6 Ways to become a Charismatic Person

One definition of Charisma is “compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others.” When we think of leaders the first thing that comes to mind is their charisma. We want to be charismatic. I think great leaders are charismatic however not everyone who has charisma maybe a great leader.  It is something that can be developed and we can all aspire to. Here are the key elements of charisma identified by experts that we can try to incorporate to become greater leaders.  These elements were mentioned in the book The Happiness Track by Emma Seppala.  Here is my take on each of the elements.
Empathy - Empathy is the key21st century skill. With information asymmetry and buyers having the same information as sellers we need to understand the real needs of the customer before we sell anything. If you think you are in technology and not in sales think again. Whatever you do for a living you need empathy to win in the market place. As Howard Schultz said “We are not in the coffee business serving people but in the people business serving coffee.” Apple has deep empathy for the customer and they demonstrate it through their breakthrough design. Johnathon Ive is the key driver for this and it is obvious that empathy is what drives their design. So develop your empathetic skills and you can win bigger in the market place.
Good listening skills – We have heard this a million times you have two ears and one mouth for a reason and you should use it in the same proportion. Of course if everyone listens then we won’t have any conversations. However to be a great leader listening is the key. Robert Gates in his book “A Passion for Leadership” says he always allowed others to talk and only spoke after everyone else exhausted their options. This allowed him to change his opinion if he had any preconceived notions and also allowed him to have the last word. So how do you develop good listening skills? First you need to pay full attention to the person you are speaking to, paraphrase what was said to show your understanding, ask probing questions, never interrupt, take notes when appropriate and finally smile. Smiling indicates warmth. Good listening skills are absolutely essential to becoming a great leader.
Eye contact – Always maintain eye contact with everyone when you speak to them. If you look down when you are speaking or sideways it shows your low confidence. Nelson Mandela is the best example and he reportedly looked at the person so intensely that the other person felt like he was talking to a statue. When you engage with positive eye contact it improves your listening skills as well as you force yourself to listen to what is being said.
Enthusiasm – You can’t be charismatic without enthusiasm. Enthusiasm doesn’t mean giving fiery speeches or talking loudly. It is actually showcasing a calm exterior where you come across as a pleasant person who loves life. I think this is the key as if you love life it is visible to everyone else. When you love life you are automatically enthusiastic. When you are enthusiastic about your life it shows and it rubs off on your followers.  Nobody wants to hear from someone who is bored with life. We want leaders who are vibrant, alive and full of life. You can be the person who arouses enthusiasm in others by loving life immensely. So go ahead and be the most enthusiastic person you can possibly be.
Self-confidence – You radiate self-confidence by the person you are. We have seen great leaders and the first thing we notice is their self-confidence. The first step to increase your self-confidence is to raise your self-awareness. You do this by doing a strong assessment of your strengths so go ahead and identify all your positive qualities and strengths. Do a success inventory by writing down all the accomplishments you have ever had in your life.  Set large goals for your life but keep it confidential. Reflect on your life by understanding what you did right every week and what can be improved. By doing all this you raise your self-confidence and you radiate warmth to everyone you meet.
Skillful speaking – You can’t be a great leader without the ability to communicate. Skillful speaking doesn’t mean talking to a large audience though that is necessary. It is the ability to communicate effectively the goals and vision of the organization or project. Develop your communication skills by being totally present, listening attentively, clearly articulating what you want to achieve, ask for what you want, clarify your expectations, make your objectives clear, set challenging goals, and give constant feedback. Of course I have mainly talked about the business aspect but to be a true leader you have to know the pulse of the people and you do this by taking an interest in their personal lives and hobbies. You become charismatic by taking a genuine interest in the other person and speaking in the language of the other person.
As you can see charisma is not something you are born with. Even if you are not leading a large organization it is imperative that we learn the elements of charisma. Adopting even one or two of these methods can increase your charisma and make you the leader that others want to follow.
 The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization.


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