Graduating university students are in a particularly difficult situation. They are supposed to start their careers – in a time of economic slowdown and narrowing opportunities. Thankfully, it’s a tradition for respected business leaders to give inspirational commencement speeches. This gives these fortunate graduates a needed emotional boost. Apple CEO Tim Cook encouraged graduates in his commencement speech; let’s learn from it together.
Throughout his speech, Tim Cook refers to historical examples. This is a solid way to establish the speaker’s authority, as it provides what is called ethos. It establishes Tim Cook’s credibility. Likely, his first goal is not to look smart (his reputation already provides this message), rather his examples support his message and provide a source of inspiration to the audience as well.
He mentions current and relevant examples. Each of those is carefully selected from periods or events of history that are somehow comparable to the current one. It’s helpful when you speak that you also select relevant examples, relevant quotes, relevant events for your speech. This will make it easier for your audience to pay attention and follow. Forming a connection with your audience, and then maintaining it, is part of the successful recipe of a great speech.
Interestingly, to give such an inspiring speech, Tim Cook decided to be seated. To increase the speech’s impact and the speaker’s authority, it is recommended to give such a speech standing up. This allows you to increase your credibility without having to work for it. Also, when you are seated, it is inconvenient to engage your arms. Using gestures helps to maintain the audience’s attention.
So, establishing your authority, giving current and relevant examples, and engaging your arms will help you give an inspiring and impactful speech. Watch how Tim Cook gives his commencement speech! Learning from others and giving speeches is an unbeatable combination, which helps you progress. Good luck!