In one sentence can you describe the term charisma? I find it amusing to hear the many different responses to that question. When asked to define this characteristic most people have their own version of its meaning. We usually say things like “charming”, “popular”, “good looking”, or influential to describe its definition. I’ve even heard some describe it as this mystical element that dwells within the innermost nature of only a “selected” few. I’ve always enjoyed this topic because it challenges the person to look deeper than the abstract meanings that are typically the first to pop into the mind when the word is mentioned. So I will ask you again to place meaning with the term, this time with an even more solid foundation. Start thinking of a few individuals you know that exude this incredible gift. Then ask yourself what it is specifically that makes them charismatic.
The term charisma derives from the Ancient Greek word kharisma, which means “God’s chosen” or “divinely favored”. In biblical times, it was used to describe people like Moses and Joshua, who were charged as leaders over the nation of Israel in quest for the land “flowing with milk and honey”. However, the meaning evolved as time went on to encompass more platforms. No longer is it just our spiritual leaders that possess this gift. In modern day society, entertainers, politicians, and perhaps even the local pimp can command the scene with this particular quality.
According to Dr. Tony Alessandra, studier of the human psyche and author of the book Charisma, the definition for the term would be described as “the ability to influence others positively by connecting with them physically, emotionally, and intellectually.” In short, it’s the qualities that make someone like you, even if they don’t know you. Moreover, you should perceive charisma as a “result quality”, a personal characteristic that comes as a result of possessing a combination of other different qualities. So in order to become that charismatic leader that you’ve always wanted to be, you should look to improve yourself in a number of different capacities. Communication ability, outward appearance, body language, and enthusiasm, are some elements to focus on. (For more tips, I suggest you read Charisma by Tony Alessandra)
Personalities like Zig Ziglar, Al Pacino, and Oprah Winfrey are great examples of people gifted with the understanding of what it takes to move people. They are incredible communicators, but even better at connecting with an audience. So what can we do to connect better with our family members, employees, business partners, and even the strangers that we meet? We can start by being someone that they like being around, someone that makes him or her feel good inside, and someone that gives them hope. Also, you shouldn’t ignore how charming a sincere smile and compliment can be.
If you’re looking to improve in this area, the most important thing to remember is that Charisma is a gift that’s outward focused and can only be displayed if your intentions cater to parties other than yourself. In other words, be more concerned about making people feel good about themselves, rather than making them feel good about you. I’ll end this piece with a story that will illustrate this point. It was told by a woman who dined with two rival statesmen on consecutive nights, William Gladstone and the charismatic Benjamin Disraeli during a time when they competed for leadership of Great Britain’s government. When asked of her impression of the two, she said, “When I left the dining room after sitting next to Mr. Gladstone, I thought that he was the cleverest man in England. But after sitting next to Mr. Disraeli, I thought I was the cleverest women in England.” In 1874, Disraeli succeeded in his campaign for British Prime Minister.
How to Increase Your Charisma?
You know…there’s something about you I like. I can’t put my finger on it…but there’s something about you that makes you attractive.
You’ve got charisma!
How do I know? I know you’ve got charisma because you’re open to the world around you and ready to learn new things that the universe has to offer. And if there’s one characteristic you always find in charismatic people, it’s openness.
So, I think I’ve got your pegged right when I say you’ve got charisma. Even if you don’t know it yet.
Charisma is easy to spot. You could probably name a dozen “charismatic” people you know in politics, the entertainment industry, or your personal life. But even though it’s easy to spot, charisma isn’t so easy to break down into its key components.
The “It” Factor
It’s not so easy to identify exactly what it is about a person that makes him or her charismatic. You know that someone’s got “it;” you just can’t quite define what “it” is.
Charisma is an attractiveness that goes beyond good looks…an appeal that can’t be labelled…a captivating quality that isn’t the result of simple intellectual brilliance or a terrific sense of humor.
Most people see charisma as something elusive and unachievable—a kind of magical, mysterious magnetism that you’re either born with or not. And the fact is that nothing could be further from the truth!
