26/10/2011

By Gavin Meikle, Head of Learning and Founder of inter-activ

Charisma, some people have it and some don’t! How often have we heard that comment. Everyone agrees that is an important and desirable characteristic whether you are a salesperson, a team leader, a presenter or a teacher but it seems such an intangible thing.

Wikipedia, the online reference source defines it as follows:

The word charisma (from the Greek word χάρισμα (kharisma), “gift” or “divine favor,” from kharizesthai, “to favor,” from kharis, “favor”: see also charism) refers to a rare trait found in certain human personalities usually including extreme charm and a ‘magnetic’ quality of personality


If anything this definition just serves to reinforce the belief that it is rare and “god given”. Well I happen to disagree. I believe that everyone is intrinsically charismatic but that, through conditioning, many of us have learned to suppress our natural charisma. In my workshops I use a range of methods to help people rediscover their own innate charisma but I’d like to share with you three ideas to get you challenging your own limiting beliefs about how charismatic you are.


Tip 1: Stop telling yourself that you are not a charismatic person

The language we use when we talk to ourselves is much more powerful than we think. If you keep focusing on your lack of charisma and reminding yourself of it, should you really be surprised when you seem to be repelling rather than attracting others?


Tip 2: Mimic some of the physical behaviours of people you consider to be charismatic

If you were at a networking event and you walked around with your shoulders slumped and your head down would you be more or less charismatic? If you gave only fleeting eye contact to others, gabbled nervously, and spoke inarticulately how will others rate you in the charisma stakes? Act as if you were charismatic by observing what charismatic people do and then emulating some of those traits. You will be amazed at the effect it has, both on others and on yourself!


Tip 3: When speaking to others have the intention of raising their status and self esteem

Charismatic people don’t only look and sound confident and authoritative, they also naturally build up the status of others whenever they interact with them. Bill Clinton is an excellent example of this. I know someone who met him and described vividly how, when he spoke to them, he gave them his full attention, listened intently and then responded with a comment that validated and built upon whatever they had said. He never tried to put them down. He knew the secret that when you raise the status of others in this way, you raise your own status too in a non threatening and magnetic way.

So there you have it. Some thoughts on how to develop your own charisma. Imagine the effect it could have on your own career or business success. I know these ideas work because I have personally used them myself. So do yourself a favour and give yourself a charisma transplant today.


Gavin Meikle is the owner of inter-activ learning and development, a Southampton based consultancy specialising in effective face to face interpersonal communication and presentations. He can be contacted at gmeikle@inter-activ.co.uk or by phone on 07810 645309.


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