Charisma can help you become a more effective leader, one that people trust and turn to, that can galvanize, inspire and influence others. Think you’re just not that kind of leader? Just not that kind of person? On Psychology Today, Ronald Riggio writes that research tells a different story: innate characteristics only contribute one-third to effective leadership. Two-thirds of effective leadership depends upon acquired skills.
What makes a leader charismatic, says Riggio, is skilled communication and emotional intelligence. Eloquence is just part of the picture, articulating a compelling vision and connecting with others emotionally contributes to charisma. When you connect with others on an emotional level, you can influence them and gain their trust.
Performance coach Achim Nowak tells Gwen Moran of Entrepreneur.com that performance practice can help you to build your charisma muscle. You can learn to become appealing and influential. As an executive coach, I can help you to discover your own brand of charisma and to develop effective leadership skills. I help my clients to develop emotional intelligence, an awareness about both themselves and others that they can then utilize in their work relationships and communications.
What are some of the things you can begin to practice?
Be prepared in terms of what you want to say but consider what will most likely resonate with your audience too. This takes empathy, putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.
Loosen up. Try to act the way you do with your friends and family. Being professional doesn’t mean you always have to be serious. It’s the human side of you that others will connect with, not the expert.
You can also learn to pay attention to your body language. Are you stiff or relaxed? Insecure-looking or confident? Staying aware can help you practice putting your shoulders back and relaxing your posture.
Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Authenticity matters much. Don’t try to be overly outgoing if you’re introverted; don’t force yourself to make jokes if that’s not your style.
Nick Tasler of Businessweek reports that a study conducted by Harvard , University of North Carolina and Wharton School researchers found that introverted leaders often make better leaders if their employees are extroverted. But, if you need to get a bunch of introverts inspired, it’s best to add charisma to your game.
One of the best tools a charismatic leaders uses is story-telling. Stories resonate emotionally in people and help to encode memory and learning. A good story contains a main character, an unhappy beginning, a series of actions and a happy ending. To create a good story, make sure the main character is one that your audience cares about, not just who you care about. Make sure your message is one that they can connect with and not just the message you’re enamored of and want to force on them.
Vivian Giang of Business Insider also offers tips on becoming more charismatic. To make others feel important and fascinating: lower the intonation of your voice at sentence ends, nod less frequently and emphatically, and take a long pause before you speak. This will help others believe that you’re really listening to them. You should do your best to really listen to others because when your mind wanders: it shows. You’ll also act differently if you’re simply waiting for them to finish and you’re rehearsing what you’re going to say. You can also show people that you’re listening by asking them pointed questions about what they’re saying.
Be open and inviting to others by accommodating their height, standing or sitting. Sit by someone’s side or at a 90 degree angle to them rather than sitting or standing directly across from them (an oppositional or adversarial position.) Work on your handshake so that its firm but not aggressive and give an authentic smile. If you find this difficult, try thinking of something pleasant so that your smile is sincere. Charming people are inviting and warm.
Be nice to yourself and don’t judge your performance too harshly. Self-doubt won’t inspire the trust of others. Don’t compare yourself to others: celebrate your own style. I can help you discover what type of charisma you innately have: focused–in which you make others feel that they’re the only person there with you; visionary–in which you seek to inspire others; kind–in which people feel your genuine warmth even as they recognize your authority; and authoritative–in which your power is clearly evident in your appearance, body language and title. Then I can help you develop other types of charismatic skills so you can flex your style according to the demands of the situation.
Whatever your leadership style is, you can learn to be more charismatic. Make other people feel special and help them recognize your specialness. Think about how you can increase your appeal to others in an emotional way. Craft some stories to have on hand ahead of time. Consider taking a training program in terms of emotional intelligence so that you can recognize, manage and utilize emotions, both those of yourself and others.