Charismatic people make the most inspirational leaders in business and politics.
But charisma isn’t always innate – you can learn it. Writing for Management Today, Adam Gale explains how you can increase your charm quotient to help you get ahead.
Don’t try to fake charisma – people will see right through you. Instead, Reid recommends following these five steps designed to help you become the real deal.
1) Know yourself. You can’t change ingrained behaviours if you remain oblivious to them, so learn to notice how you come across to others. If power, presence and warmth are the hallmarks of charisma, saying sorry all the time, fidgeting and negative body language are tell-tale signs of the wallflower.
2) Active listening. Remember that “being charismatic is not a performance” but about making other people feel valued and important. Leaders like Richard Branson and the Dalai Lama are self-deprecating during interviews, always paying close attention to the interviewer. Follow their example and be an active listener rather than just a talker – then people will get a good feeling about you and reciprocate.
3) Speak more slowly. Inspirational leaders are those who believe that their words are worth listening to. If you talk nervously or speed through your input to discussions, others may get the feeling that you don’t believe what you say really matters. Weigh your words. This is all about attaching value to what you say.
4) One thing at a time. Change takes time – so don’t rush it. Concentrate on one aspect of your behaviour at a time. People who try to change everything at once are more likely to give up after the first setback. You might spend a month working on maintaining good eye contact with people when you talk to them, but that’s sustainable.
5) Learn to grow. Charisma is an attitude as much as it is a skill or an art. Inspirational leaders are invariably people who’re prepared to learn and grow. “They’re not hung up on getting things right, they’re hung up on learning,” says Reid. Ask for feedback on your progress and act on it. Becoming truly charismatic isn’t a transformation – it’s an evolution.