Friday, June 19, 2009

Charisma + charm + substance = a truly great communicator

President Obama addressed the Radio and Television Correspondents' Dinner tonight in Washington.

His thirteen-minute speech poked some lighthearted fun at the media, and more at himself, members of his administration, and his government's actions since assuming office; it allowed him to personally connect with his audience before concluding with sincere recognition and thanks for the important role journalists play.

Obama is walking proof of the positive impact of charisma and charm in leadership. We can all think of politicians who offer tremendous substance, but whose personalities aren't quite as attractive; while they may indeed provide excellent direction for our government, we aren't as quick to get behind them. That personal charisma factor -- a gift, impossible to teach or to learn -- is what sets the truly great communicators apart from the very good.

This isn't to say that charisma and charm are enough. Without substance, a candidate won't go nearly as far (or at least, not with longevity); but as Obama has proven time and again, a leader who exhibits both personal "likability" and real substance is tough to beat.

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