Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Wow. No Charisma, No Funding - Says Study In Harvard Business Review

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 21, 2010

Startups should put away their business plans and find a charismatic CEO if they want to raise funding. That seems to be the finding of a study reported in the Harvard Business Review:

Executives at a party, were fitted with devices that recorded 'social signals' such as their tone of voice, gesticuation, and proximity to others.

Five days later the same executives presented business plans to a panel of judges in a contest. Without reading or hearing the pitches, Pentland correctly forecast the winners, using only data collected at the party.

This study is one of several that found that it is possible to predict who will succeed in salary negotiatins, and in other busness activities. The researchers say they are monitoring 'honest signals." Professor Sandy Pentland says that 'honest signals' is a biological term.

They're the nonverbal cues that social species use to coordinate themselves--gestures, expressions, tone. Humans use many types of signals, but honest signals are unusual in that they cause changes in the receiver of the signal. . . If I'm happy, it almost literally rubs off on you.

He added:

The more successful people are more energetic. They talk more, but they also listen more. They spend more face-to-face time with others. . . It's not just what they project that makes them charismatic; it's what they elicit. The more of these energetic, positive people you put on a team, the better the team's performance.

Read the rest of this article here on Harvard Business Review:

Defend Your Research: We Can Measure the Power of Charisma - Harvard Business Review


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