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

Oliver Niebuhr, Alexander Brem, Eszter Novák-Tót, Jana Voße


Based on the prosodic features of charisma that have been identified in previous prosodic studies, we provide the first-ever acoustic profiles of Steve Jobs' and Mark Zuckerberg's business speeches, . We analyzed a sample of about 45 minutes from iPhone/iPad or "F8" presentations. Our results show that Jobs and Zuckerberg both stand out against a reference sample of ordinary speakers from the prosodic literature. However, Jobs stands out even more and thus significantly differs from Zuckerberg in almost all prosodic parameters that are known from previous studies to be associated with charisma. In addition, both CEOs produced significant differences differed between the customer-oriented and investor-oriented sections of their speeches, albeit mostly in opposite directions. In summary, 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 Jobs and 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.


Cite as

Niebuhr, O., Brem, A., Novák-Tót, E., Voße, J. (2016) Charisma in business speeches: A contrastive acoustic-prosodic analysis of Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. Proc. Speech Prosody 2016, (abstract).

Bibtex
@inproceedings{Niebuhr+2016,
author={Oliver Niebuhr and Alexander Brem and Eszter Novák-Tót and Jana Voße},
title={Charisma in business speeches: A contrastive acoustic-prosodic analysis of Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg},
year=2016,
booktitle={Speech Prosody 2016}
}