As managers and leaders we all need people to like us, trust us and want to be led by us, don’t we? One of the really important ingredients that go into the management/leadership mix is something that often remains elusive and is rarely covered on learning events. Charisma. You may hear it mentioned on some of the better advanced presentation skills courses. You may have read about it in personal development books, but on the whole it isn’t something that we often get help with. In fact many people believe charisma is something you either have or you haven’t.
The good news however is that we can learn and cultivate it. In fact, it’s more than good news. It’s fantastic, because charisma is critical. We need it in business and in our personal lives. Its power to influence, help us to achieve personal and work goals, and get people on side is phenomenal. Would you like some more of it?
I know from my youngest daughter, who has just graduated with a First Class Degree in Psychology with Clinical Psychology (you can tell I’m a very proud Mum!) that charisma is something that really has been interesting sociologists, psychologists and cognitive/behavioural experts in recent years. Their research tells us that charisma is nothing more than a set of behaviours, that we can learn, apply, refine and continually practice until we become really expert and ‘natural’ with it. That’s such exciting news.
To get the most out of this revelation, you do really need to invest time, learning, practice, review and reflection. In the meantime, to get you started so that you can see the difference charisma can make once you develop and master it, here’s 10 top tips to start trying immediately.
This could be the start of a more charismatic you!
- Keep the spotlight on others, not yourself. As Benjamin Disraeli said, “Talk to a man about himself and he will listen for hours”! So when you meet and greet someone, start with an authentic compliment, and ask good open questions, ideally so that they can answer through storytelling.
- Examine your handshake. I remember years ago I won a contract that ended up lasting years and earning me a lot of money on the strength of my handshake (as they told me later). Avoid bonecrushers, dominating or limp lettuce leaf approaches. Keep your hand perpendicular and firm, palm flat demonstrating equality.
- Smile. It relaxes your vocal cords, and makes your voice more mellow and interesting.
- Find ways to make people feel important and interesting. The focus should be on them, not you.
- Listen more than you speak. This is really important for conveying a charismatic presence – after all we all have two ears and one mouth – so that gives us a clue. Make sure that you know how to actively listen. Listen twice as much as you speak. Be fully present when conversing with people.
- Become truly interested in the other person rather than trying to get the other person interested in you.
- Try pausing for a couple of seconds before responding
- Make sure that you lower your intonation at the end of your sentences rather than raise it.
- Remember that people like people who are like them. This has its origins in our tribal days. So know when to blend in and how and when to dress to impress.
- Practice using your voice to convey different emotions by recording how you say different messages. Listen and rehearse improvements.
Practise these 10 tips and see how you get on. Email me: email@example.com and let me know your charismatic progress!
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