How to Become More Charismatic?

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How to Become More Charismatic?
Wilma van Velde, Coach, Netherlands, Member
A charismatic person is someone who attracts and inspires others by resonating an aura of charm and attractiveness. Charisma is a very beneficial personal characteristic to have, because it provides you with many opportunities and increases your influence upon others.
I am looking for (practical) ways and ideas to build and/or increase someone's charisma. Here are 4 key things I already know of:
  1. BE POSITIVE: It's important to be positive, confident and optimistic when around people and colleagues, because people are normally drawn to positivity.
  2. LISTEN: Make people feel special about themselves by really listening to what they have to say. This will give them the feeling you care for them.
  3. GIVE COMPLIMENTS: Offering other people genuine compliments will make them like you and be around you.
  4. BODY LANGUAGE: When you're meeting people, smile, stand up straight, and make eye contact to show that you're confident and engaged in the conversation.
Who can give some some further tips? Thank you.

Be Specific About How to Implement these Things
Norman Dragt, Netherlands, Member
The big problem with this kind of advise is often its complex implementation based on rather broad descriptions of behaviour.
Take for example the advise: Be positive: be positive and optimistic because people are drawn to positivity. This is somewhat vague, and you need to ask questions to get a better understanding of the behaviour and how to implement it. Some people will see positivity as unrealistic, mostly due to bad experiences with people who were positive. So how do you address these persons with a pessimistic view of positivity? A solution for some of them is sometimes just keeping up positive behaviour over a sustained period.
Which also makes clear that becoming more charismatic has to do with showing the characteristics of charisma over a long period of time and in many different situations. You need to prove you are charismatic as people can be distrustful of positivity, compliments and listeners.

How to Become More Charismatic?
Graham Williams, Management Consultant, South Africa, Premium Member
I like Norman’s cautionary words. As the proportion of live to virtual relating declines in workplaces, I can understand those wanting to make an immediate impact in a short space of time, get attention, get others to like you, convey authenticity and confidence, grasp opportunities, influence …. Be like the one Shirley Bassey sang about: “The minute you walked in the joint I could see you were a man of distinction…….…!”
For me the more important question is WHY strive to become more charismatic? Why is a hypnotic, magnetic, presence, charm and pseudo-authority desired? What is the motive? If it is for personal gain and self-serving then becoming charismatic in effect becomes a con trick. Charismatics inhabit many poor performing workplaces, failed relationships, political parties. Even heads of State can be charismatic yet also flawed, narcissistic, Machiavellian, psychopathic!
So perhaps being charismatic can backfire, unless it is accompanied by other strong qualities.

How to Become More Charismatic? Body Language
Wilma van Velde, Coach, Netherlands, Member
Thank you for your cautionary comments. I agree charisma can be used in a wrong (non-ethical) way by certain people. And you inspired me to further contribute to this discussion on how you can be more charismatic (in a positive way 👍).

I mentioned 4 focus areas earlier on. I think we all have a pretty good grasp of the first 3: what it means to be positive (confident, optimistic), how to (really) listen to somebody else, and how to give compliments (being genuine, nice and caring) to other people. The challenge with these 3 is predominantly in actually DOING them.

The appropriate use of body language is perhaps less obvious. In simple terms, your body language should confirm and support the 3 other things. Put differently, you need to assume body language that makes you appear positive, listening and likable. Body language is normally used unconsciously and depends somewhat on the culture you're in. But you can consciously adjust and improve your body language if you set yourself to it.
A good idea is to start by asking a friend to record a video from you, so you can see how you appear to others in a typical meeting or conversation and what are your main points for improvement.

Next, consider these 10 tips I collected on using body language to be more charismatic:
  1. Smile frequently (when it is appropriate considering the subject and circumstances).
  2. Stand up straight. Gaze forward, straight ahead. Keep your chin just a little bit up.
  3. Have your shoulders in a neutral position. Avoid slumped shoulders when you walk or stand.
  4. Make eye contact to show that you're confident and engaged in the conversation.
  5. Lean somewhat toward the other person(s).
  6. Mirror and match the other person's body language (if positive).
  7. Use an open arms and legs position. Crossing your arms or legs is perceived as defensive and closes you off to other persons.
  8. Use appropriate gestures to draw attention and make you appear animated.
  9. Claim adequate personal space around you. This makes you more visible and appear more confident.
  10. Wear clothes that make you feel confident and confirm the image you want others to see.
Focus on one thing at the time and practice a lot. Any builds?

How to Become More Charismatic?
Graham Williams, Management Consultant, South Africa, Premium Member
Hi Wilma. I'm NOT saying that good body language, listening, being positive, giving a compliment are inherently undesirable.
Rather that their application in order to build charisma for self interest is not a view that I would support.

Complimenting is the Result of Observation
Norman Dragt, Netherlands, Member
As I pointed out, being charismatic is a result of acting charismatic over a longer period of time. As complimenting others is one part of being charismatic, the biggest problem with it, is its implementation. Or as one could say: When and why do you give someone a compliment?
As I wrote in the title complimenting is a result of observation, however I forgot to state two other elements. The first is: What are you trying to observe? And: When do you give the compliment? So you have to set a goal for your observation, to be able to compliment the person. But setting your goal creates another question, as a compliment can also be used as an instrument of talent development. Or it can be used as an instrument of reward. So depending on how you want to use the compliment the goal of the observation can change. You use your observations and compliments to create a fixed or a growth mindset. This also prevents you from giving compliments to manipulate the other person for personal gains.

