Who wouldn’t want to be charismatic? Synonyms for charisma are alluring, bewitching, captivating, fascinating, charming, enchanting, engaging, magnetic and seductive. Charisma is powerful and charismatic people can make others “drink the Kool-Aid.” When possessed by people like Adolf Hitler and Charles Manson, charisma is dangerously powerful. But when it’s used for good, the Kool-Aid is really sweet.
Why are some people charismatic and others are not? Are we born charismatic or do we cultivate it? And once you have it, can you lose it?
Joyce Newman, a consultant to high profiled executives, celebrity spokespersons, athletes and authors says “Everyone can be charismatic.” While we are not born charismatic – we cultivate it in many ways.” One way is by observing and learning from people who you think are charismatic. You don’t need to copy them, but learn their secrets, try them on and fine-tune them until they fit you. It’s a trial and error process. Bad news is that once you have your charismatic status, you can lose it. Just look at Mel Gibson and Lindsay Lohan. But here’s the good news – if you lose it, with self awareness and effort, you can regain your charismatic ranking.”
You may be charismatic and not know it here are 5 ways to grow charisma.
1. Be Self-Confident
Self-confidence is the difference between feeling unstoppable and feeling scared out of your wits. Your perception of yourself has an enormous impact on how others perceive you. Perception is reality — the more self-confidence you have, the more likely it is you’ll succeed and the more charismatic you become to others. The blog Pick Your Brain offers tips on growing your self-confidence, here are 3 of the best tips: Tip one: Walk Faster – One of the easiest ways to tell how a person feels about herself is to examine her walk. Is it slow? Tired? Painful? Or is it energetic and purposeful? People with confidence walk quickly. They have places to go, people to see, and important work to do. Even if you aren’t in a hurry, you can increase your self-confidence by putting some pep in your step. Walking 25% faster will make to you look and feel more important. Tip two: Good Posture – The way a person carries herself tells a story. People with slumped shoulders and lethargic movements display a lack of self-confidence. They aren’t enthusiastic about what they’re doing and they don’t consider themselves important. By practicing good posture, you’ll automatically feel more confident. Stand up straight, keep your head up, and make eye contact. You’ll make a positive impression on others and instantly feel more alert and empowered. Tip Three Compliment Other People. When we think negatively about ourselves, we often project that feeling on to others in the form of insults and gossip. To break this cycle of negativity, get in the habit of praising other people. Refuse to engage in backstabbing gossip and make an effort to complement those around you. In the process, you’ll become well liked and build self-confidence. By looking for the best in others, you indirectly bring out the best in yourself.
2 Tell Great Stories
Appropriate and well-told stories are powerful tools to reach and relate to people. Great stories teach without preaching they paint mental pictures worth more than a thousand buzzwords. Geoffrey James writer of “Sales Source” one of the world’s most-visited sales-oriented blogs has come up with three tips for developing great stories that hit an emotional cord. 1. Decide on the takeaway first: Figure out exactly what you want the listener to believe, understand or do when you’ve completed the anecdote. In social settings, stories are generally told to strengthen relationships; you might tell a funny story, for instance, so that everyone can laugh and feel closer. The same thing is true in business relationships–except that, in addition to creating a better relationship, the anecdote should advance whatever business transaction is taking place. 2. Begin with who, where, when … and a hint of direction. Every great story–and indeed, every great movie, novel, or TV show–starts with a person (who is going to do something), a place (where things are going to happen), a time (so people can relate “then” to “now”), and just a hint of direction, indicating where the anecdote is headed. 3. Pick the ending that will create the takeaway. When you tell the anecdote, you’ll start at the beginning of the story. However, what’s most important is the ending of the anecdote, which should make the point that you’re trying to communicate.
3. Become Realistically Pragmatic
In his landmark book Good to Great Jim Collins describe how companies transition from being average companies to great companies and how companies can fail to make the transition. Collins introduces his readers to James Stockdale the highest-ranking naval officer held as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. During his seven years of captivity Stockdale observed that prisoners who were relied on being optimism about their situation did not survive. He noted his survival was predicated on his realistically pragmatic view: That he would prevail in the end regardless of the difficulties however at the same time he must confront the most brutal facts of his current reality, whatever they might be. Contrary to popular belief charismatic people are not optimists they share Admiral Stockdale’s realistically pragmatic outlook. They never doubt that the goals they set can be achieved however; they always take an honest stock the situation they current find themselves in. Charismatic people are realistically pragmatic they combine optimism with brutal honesty and a willingness to take action to change things to their ultimate long term favor.
4. Develop into a Servant Leader
A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. Traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid.” By comparison, the servant-leader shares power puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible. Charismatic people really does not care who gets the credit they just want to get things done. The Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, which advances the modern servant leadership movement notes 3 common traits of servant leaders: Trait One: Listening: The servant-leader seeks to identify the will of a group and helps clarify that will. They seek to listen receptively to what is being said (and not said!). Listening also encompasses. Trait Two: Empathy: The servant-leader strives to understand and empathize with others. People need to be accepted and recognized for their special and unique spirits. One assumes the good intentions of co-workers and does not reject them as people, even while refusing to accept their behavior or performance. Trait Three: Commitment to the growth of people: Servant-leaders believe that people have an intrinsic value beyond their tangible contributions as workers. As such, the servant-leader is deeply committed to the growth of each and every individual within his or her institution. The servant-leader recognizes the tremendous responsibility to do everything within his or her power to nurture the personal, professional, and spiritual growth of people.
5 Grow into a Lifelong Learner
We have all seen “the most interesting man in the world” advertising campaign for the Dos Equis beer. The advertisement features a montage of daring exploits involving “the most interesting man” when he was younger. Roughly in his 70s the exploits demonstrate that he grew into the charismatic most interesting man in the world because of his commitment to lifelong learning. Rich stories and experiences just don’t happen they come to us as we activity see to learn new and different things in out of the classroom. Abraham Lincoln said, “I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.” This opens the premise that learning is a daily adventure. The website WikiHow offers three tips on lifelong learning. First, look at learning as an exploration and opportunity, not a chore. Don’t just force yourself to learn things because they’re important or necessary. Instead, learn things that you need to learn alongside things you love to learn. Second, read, make friends with your local library and new and used book sellers. Reading is a portal into other worlds and into the minds of your fellow human beings. Charismatic people read lots of books, all the time; it’s as simple as that. And reading will help you to learn the discoveries and mistakes of others who have gone before you; reading is, in effect, a shortcut so that you don’t have to learn things the hard way. Thirdly create. Not all learning comes from outside you. In fact, some of the most powerful learning happens when you are creating or formulating something for yourself. Creation, like intelligence, can be artistic or scientific; physical or intellectual; social or solitary. For me I have found writing, speaking and developing a business to be highly creative exercises that have sparked a wave of learning for me. The most interesting man in the world has a point of view that life should be lived interestingly and his interest is powered by lifelong learning.
The Bottom Line
Being charismatic is not an antidote for all the difficulties of life. Bad things happen to charismatic people. Including feeling stressed, disappointed, and loss of employment. In fact I know many charismatic people who have been unemployed for several years. However, the five traits of being charismatic, 1. Self-confidence, 2. Telling great stories, 3. Being realistically pragmatic, 4.Developing into a servant leader, 5. Growing into a lifelong learner fosters a mindset that enables us the overcome life’s difficulties and to handle our victories with grace and humility.
Are you charismatic? How many of the 5 traits do you have? What about your co-workers, boss, spouse, friends and family – how many traits do they have? It is never too late to become charismatic simply start living the traits.