Charisma in business speeches: A contrastive acoustic-prosodic analysis of Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg

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Charisma is a key component of spoken language interaction; and it is probably for this reason that charismatic speech has been the subject of intensive research for centuries. However, what is still largely missing is a quantitative and objective line of research that, firstly, involves analyses of the acoustic-prosodic signal, secondly, focuses on business speeches like product presentations, and, thirdly, in doing so, advances the still fairly fragmentary evidence on the prosodic correlates of charismatic speech. We show that the prosodic features of charisma in political speeches also apply to business speeches. Consistent with the public opinion, our findings are indicative of Steve Jobs being a more charismatic speaker than Mark Zuckerberg. Beyond previous studies, our data suggest that rhythm and emphatic accentuation are also involved in conveying charisma. Furthermore, the differences between Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg and the investor- and customer-related sections of their speeches support the modern understanding of charisma as a gradual, multiparametric, and context-sensitive concept.
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 8th International Conference of Speech Prosody
EditorsJon Barnes, Alejna Brugos, Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel, Nanette Veilleux
Number of pages3
PublisherSpeech Prosody Special Interest Group
Publication date31 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2016
Event8th Speech Prosody Conference - Boston, United States
Duration: 31 May 20163 Jun 2016


Conference8th Speech Prosody Conference
LandUnited States
SeriesSpeech Prosody

    Research areas

  • charisma, prosody, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, intonation

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