PJ Media

How important is charisma?

This morning, I started reading a new book, a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0071636080?ie=UTF8tag=wwwviolentkicomlinkCode=as2camp=1789creative=9325creativeASIN=0071636080″span style=”font-style:italic;”The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience/span/aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=0071636080″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” / after noticing the title. The book is written by Carmine Gallow, a columnist at Businessweek.com. I like reading anything that improves my communication skills, so I thought I would give it a try.br /br /But rather than sifting through the book to learn how to give a better presentation, I focused on one paragraph describing “charisma” and I decided to share my thoughts (more like a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_association_(psychology)”free associations/a) with you. The paragraph is as follows:br /br /blockquoteWhat you’ll learn is that Jobs is a magnetic pitchman who sells his ideas with a flair that turns prospects into customers and customers into evangelists. He has charisma, defined by the German sociologist, Max Weber as “a certain quality of an individual personality, by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary people and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities.” Jobs has become superhuman among his most loyal fans. But Weber got one thing wrong. Weber believed that charisma was not “accessible to the ordinary person.” Once you learn span style=”font-style:italic;”exactly/span how Jobs crafts and delivers one of his famous presentations, you will realize that these exceptional powers are available to you as well…./blockquotebr /br /I have been thinking about the quality of “charisma” lately and I really have more questions than answers. What sets some people apart from others? What is it about some people that commands better treatment, more people listening to them and a higher level of social status? Is it charisma or some other trait or appearance? br /br /But more importantly, why do some people attribute others with charisma with supernatural or superhuman powers when they are only….human? I believe it is dangerous to attribute human beings with exceptional powers, for none are deserving of this. It’s great that Jobs develops so many great products that help the world but that only makes him a human being who makes good products, not a god. br /br /My husband says that perhaps this trait, to see people as superhuman and charismatic is genetic and like all things genetic, there are variations. But then how do we break those people who see political leaders and others as godlike when they are anything but? Sure, charisma can sometimes be a positive force, but it can also be a very dangerous one, getting people to go along with a con artist, a narcissist, or a psychopath. What if some people can’t tell the difference?