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Are we born with Charisma or can we learn it?

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  1. Definition of charisma
  2. Development
    1. Theories confrontation
    2. Speeches analysis

For generations, the representation of the charisma concept has been characterized by leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi, John F Kennedy, or more recently Barrack Obama. Although these leaders engaged in completely different things in their life to be recognized as charismatic, they were credited with common skills such as confidence, physical stamina and interpersonal skills which created very special relationship with their followers.

The concept of charisma was created in the early 1920s by Max Weber. It was viewed as a ?Divine gift? for a long time before additional scientific explanations were attributed to it in the mid1970s.

The concept of charisma increasingly figures in our daily life, as part of political communication, campaigns and as a tool of seduction. Indeed, most people are confronted by this concept without really being able to measure, define or even recognize it. Therefore, we will, in the first part of this paper, observe the confrontation of various theories which have been published since that of Weber.

Secondly, through the analysis of various speeches made by well known charismatic people, in terms of communication strategies and neuro-linguistic programs, we will identify the most common techniques implemented. Also, we are going to observe the importance of other forms of power.

Finally, the conclusion will be based on the author's opinion.

The word charisma (origins from the Greek word ??????? (kharisma), "gift" or "divine favor," from kharizesthai, "to favor," from kharis, "favor") refers to a rare trait found in certain human personalities usually including extreme charm and a 'magnetic' quality of personality and/or appearance along with innate and powerfully sophisticated personal communicability and persuasiveness.(

[...] We have felt the ground shake and the air shattered by the testing of a Saturn C-1 booster rocket, many times as powerful as the Atlas which launched John Glenn, generating power equivalent to 10,000 automobiles with their accelerators on the floor. We have seen the site where five F-1 rocket engines, each one as powerful as all eight engines of the Saturn combined, will be clustered together to make the advanced Saturn missile, assembled in a new building to be built at Cape Canaveral as tall as a 48 story structure, as wide as a city block, and as long as two lengths of this field. [...]

[...] Bass quotes Max Weber's view of charisma which has five elements (source: Leadership, Philip Sadler p 49) A person with extraordinary gifts A crisis A radical solution to the crisis Followers attracted to the exceptional person believing that they are linked through him/ her to transcendental powers. Validation of the person's gifts and transcendence in repeated experiences of success. Bass concentrated his study on the concept of ?extraordinary gift? and ?transcendent powers?, where he comments that charisma is based on the ?combination of emotional expressiveness, self confidence, self determination, and freedom from internal conflict; the leaders are radical, unconventional, risk taking, visionary, entrepreneurial and exemplary.? (Source: Leadership, Philip Sadler p 49) Bass has also created a questionnaire instrument call the Multi-factor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ). [...]

[...] There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. [...]

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