Steve Jobs made this an art form. He relied on rhetorical devices to drive his messages home and get traction from audiences and press alike. Here are a few that he used to great effect:
/1 Rhythmic repetition
He used rhythmic repetition—a repeated phrase at the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence—to drive his point home. In 2010, Jobs had to deliver an emergency press conference about the performance of the antenna in the iPhone 4. If users held the phone a certain way, it dropped calls. Social media scientist Dan Zarrella, at HubSpot, points out that Jobs repeated the phrase “We want to make all our users happy” several times during his talk. Midway through, Jobs flashed a slide showing that the antenna issue affected only a fraction of users. Soon, a message appeared at the bottom: “We care about every user.” A few slides later: “We love our users.” Then “We love our users” appeared again on the next slide. And the next. And the next. “We love our users, we love them,” Jobs concluded. “We do this because we love our users.” That “love” was the message the press took away from his piece of “crisis communication.”
/2 Concrete comparison
Steve used a concrete comparison, (usually in the form of a simile or metaphor) to paint a lasting picture into the minds of his audience. In Jobs’ iPhone keynote at MacWorld 2007, he likened Apple’s switch to Intel processors to a “huge heart transplant.”
Slogans are a concise statement that’s easy to remember. Jobs ensured that the message he wanted to share was repeated by his audience. At the iPhone launch, Jobs said “reinvent the phone” several times—and the slogan was all over the press release Apple sent out before his keynote. “Reinvent the phone” ended up in PCWorld’s headlines the next day.