An article written by Andrew Leigh, author of The Charisma Effect
“The minute you walked in the joint, I could see you were a man of distinction. A real big spender.” This lyric, famously belted out by diva Shirley Bassey, is a musical reminder that people judge us in an eye blink. It stems directly from charisma, or lack of it.
The conventional view of charisma assumes only a few, exceptional
people possess it. It seems to imply mysterious, almost magical
properties that you are either born with it or not. Yet these larger than
life characters function at the extreme end of the charisma spectrum
This convenient notion that charisma is beyond reach allows us to exclude ourselves from any serious attempt at owning up to our potential to make a powerful and lasting impact. However, as we shall see, it is not entirely innate and relies on creating a relationship between you and others.
Charisma is not magical, supernatural or even unobtainable. To some degree, each of us can produce a diluted version, called the Charisma Effect. This effect is entirely learnable. It is about tapping into your natural ability to make a powerful impression, even if this currently lies dormant or underexploited. Your personal impact is your Charisma Effect.
Between the two extremes of pure charisma and having virtually none, lies the Charisma Effect, which virtually everyone can learn to use with the A-B-C of personal impact:
Aim is about getting clear on your purpose in wanting to make a powerful and lasting impression. Being Yourself involves various key behaviours such as being authentic, fluent, passionate, confident and courageous. For example, the box below shows 10 warning signs of not being authentic.
Finally, there is chemistry. You cannot entirely control this since it depends as much on the other person as on you. But you can certainly affect it in various ways, including becoming more skilled at building rapport.
- You make friends only with those who have something you want and might benefit you in the future
- You are terrific at collecting business cards and phone numbers that will help you professionally, but have few real quality friendships or relationships
- You manipulate others to get what you want without worrying about the effect this may have on them or yourself
- You allow others to manipulate you
- You focus your behaviour around gaining other people’s approval, regardless of how you feel about them
- You are not true to yourself
- You feel lonely, disrespected, and noncommittal in your relationships.
- At work, you feel out of place, bored, underrated, unappreciated.
- You can make little progress in your personal growth or do not even care about it