I have recently been reading the book by Olivia Fox Cabane called ‘The Charisma Myth’. I have been intrigued by humans who seem to have this power to ‘lure’ other humans into their circle for whatever reason. Oprah, Clinton, Gates, Jobs, Madonna…just to name a few.
What is it that they ‘have’? What is it that the rest of us don’t?
Well, Ms. Cabane has shed some light on that for me on that and I was educated and entertained…
As I read through, I observed that all these traits or actions mentioned would just be good to practice whether you are striving for charisma or not.
And you don’t have to be good looking to be charismatic(thank goodness!)! It’s not about looks.
Behaviors to learn
- Presence–Being in the moment is another good way to put this. Train yourself to notice the things around you-and inside you- at any point in time. In the context of charisma, though, it is about paying full attention to who you are interacting with. Listen to them without getting distracted by others or other things. Make eye contact(without getting uncomfortable), nod your head at the right times, ask questions. Repeat back what they said. Points like this can be valuable and easily learned.
- Warmth-This can be defined as having goodwill towards others. Being empathetic and interested deeply for the condition of someone. This means that you care for them and are concerned for their well being. Think of them as a long time friend whom you have known for years. Let them feel that you genuinely want to help them.
- Power-This was a tough one to ascertain and understand for me. It simply is being able to convey the feeling to someone that you can positively( or negatively) affect the world around us. So how do you get to the brass tacks of this? Think showing intelligence (like Elon Musk or Steve Jobs) or exhibiting kindness (like Mother Teresa) through body language(more in Cabane’s book about that). Since our innate reaction to these qualities as humans are high, displaying them would be a charismatic feature.
In All these qualities listed above, body language is much more effective in being charismatic than speech. This is tough, though, because our bodies and faces are displaying much more than what we know about. Unfortunately, other humans can.
It is also a true fact that if we consciously try to hide our real feelings, that can induce a threat response in others. With this being known, you can gather that charismatic behaviors must originate in the mind.
So that is where another good point comes to light: To control our outer world and reactions by others, we control our inner world first. That is something I have talked about a lot on optimize-your-life.net. Like here in my piece about changing our paradigms.
Your Inner Work
What your mind believes, your body will manifest. You have to start working on what you believe about yourself and change it if the beliefs are faulty. That can take a lot of soul searching, meditation and inner work. Sometimes you can get started by just making sure you take good care of yourself and not be self critical. You can get those good endorphins flowing by exercising and working out a few days a week. Get out from in front of the television and read from well known authors or biographies on successful people.
Your Barriers to Charisma
- Physical discomfort-simply stated, if you are not comfortable, you will have a difficult time being charismatic. think of a group meeting where you are in a hot room and in a hot suit. Your sweating and fidgeting will show and truly be a barrier.
- Uncertainty anxiety-If you are not sure for whatever reason your position on what you are seeking of, this will also cause a charisma barrier. Also not playing a scene through your head where you have mastered the setting(lack of confidence) will affect you negatively.
- Comparison dissatisfaction-This could be comparing your actions to someone else’s actions in a negative way. Or comparing your projected outcome to past experiences. It is by humans’ nature to compare, but sometimes it can be to your peril.
- Self criticism/self doubt-This should be a no brainer, but still important to point out. If you are caught up in your own mind’s ability too belittle you, then you will suffer in your quest to be convincing and charismatic.
This is but a brief synopsis of Cabane’s book, the Charisma Myth. There is so much more to read and learn from her which is strongly urge you to do.
So, I ask you: Are you charismatic? Do you have the skills to be? Do you have any? Where can you start to work on these beneficial skills? Pick up her book and find out.