What makes a charismatic speaker?: A computer-based acoustic-prosodic analysis of Steve Jobs tone of voice

Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

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The former Apple CEO Steve Jobs was one of the most charismatic speakers of the past decades. However, there is, as yet, no detailed quantitative profile of his way of speaking. We used state-of-the-art computer techniques to acoustically analyze his speech behavior and relate it to reference samples. Our paper provides the first-ever acoustic profile of Steve Jobs, based on about 4000 syllables and 12,000 individual speech sounds from his two most outstanding and well-known product presentations: the introductions of the iPhone 4 and the iPad 2. Our results show that Steve Jobs stands out against our reference samples in almost all key features of charisma, including melody, loudness, tempo and fluency, and he produced significant quantitative differences when addressing customers and investors in his speeches. Against this background, we provide specific advice on how to improve a speaker’s charismatic impact. We conclude with describing how further technological advances will move computers and behavioral characteristics like human speech even closer together.
Original languageEnglish
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Volume64
Pages (from-to)366-382
ISSN0747-5632
StatePublished - 2016