Charisma isn’t a function of DNA. It can be developed…
and it can be developed by YOU.
Charisma is defined as “a certain presence.” When charismatic people enter a room, their mere presence draws attention and their energy may radiate to enliven the entire gathering. At the core of this charisma, says Friedman, is “a basic self-confidence” and the ability to project this to others.
Your charisma can be improved and increase… and that takes work, but don’t worry, the work is actually fun to do.
1. You’ll get far more respect than the average person!
2. People will be drawn to you without any effort on your part!
3. You’ll exude self-confidence!
4. You’ll seem powerful without being intimidating.
5. You’ll put people at ease and make them feel understood!
6. And you’ll be able to easily get what you want, because people will instinctively want to help you!
In your personal relationships, the quality of charisma can make your life fuller and more joyful. Members of your family and your friends will be far happier in your company, and you will have a greater influence on them, causing them to feel better about themselves and to do better at the important things in their lives.
Face it. Your charisma makes you irresistible.
In trying to explain charisma, some people speak of an “aura” that radiates out from a person and affects the people around him/her in a positive or negative way.
You Are What You Speak – Charismatic Words
We tend to equate charisma with a type of sex appeal or charm, but you can find charismatic leaders who were pretty darn unattractive. Look at British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, unarguably tremendously charismatic, but not attractive physically.
So an important part of charisma is the ability to elicit images in the mind of a follower. A message that is easy to “see” is easier to understand, and that works well for the message and the messenger.
Let Your Voice Come From Deep Within You
It’s more likely than not that you don’t involve your body in your speaking very much. You probably take shallow breaths, and when you speak, the resonance of your voice probably comes mainly out of your throat, neck and head, rather than out of your chest or deeper in your body.
You must practice breathing more deeply, and practice letting sound come out of that deeper place within you. The following exercise is perfect for you:
Exercise: Open Up and Say Ahhhhh
Try breathing deeply and saying “ahhhh, ahhhh, ahhhh” with each breath, letting the sound come out of a lower place in your body. Then try speaking. You’ll find that your voice is more resonant and easier to listen to. If you do this every day, after a while your habit of breathing will change, and your vocal tone will change along with it.
You can practice this exercise wherever it’s convenient: in the car on the way to work, in the shower in the morning, or whenever you happen to be alone.
Speak with Excitement
Many people who have been told that they lack charisma have usually gotten into the habit of never showing any real excitement about anything.
Charismatic, attractive people, on the other hand, are good at conveying their enthusiasm about things in their lives by the way that they speak. You can learn to do this by practicing speaking excitedly about things.
You do this by practice. Choose a topic, and spend one speaking about that topic with enthusiasm. Really let yourself go, and get excited about it! It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about baseball, a recipe for brownies, your spouse, your business, or world politics. The subject doesn’t matter nearly as much as your ability to convey your excitement about it.
As you practice speaking excitedly, you’ll find you are more animated and exciting in all your conversations. And this will make you much more charismatic.
Don’t Be Wishy Washy
Many people who come across as boring and un-focused were not rewarded during their formative years for speaking with certainly or decisiveness. As a result, they’ve come to believe that the best way to get along in life was to stay “under the radar,” and to never appear too committed to anything
That’s a good way to get along, okay, if you don’t mind being completely devoid of charisma…and all the benefits that charisma brings.
If you’d rather do more than just get along, if you’d like to really be charismatic in your personal and business life, it’s time to start experimenting with speaking with certainty.
Exercise – Remove and Replace
Sounding wishy-washy is very much a function of the language you use when you express yourself. The easiest way to stop appearing to be drifting without a rudder is to remove the words “I guess” from your vocabulary.
When it comes to radiating charisma, you should remove all words of doubt and replace them with words of certainty.
* Instead of saying, “I guess so,” try saying, “Yes!
* Instead of saying “I guess that’d be okay,” try saying, “That’s what I want.”
* Instead of saying, “I guess we could sit over there,” try saying, “Let’s sit over there.”
Some people have natural charisma in their speaking. The rest of us just have practice.