One of the greatest myths of all times is that charisma was innate, something God-given. You have it like JFK or you have it not. Wrong! Why do we always think in black and white? Charisma is a gray zone. Everyone can radiate less charisma; everyone can radiate more charisma. Charisma is like a light bulb with a dimming switch. You can increase the intensity of the light radiated by the bulb.
In all the public speaking and charisma seminars I’ve given, not one single person left the room afterwards with the same level of charisma. Charisma is not innate!
In the corporate world they call them value drivers – factors that have an impact on the company’s financial results. Examples are market share, technology or level of service. If you work on these individual value drivers and enhance their performance, the overall results improve.
The same applies to your level of charisma. Here are five charisma drivers that have a direct impact on your level of radiation: presence, communication skills, self-confidence, sincerity, and role model.
A charismatic person is positive, optimistic, has sex appeal and smile. Are these presence drivers innate? Can’t you go to a style advisor like Brenda Franks in Barcelona and improve your looks? Can’t you smile when you enter the office building? Can’t you change your attitude and be more positive? Charisma is not innate!
A charismatic person has good communication skills. Are these skills innate? Ralph W. Emerson said that, “All the great speakers were bad speakers at first.” Can’t you learn to make dramatic pauses? Can’t you learn inspiring quotations by heart? Can’t you use rhetorical devices like the paralipsis? Can’t you use good structure? Can’t you share personal stories and emotions? Charisma is not innate!
A charismatic person has self-confidence. Is self-confidence innate? Can’t you speak up and vary your voice? Can’t you emphasize your statements with dramatic body language? Can’t you learn to look people deeply into their eyes? Charisma is not innate!
A charismatic person is sincere. Is sincerity innate? Can’t you tell your own stories? Can’t you share failures and weaknesses, dreams and visions, happiness and joy? Can’t you tell people why you love what you do? Can’t you learn how to open up in front of strangers? Charisma is not innate!
A charismatic person is a role model. Is being a role model innate? Can’t you ask the kind cleaning lady from the 5th floor, Mrs. Thomson, about the well being of her family? Can’t you make compliments to your colleagues, bosses, employees, suppliers, service providers, partners, family or friends? Can’t you sit together with your employees in a bar after work? Can’t you engage with strangers at a cocktail party? Can’t you feel for others? Charisma is not innate!
Next time you end up in this eternal conversation about charisma and people tell you that you have it or not like JFK, please reply:
“JFK was a charismatic person indeed. But have you ever asked yourself why he radiated charisma? JFK radiated charisma because he had presence, communication skills, self-confidence, because he was sincere, and he was a role model. You too can improve your presence, you can join a Toastmasters club and work on your communication skills, you will gain more self-confidence when speaking in public, you can learn how to show your true personality, and you can even become more humane, more empathetic, more socially competent, and ultimately become a role model. Maybe you will never be like JFK. But you will radiate much more charisma than today. Charisma is not innate!”