AI Analysis on Elon Musk's Shareholder Meeting Speech

We analyze Elon Musk's speaking performance during his 2018 shareholder meeting by using Rehearso's AI. Here's what we got.

AI Analysis on Elon Musk's Shareholder Meeting Speech

I am a big fan of Elon Musk. I never adore anyone who is a stranger to me other than this man who wants to send us to Mars, seriously. I even printed his portrait using high-quality paper, cut it out and stick it on my desk. I have never done anything so girlish like this in my entire life.

Elon Musk on my desk.

I like him not because I want to travel in space, or his Tesla car that I could not afford, and also not for the fact that he is a genius. But I admire him for his vision that seems impossible to achieve (for now), his hardworking attitude, and the courage to achieve his dream even no one believes in him (perhaps Grimes does).

He is the perfect modern-day candidate to what we call follow-your-passion and turn-your-passion-into-job practitioner. He is a mad scientist, who learns to do business the hard way, and never shy away from admitting mistakes.


I chose this speech because this is a difficult year for Tesla, especially Elon Musk. I could not imagine the enormous stress that he was facing every day for the challenges and critiques that were being thrown at him.

In February, his company SpaceX had launched the most powerful rocket in the world's history, about 50 years after Neil Armstrong's landing on the moon in the 60s which enormous support to fund the project had been initiated by President John F. Kennedy. At that time, he only had 50% confidence that this would be a successful launch. The reason he did that was to send a Tesla Roadster to space by using the rocket to let it cruise around our solar system. Woah, I don't even know if this is real, magic, or both, which it is believed that it is still 'travelling' in the universe today.

The following day, Tesla announced near to $700 million quarterly loss that sparked the fear that the company would run out of cash. In March, a driver died in a Tesla Model X, causing a widespread fear that Tesla's self-driving cars were nothing but a hoax. Tesla said it's because the driver did not pay attention to the road despite the car had provided multiple warnings.

During the same month, Tesla's credit rating was being downgraded to negative due to a significant shortfall in the Model 3 production rate and the bad financial situation of the company. Tesla also recalled over a hundred thousand cars for the corroding bolt issue.

Finally, Elon Musk tweeted in April that Tesla "has gone completely and totally bankrupt" that nobody would believe it—which was him being sarcastic and trying to fire back at the financial analysts and reporters who kept questioning him about what he called "bonehead questions" on the company's financial position.

Then in June, he was here in this shareholder's meeting. I'm giving you a bit details of what had happened before he stood on this stage because it'd make you feel more related to this speech of what people called a 'heartfelt' moment:

This is a three minutes extract of his speech during Tesla's 2018 Q2 shareholder meeting that I used to perform the analysis. So here's the result we got:

What he did best in his speech.

Try to imagine this is not Elon Musk. When the result came out, as we would have expected, is not impressive.

If this was a speech by everyone else other than a successful and visionary entrepreneur like Elon Musk, we might have called it a speech that still has a lot of room for improvement. Well, he actually admitted himself that he's a bad public speaker in one of his tweets.

There are only two metrics that he had done well—expressiveness and speaking rate. You might be curious, why is that his score for expressiveness is so high when he did not seem to be having a lot of facial expressions?

In Rehearso's AI, we do not only take into account the emotions seen from the face, but also from the words, tonality, and the overall expressing ability of the speaker. We always encourage users to 'just be themselves' when they speak, this would not only boost the people's perception of you as an authentic person, but also it's what works best and the most natural for you. Some people might feel natural to express their feelings through words, some seem better with showing, while some can be a combination of both. No matter what way you are using to express your emotions, they are all good.

This is because communication is a complex delivery that is not only focused on one aspect, but a synergy of many other aspects in the form of words, tone, and body language that help to deliver the message to the audience. To put it simply, the Rehearso's AI model will not rate the performance of a specific metric by looking at it as an independent factor, but also all other metrics that are important to it as a whole too, depending on the speech's context. This will be proven more in how people may perceive him from the way he spoke that I'll be showing in a short while.

What Elon Musk can improve.

This is what is suggested for him to improve, including his eye contact, articulation and clarity, hand gestures, fillers, and pitch and intonations.

He clearly did not look too confident while speaking on the stage as he did not maintain direct eye contact with the audience most of the time, he tended to stick some words together that made them sound like mumbling, he seemed to be trying his best not to show his insecurity through his hands but the AI still thinks that they looked stiff and unnatural. As expected, he used a lot of fillers and we always think that this is how a genius speaks because he has too many thoughts running through his mind that he finds it difficult to articulate well. He also spoke in a low-pitched and monotonous way, which can be boring if you are not fascinated by his ideas in the speech.

How people may perceive Elon Musk from his speech.

If you watched his speech, you would notice that he was trying his best to hide his fear and feel comfortable on the stage. This is why his emotion flow for 'fear' looks like this:

He felt increasingly nervous and fear when he started talking about Tesla's Model 3 production and his fear emotion peaked at where he said:

It's insanely hard just staying alive.

He probably felt more relaxed after this as he started showing some amount of happiness, but not too significant as it's not over 50:

People are always inspired by his enthusiasm in everything that he believes and does. Obviously, Rehearso's AI thinks so from his speech too as his 'enthusiasm' perception goal scored the highest among all other perception goals:

You would have to score high for the perception goals that you want the audience to perceive you from how you communicate.

Some people may argue that he does not have to be a good speaker on the stage because this is not what he's meant to be, and he does not have to be perfect in everything. Agree, we are not perfect. But let's leave that for another discussion.

Trust me, I'm his super fan and I actually feel he's already the best. The main lesson here is just that communication skill is a skill that can be trained, and there's no such thing as born-to-be—just as how Elon Musk trained his skills in science and business, and become a successful entrepreneur by working long hours every day.

If you want to be good at something, you have to work harder than anyone else. This is an example of how we can use AI to help us in fine-tuning our speaking performance. In the software, the scores are being broken down in detail on your vocal, body language, and audience perception goal–from worst to best. You would be shown where you need improvement together with the evidence point of interest for you to decide if you need to do something about it. You also can know if you achieve your perception goal outcome.  

In this case, his top 3 highest scores are story-teller and authentic—besides than enthusiasm. Whether he achieved his speech goal or not, only Elon Musk knows.