Charisma is what magnetically draws people to you, makes them listen and trust you. It is invaluable in business. Unfortunately, many leaders don’t consider themselves charismatic and don’t believe that they can do anything about it.
Have you ever imagined yourself as the most magnetic, fascinating and engaging person in the room? Have you ever met someone charismatic and wished you could be like him or her? Have you ever wondered if charisma can be learned?
Charisma may seem like a mysterious quality. Something you have to be born with. Something you either have or you don’t. Luckily, this is not the case.
Individuals like Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Clinton or Steve Jobs weren’t born charismatic either. They all developed charismatic traits later in their lives. If they could learn it, so can we.
Even if you don’t consider yourself charismatic just yet, don’t worry. Charisma is a skill which like any other skill can be learned and absolutely anyone can master it through practice.
What Is Charisma And Why You Need It For Professional Success?
Some people call it an executive presence, others a personal appeal or magnetism, but the essence of charisma can be best explained as an ability to connect with, influence and inspire others.
Whether you want to win a promotion to a new role, achieve better results or earn more money at what you do, charisma provides you with a competitive advantage you need to achieve your goal. It gives you courage to speak up. It makes the difference between your ideas getting implemented or ignored. And it helps you get the very best talent to work with you.
In fact, charisma is a crucial part of becoming the kind of leader who wins full commitment of his or her team and their willingness to always go an extra mile. Charismatic leaders build better relationships, attract and retain more customers and generate greater sales than less charismatic ones. As a result, they become more successful and enjoy higher levels of income. Their successes often inspire others to follow them.
So if you are a leader, or aspire to be one, elevating your charisma should be a number one priority on your agenda. Here are three quick and effective ways to do this:
1. Wear Rose-tinted Glasses
Have you noticed that after interacting with some people you feel motivated and energized? While after interacting with some others you feel drained and powerless? Do you know why?
The reason, according to research published in The Leadership Quarterly, is that moods are contagious. They are like a virus. If you have it – a happy or grumpy ‘virus’ – and we spend some time together, most probably I’ll catch it. In fact, leader’s emotions were proven to influence follower’s mood even during a brief and casual interaction between a leader and follower.
What’s more, research confirms that charismatic leaders are more positive than less charismatic ones and such positivity spreads across their teams. As a result, their teams start to feel like they can achieve anything. It’s much easier and more fun to work and accomplish even challenging goals in such positive environment.
You can test this theory at your workplace. Just observe how the mood of your boss affects your own mood. Or if you’re the boss, consider your own mood and how it affects the rest of your team.
2. Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable
Have you ever had an experience of feeling totally confident, in control of a situation? A moment when others seemed captivated by you? If so, congratulations! It means that you already know how it feels to be charismatic.
In her book ‘Charisma Myth’ Olivia Fox Cabane said: ‘We assume that charismatic people are magnetic every instant of every day. They aren’t.’
What it means is that your level of charisma is not constant. It varies depending on the situation you are in. How you feel in that situation has a direct impact on how charismatic or not you behave. Stress or fear can make you behave in a very uncharismatic way e.g. impatient or aggressive.
As you will not be able to avoid situations in which you feel uncomfortable, it’s crucial to learn how to best handle such situations. Try to keep your cool in any situation. This will make you appear more charismatic and help you to put others at ease also.
3. Be Fully Present In Every Interaction
Have you ever talked to someone who didn’t listen? How did it make you feel? Ignored? Disrespected? Frustrated?
According to research published in Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience our mind needs as little as 17 milliseconds to read facial expressions. We’re able to spot someone’s eyes glazing over or even the tiniest delays in his or her reactions. What does it mean to you? Your lack of attention is highly visible. You cannot fake it. If your mind drifts away, the person you’re interacting with can sense it.
This is one of the biggest charisma secrets. When you’re fully present, even a brief conversation can create an emotional connection and leave your conversation partner feeling great. This is exactly what makes him or her feel like (s)he is the only person in the room.
To become more charismatic practice staying fully present in every interaction that matters to you. Do not let your mind drift away. If it happens, bring it back. Focus your attention on listening to the other person, listening attentively.
Most people never listen, so if you start listening, people around you will notice it. It will make a difference to them. It will show them that you care. And they will appreciate you for that.
As a leader, you’re always trying to make the most of who you are and get the best out of your team. To succeed you need to gain trust, build great relationships with others and motivate them to action. Charisma can help you with that.
Now you know that being charismatic has nothing to do with showing off or constantly trying to impress others as some people assume. You act in a charismatic way by spreading positivity to energise your team, putting yourself and others at ease in any situation as well as being fully present in interactions that matter to you.
The more you practice this, the more followers, attention and influence you gain. As a result, the impact you make on your organisation will grow exponentially.
Give it a try and see for yourself. You can no longer blame your genes for the lack of charisma!