched him speaking as himself not him wearing a Steve Jobs mask acting out a presentation. The presenters I love the most speak to their strengths, embrace their flaws and are the same person on the stage as they are off.

Of course you can learn from a master, but you can never be the master. Take those tips, tricks and pointers and adapt them to your own style in a way that rings true to you.

For the love of all things good in the world…

Stop trying to speak like Steve Jobs and be your awesome, imperfect self!  

photo by: DonkeyHotey

4 Responses to “Stop Trying to Speak Like Steve Jobs and Be Yourself”

  1. Mark Morden says:

    Nice column, Michelle. Not being an Apple fanboy myself, I haven’t been caught up in Jobs adoration. I have learned more about public speaking from Craig Valentine than any other speaker. A main aspect of Craig’s approach is that he doesn’t elevate himself above the process. By following the process, rather than copy Craig’s style, one is more likely to develop their own voice and style.

    • Hi Mark! I know you’re not an Apple dude! :) Craig is right – we learn from people but we shouldn’t copy them. It would be like me trying to pull off your speaking style or you trying to pull off mine – either way it wouldn’t work. We’d look silly (and I bet we would feel ridiculous!)

  2. Wendell says:

    Great post Michell.

    Fanboy or no, there is nothing more annoying to me than having to sit through new goods introduction events by individuals trying on the bravado of a Jobs’ fronted product introduction. When it isn’t naturally you, it shows (think Thorsten Heins of ex-BlackBerry infamy as only one example of this).

    Why do people think the need to sacrifice who they are to try present themselves as someone else? Brand You is still the most valuable asset we can possess … Jobs leveraged his rudeness and confidence into a style accepted by the masses, and frankly a presence which did come off as pretty slick. The products were seen as something of an extension to him. Copying his style right down to the dress code doesn’t give you instant credibility. There is nothing wrong in my opinion with apologetically being yourself. Isn’t that what makes us unique anyway?

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