Key Point: Charisma is absolute presence and it’s a learnable skill you and I can master. If we want to be successful at work or elsewhere, we have to continuously practice to get better at it. While charisma is not discussed that often in a business sense, it is very important in a world that is very hungry for authentic personal connections.
Think about an experience meeting with anyone who fidgets incessantly, their eyes are downward or darting elsewhere, their face mostly frowning, asking few listening questions, showing little understanding of your views, appearing distracted by worry. Well, there isn’t much of a personal or meaningful connection.
However, if we meet someone who is completely attentive and actively engaged in the conversation, we are much more likely to find them likable and interesting. When they are confidently calm, with their smartphone off to the side, relaxed, looking at us directly, listening with attention, then they make us feel like we’re the only person that matters in the moment. Often, this sincere presence is very much the path to a very meaningful personal connection.
According to Stanford Ph.D., Emma Seppala, a charismatic person is able to exert significant influence because he or she connects with others in meaningful ways. In her recent book, The Happiness Track, she introduces Six Ways To Increase Your Charisma:
- Empathy—the ability to see things from another person’s perspective and to understand how that person is feeling. You can only be empathic and place yourself in another person’s shoes if you are fully attentive to them.
- Good listening skills—the ability to truly hear what someone is trying to communicate to you, both verbally and nonverbally. If you are distracted or thinking about what to say next—not truly present—you are not truly listening.
- Eye contact—the ability to meet and maintain someone’s gaze. Eye contact is one of the most powerful forms of human connection. We intuitively feel that when someone’s gaze shifts away from us, their attention has also shifted away. This intuition is backed by neuroscience research, which has found that you use the same brain regions when your gaze wanders as when your mind wanders.
- Enthusiasm—the ability to uplift another person through praise of their actions or ideas. Enthusiasm is difficult to fake because it is such an authentic emotion. It can only occur when you sincerely engage with what someone else is doing or saying.
- Self-confidence—the ability to act authentically and with assurance, without worrying about what other people think. Many people are so busy worrying about how they appear that they end up coming across as nervous or inauthentic. Their focus is on themselves rather than on the other person. When you are fully present, you are focused on others rather than yourself.
- Skillful speaking—the ability to profoundly connect with others. It is essential to know your audience if you want to make an impact. The only way to do so, however, is to tune in to them. When you are 100 percent present with your audience, you are able to understand where they are coming from and how they are interpreting your words. Only then can your words be sensitive and appropriate. When you speak skillfully, you will be truly heard.
- Self-confidence is so important. Work from the belief that people want your presence. Find out by giving your absolute, total in the moment attention. It is both respectful and abundant. Stop worrying about what they think of you. A wandering mind gets you lost.
- Become great at charisma by consciously practicing all six. Take Emma’s research and put it to work. It’s a lifetime skill. Charisma is learned and practiced. It’s magnetic when authentically applied. And what’s more important than to make sincere, deep connections with people we really care about (that includes the people you work with)?
Charisma in the Triangle,
One Millennial View: All Millennials should be aware of the significance of self-confidence and charisma. Especially with the distraction of technology and social media, we need to be reminded of the importance of personal presence. Whether you’re making a sale or trying to become the next YouTube star, it takes charisma, and if you don’t have it, then why should anyone else buy or click on your product?
Edited and published by Garrett Rubis