By Manny Roman, CRES
Don’t you just hate that guy who seems to be blessed with a magnetism that attracts everyone around him? When he walks in, he immediately becomes the focus of attention. He tends to dominate the conversation and no one seems to mind. He makes us want to be with him. He just has what is often referred to as charm or charisma.
Right now, name someone whom you feel is charismatic. Now tell yourself why you think so. What are the characteristics the person possesses that you consider him or her charming or charismatic. Hard to pin these down, right? We just know that we are drawn to them and we have difficulty describing why. By the way, the person does not have to be a good-guy to be charismatic, charismatic villains do exist.
It is commonly thought that charisma is divinely awarded at birth, and it may be for some. Ancient Greeks described charisma as a gift of grace. Others have to work at it. Actually, charisma is a skill and like all behavior it can be learned.
According to Olivia Fox Cabane in “The Charisma Myth” there are three pillars of charisma – Presence, Power and Warmth. These are three behaviors that will aid you in your charisma quest.
Presence relates to being in the moment. Stay focused on what is transpiring right now in you interactions. Re-engage if you start to wander off. A great way to stay focused is to ask relevant clarification questions.
Power relates to the removal of your fear that you are not worthy of the power and status that you have achieved. This apprehension has been called the “Impostor Syndrome” and is the thief of confidence.
Warmth relates to a genuine demonstration of kindness and acceptance of the other individual. To do this, even if you have just met, think about your own feelings of affection. This can change your body chemistry which will then radiate warmth.
As in all interactions, communication is key. The skillful use of verbal and nonverbal skills is a major component of charisma. Another critical component of charisma is solid self-confidence. A critical element of self-confidence is a clear sense of purpose and motion in the right direction. A clear sense of purpose is based on personal satisfaction in what we do and why we do it. Since people are naturally attracted to confidence, to increase your charisma, increase your confidence.
Ask charismatic people what makes them so and they will confidently deny that they are. Nothing projects charisma like confidence. Look closely at that guy and you will see an aura of confidence as he does what he is doing at that time. Charismatic leaders radiate confidence even during challenging times. Watch world leaders as they walk and talk and the common thread is confidence.
Even when faced with adversity, they do not waver. This is how they project leadership charisma. So find a way to increase your self-confidence.
Ask yourself what you can change to increase your sense of purpose and personal satisfaction. Decide to become more knowledgeable in your profession. Become more active in the industry.
Enhance your social interactions. These items will increase your skills and sense of purpose, and your confidence. Purposely step outside your comfort zone.
Use visualization and your mind. To the brain, there is little difference between real and imagined events and the subconscious is always on autopilot in whatever search mode you program. This is why great athletes visualize every move necessary to win even before the event begins. This is why a speaker goes into the room before the audience to visualize himself giving a great speech. This is why businessmen plan.
Napoleon Hill said, “Any ideas, plan, or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought.” Earl Nightingale said, “You become what you think about.” So start in you mind. Think about what will make you more charismatic and you will become more charismatic.
Now the bad news: Although it is key, confidence alone is not enough. Ask the impressed group why a person is charismatic and they will tell you that they feel or fare better after interacting with “that guy”. That guy just acts like he is supposed to be doing what he is doing, and we receive something, even if intangible, from his presence.
So charisma is obviously whatever others observe it to be. We need the presence of others to be charismatic. Charisma is a group of observable actions. Charisma, like leadership, is in the “eye of the beholder” and tends to be situational. “That guy” may actually look like a fool to some and, in the wrong situation, to most. Even I am not charismatic to everyone all the time. It’s a shame that those two people miss out.
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