When you talk in front of a group, do you “light up the room”? Or do you struggle to inspire people?
Having charisma is essential for creating a good impression in these situations, and it is something that you can learn.
Charisma is a collection of traits and behaviors that make you appeal to other people. The word comes from the Greek word “charis,” which means “grace” or “gift.”
“Live within; be not shaken by outward happening.”
A person who is charismatic believes in being happy internally and is exceptionally engaging, likable, trustworthy, and, in many cases, a bit “magical.” Larger-than-life personalities like Sri Aurobindo, Mother, Martin Luther King, Oprah Winfrey, and Sir Richard Branson have all been known for their charismatic personalities.
Charisma and Power
Charisma is a form of “referent power,” which social psychologists John French and Bertram Raven identified as one of the five bases of power. Referent power is a power that you have because other people like and respect you.
With that in mind, remember that charisma can be misused. Don’t use it to manipulate others into doing something that is against their interests.
Charisma is nothing more than a set of traits and behaviors that, when put together, turn you into a magnetic, engaging personality. Plenty of research shows that you can learn and perfect these traits.
For instance, studies have shown that leaders who are willing to endure hardship are seen as more charismatic by their teams, and people who have a positive outlook are more likely to have charisma. Also, what people choose to say can affect how charismatic they are.
A common misconception about charisma is that it is closely linked with physical attractiveness. Although this can help you to be liked in some situations, it’s certainly not a requirement for being charismatic. Ultimately, beauty is only skin deep. Your actions and beliefs can matter far more to thoughtful people than how you look.
Let’s look at some of the best ways to develop a charismatic personality
- Body Language and Presence
Body language and “presence” are important aspects of charisma. Without saying a word, the right body language can transmit strength, warmth, and likability.
Start by standing up straight, with your shoulders back and your head up. Good posture not only makes you look confident and in control, but it also makes you feel this way!
Presence is a bit different from body language: this has to do with the quality of your attention. When you have a presence, you devote all of your attention to the person you’re with, and you don’t let your mind wander to something else. You give yourself, and your attention, solely to that person.
Do your best to stay in the moment and stay aware. You may be surprised by the impact this has on your relationships!
- Helping Others Feel Good
Sincerity is incredibly important in developing charisma. People will notice if you’re just “going through the motions” or are giving out insincere compliments. Make sure that you stay authentic as you work on your skills.
Charismatic people make others feel great. Instead of focusing on their own success, they spend a great deal of time and energy trying to lift others up. By helping the people around them, they create an environment of positive energy that others are naturally drawn to.
You can also help others by becoming a mentor, by coaching less-experienced team members, and by practicing random acts of kindness.
A genuine smile, when appropriate, can also help to make people feel good.
- Emotional Intelligence and Empathy
There is a strong link between high emotional intelligence and charisma. Leaders with high emotional intelligence are aware of their own emotions, as well as of the emotions of those around them. This awareness allows them to stay cool under pressure and give people what they need emotionally.
Empathy is an important part of this. When you’re able to understand other people’s perspectives, wants, and needs, you open the door for greater understanding and connection.
- Self-Confidence and Assertiveness
Charismatic people have confidence, and they know how to be assertive.
Start by building self-confidence. You can do this by using your strengths more at work, by setting and achieving small goals, and by developing the knowledge and skills that you need to do your job effectively. Also, develop your public speaking skills, so that you can speak clearly and confidently in front of a group.
Assertiveness is slightly different. When you’re assertive, you communicate your wants and needs, while still respecting the wants and needs of other people. When you’re assertive, you show personal power, but you use this power with kindness, respect, and dignity.
It takes time to develop charisma, so pay attention to several areas. Look at developing charisma as a personal journey, and focus on one area at a time.