How Apple CEO Tim Cook Uses The Power of Community

Tim Cook is the CEO of Apple.

He is following one of the most influential CEOs in recent times – Steve Jobs.

It is not easy to follow someone with such a large presence, but Cook has Apple doing extremely well during his first few years as the company leader.

Jobs was known for giving inspiring keynote presentations.

Today, that job falls on Cook.

This was Cook’s latest keynote.

First Impression of Tim Cook, The Speaker

The keynote starts with two minutes of humor from Siri, the personal assistance featured in the latest version of the iPhone.

Leading up to this keynote Apple had been in the news for various moves they had made. Using humor was a way to acknowledge the issues in a lighthearted fashion.

Using Siri took the pressure off Tim Cook and put the focus on the product, which is something Apple has done well for over a decade.

Tim Cook comes on stage to the sound of applause. He’s amongst friends in the room so his job is a little easier, but there are always huge expectations for Apple and its leaders at this event.

The first impression of Cook is that he is a good speaker. He is easy to understand. He changes the emphasis of his voice as he speaks. His words are clear and concise.

Using Statistics to Make a Point

It’s a fault of many to attempt to make points in presentations without proof. It’s difficult for people to believe you even if you’re an executive if you make a point without proof.

Cook starts this presentation with statistics. He talks about the significance of the event. It’s the 23rd conference; it sold out in just 1 hour and 43 minutes and there is over 1000 Apple engineers onsite. That’s impressive.

But it is not the number that makes the statistic impressive. It’s the back-story to each of them. Of the 23rd conference he says that the conference began before most of the attendees were born. Of selling out in 1 hour and 43 minutes, he compares that to how excited they were to sell out in 6 days just a few years ago. Of having 1000 Apple engineers’ onsite, he says that he had to close Apple for a week to make it happen. This is what brings the data to life.

It’s not the statistic that engages. It is the story behind it that does.

By using these stats Tim quickly gets the attention of the audience, he also leads into another tactic for persuading large audiences.

Using Community to Persuade

The stats Cook uses to open his presentation show the passion people have for Apple.

People love Apple products. Those in the audience work with Apple. They depend on Apple to succeed at their jobs and even in their personal lives.

Together, everyone in the audience is connected by their passion for Apple. By showing that the conference sold out in less than two hours, Cook is able to bring people together and when people are together they are easier to persuade. Cook can now discuss what’s new at the company.

Focus on Collective Achievements

The first item Tim Cook discusses is the Apple App Store.

The way Cook presents the information is important. By talking about the success of App Store he’s talking about a success everyone that works for and with Apple has been a part of.

This is not Tim Cook’s success. It’s the success of the entire Apple Community and Cook recognises that.

Engineers at Apple developed the store and third part developers created the apps. It’s another way to bring everyone in the audience together to unite around the brand. This is creating a ‘we conversation’. It is not about Cook, it is not about the audience it is about ‘we the community’. When people feel included in a community they listen to their leader.

The focus is on Apple, not Tim Cook.

Build Up to the First Announcement

The first announcement Tim Cook shares with the audience is that Apple is adding more companies to App Store.

He doesn’t start out with this information, though.

To build to this announcement, Cook shares statistics that highlight the success of the App Store. People are wowed by the statistics and by the time the announcement is made they are already reaching the point of excitement.

Find A Common Goal

Again, Cook understands that the future success of Apple depends on the continued support from the Apple Community.

Instead of talking about why it’s good for Apple to have everyone on board with future plans, Cook presents a common goal: Improving Lives.

Cook says that the real pleasure in working at Apple is seeing developers create useful programs using Apple hardware and Apple software.

It’s about making the world a better place and profit is just a side benefit.

That’s a goal everyone can get behind.

Be Confident In Yourself and the Company

Throughout the presentation you will notice that Tim Cook speaks highly of Apple.

Cook is confident in the products Apple makes. He feels they are truly the best in the world and he’s not afraid to share those feelings.

This confidence is important. When you believe in your company others will too.

You will lose your audience quickly if you speak negatively about your company.

Stay positive about what your company has done and will do in the future.

You can always improve, but you’re only improving on what was already incredible.

Stories Sell

People connect with people.

Cook pauses the presentation halfway through to share video stories of ways developers are using the Apple platform to help people.

When the audience sees the stories they are connected to the people in those stories.

Stories make us feel emotion. We connect with the people in the story. We relate it to our own lives.

Storytelling is the best ways you can help connect people with the point you are trying to make.

With a story you can persuade people to make a purchase or to join your team for a new project.

The stories are inspiring.

Developers in the audience want to change the world. They feel the need to create something amazing.

People that watch this presentation will see the good coming out of the work Apple is doing.

That is something people want to be a part of even if that means buying an iPad.

Leading into the Call to Action

Tim Cook was announcing three changes at Apple:

1) The New Macbook Air

2) A new computer operating system

3) A new mobile operating system

He says two very important things as he leads into the announcement.

First he says that these changes are improvements on products that are already great.

Second, he calls the people in the audience to action by asking them to continue building amazing apps for the App Store.

With the evidence already proving that developers have made amazing apps with the previous software it’s only imaginable what good can come with this new and improved software.

That is a great way to lead into the call to action, which in this case is a call for more effort and more work.


Tim Cook is not the best speaker in the world, but he structures his message so he can still connect with his audience.

You might find some that would argue that he’s not the best leader in the world, but if people are following him he is doing his job.

Cook has been tasked with replacing a business icon. That’s no small task.

Yet over the last few years Apple has become one of the most profitable companies in the world.

Tim Cook is responsible for much of that success. He is a strong leader and that comes through in the way he gives a presentation.

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