Senator Obama recently came over to Google to talk about his technology initiatives and campaign. The main room was completely full, so I watched him from a live feed at one of our cafes. I was really, quite frankly, blown away by this guy. After I saw his speech, I went to this website, as well read his history. There a couple of key characteristics upon reflection, that I believe will make a better PUA and also better person. I haven’t figured it all out, and some of these characteristics may overlap with each other, but here’s a first shot at it:
Senator Obama, to me, was able to pick up the notoriously tough Google crowd with following key characteristics:
• Respect – he started the speech with a brief history of his last visit Google, and of the Internet, and the government’s involvement in it. He demonstrated clear understanding of Google’s history, as well as our founder’s stories. The Google Story.
• Honestly – I can’t figure out how he does this, but he’s very honest. You get that sense from him, that he’s transparent with you. And with tough questions, he acknowledges the difficulty and answers in a way that shows that he has thought it through before, but also is at the same time thinking about it more as he talking with you
• Body language – His body language is very warm, but also very alpha. It is slightly beta from Denzel Washington and a little more approachable.
• Charisma – this is different than just body language. At a loss for words, here is very accurate description of charisma, which Obama exudes plenty of:
“charisma is often used to describe an (elusive, even indefinable) personality trait that often includes the seemingly ‘supernatural’ or uncanny ability to lead, charm, persuade, inspire, and/or influence people. It refers especially to a quality in certain people who easily draw the attention and admiration (or even hatred if the application of such charisma is perceived to be negative) of others due to a ‘magnetic’ quality of personality and/or appearance. Similar terms/phrases related to charisma include: grace, exuberance, equanimity, mystique, positive energy, joie de vivre, extreme charm, personal magnetism, personal appeal, “electricity,” and allure, among many others. Usually many of these specific qualities must be present within a single individual for the person to be considered highly charismatic by the public and their peers.
Despite the strong emotions they so often induce in others, charismatic individuals generally project unusual calmness, confidence, assertiveness, dominance, authenticity, and focus, and almost always possess superb communication and/or oratorical skills. Although the etymology of the word (“divine gift”) might suggest that charisma can’t be acquired, and despite the persistent inability to accurately define or even fully understand the concept, it is believed that charisma can be taught and/or learned (through hypnosis for example).
• Presence – Obama had this presence about him. Maybe it was the cameras
• Tonality – Deep, powerful voice filled the room, his pauses and his pacing was perfect. I need to learn from this.
• Wit – he was quick on his feet, and wit is a form of intellectual humor. A wit is someone skilled in making witty remarks.
• Charm – “Charm” is an important characteristic. There are many definitions, including to protect through supernatural powers or charms, something believed to bring good luck, as well as “capture: attract; cause to be enamored; “She captured all the men’s hearts”.
• Ambition – He was very determined not to sit still at the status quo. Important change can be made, and there a sense of urgency, something about the time and events aligning together to pull everyone in the need for one cause.
• Vision – painting the picture of America being the leader in the world again, better future for the masses of middle-class families
• Adaptability – able to switch between genuine friendliness, to witty jokes, to serious, thought invoking conversations.
• Ability to Inspire – I noticed Obama, when doing the Q&A with Googlers, looked very interested in the person asking the question. He almost didn’t really care about Eric! And when he clapped, he seemed to be clapping not only for himself but for everyone, as if everyone was involved in making his speech a success. It really inspiring to watch.