Tips to Become More Charismatic
Jaap de Jonge, Editor, Netherlands
Thanks for the list of 4 things one needs to put into practice in order to appear and become more charismatic. I think if these things are not inborn for you, and you didn't develop them due to circumstances in your infancy, childhood, juvenility, and adolescence, you will need at least 4 things of a different kind to acquire them:
  1. SELF-KNOWLEDGE: "Know thyself" in order to understand your current "profile" and your motives to change.
  2. AWARENESS of the 4 key things (I-IV) mentioned above by Ms. van Velde.
  3. CONSCIOUS EFFORT: If you don't make a conscious, deliberate choice to change and work on these things, you will not succeed.
  4. DETERMINATION to sustain your implementation efforts for a very long time (years) as pointed out eloquently by Mr. Dragt.
All in all, I think you can improve your charisma to some extent, but to become a truly charismatic person / leader - if you were neither born nor grew up like that - is very difficult. Having a coach could be a good idea.

Ways of Becoming more Charismatic
Norman Dragt, Netherlands, Member
@Jaap de Jonge: I totally agree with Jaap de Jonge. If you did not have the luck to practice being charismatic in the period that others expect you to make mistakes and learn from them, and you have a genetic structure that makes it possible to be positive and obtain support from others, like your parents, it will take a conscious effort to become charismatic.
Taking a coach might be an expensive method, as the process to become charismatic might take considerable time. It might be cheaper to develop your charisma in cooperation with a colleague. For example both could practice observation and complimenting at the same time. In any case, it will take a lot of concentrated and conscious effort to achieve charisma.

How to Become More Charistmatic
Lawrence Gqesha, Analyst, South Africa, Member
As human beings we believe that our theories are perfect and should be implemented as they are which is not the case. We need to mix different theories and different practices to obtain better results as we deal with complex situations.
In my case my boss is a charismatic person who wants all the world to see him as the best achiever. I totally agree with many of the other authors that implementation is the key. The purpose of becoming more charismatic is in many cases self servicing and for personal gains, just using other persons as tools to achieve your self-thought charisma.

How to Become More Charismatic?
Graham Williams, Management Consultant, South Africa, Premium Member
A final thought from me. To have charisma is one thing. What you do with it is another. So Hitler, Zuma, ML King, Trump all display charisma. So what? As the world enters into a time of radical adaption, belatedly facing challenges that now threaten on many levels, maybe leaders who are not necessarily charismatic but have modesty, authenticity, compassion and caring, motives that go beyond self-interest are the better bet...

How to Become More Charismatic
souleymane gaye, Director, Senegal, Member
A charismatic person is always someone having an effect on others with singularity in mobilizing attention and commitment in different fields. For that, the sustainable demonstration of certain personal qualities is necessary.
- Self-confidence that promotes openness to others as the trust I have in me allows to establish contact with others in a positive dynamic capable of transforming the course of the things;
- Courage, necessary for leading to face to all types of adversity;
- Patience that opens all closed doors by not accepting to yield to the pressure of immediacy.
Great achievements are generally the result of long term efforts.

Why Would You Want to Become 'More Charismatic'?
Warren Miller, CPA, CFA, United States, Member
In the late 1980s, the pre-eminent management scholar Peter Drucker said this:
"Charismatic leadership is non-leadership because the charisma of the leader blinds followers to the absence of substance in the leader's message... Until it's too late."
Be careful what you ask for. You might get it!

The Secret of Charisma is in your Intent and Objective
Sridhar Gopal, Management Consultant, India, Member
Dictionary for charisma said:
a) Compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others.
b) A divinely conferred power or talent.
It is the second one I was drawn into to second one. When you let your divine talent shine it is obvious you become charismatic.
On another note long time back I worked for a software company.The dir to whom I reported – a Phd in Math - was rather "shabby" in appearance, hardly groomed and it didn’t matter if it was a Monday or a Friday, even when clients were on site! He always drew large crowds during his talks and often people used to give him a standing ovation at the end of his address. And his presence in some sense was captivating.
In one of my meeting with him I asked about the secret behind his charisma, he replied: "the only objective I have is to push this company among the top 25 in the country". With that he left me to ponder further.
I concluded "charisma" is a condition born out of a good intent.

The Secret is in your Intent and Objective
Graham Williams, Management Consultant, South Africa, Premium Member
Yes. It depends on the person. So both Warren and Sridhar may be right. Just as a drone can be used to disperse either bullets or seeds...

Ability of Charismatic People to Connect with People
James Antwi, HR Consultant, Swaziland, Member
I think charisma is your ability to connect well with people. Many people see charismatic leaders as those they can easily connect with, feel comfortable with and safe in their presence.

The Magic Character
Maurice Hogarth, Consultant, United Kingdom, Premium Member
Charismatic - CHARacter-IS-MAgIC.
Unfortunately there are many people who may be described as charismatic yet appear to have none of the attributes referenced in these responses. I would point to the Jeremy Hunt / Boris Johnson personalities. One of them displays many of the attributes noted; another does not, yet it is the charismatic nature of this one that draws many followers. This seems a proof of evidence of Warren Miller's quotation (above) from Peter Drucker.
As Sridar and Jaap indicate, charisma may be more a factor of nature rather than nurture/trained-learning. Learning and developing the various attributes noted in these responses may make you a 'better' communicator, be 'better' in a relationship, etc. However I suggest that it WILL NOT necessarily make you charismatic. Yet, it may be that a charismatic persona is self-nurtured as a form of (jokester-charmer) protection against being bullied or being the odd-one-out; as the biographies of some seem to indicate.

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