Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Steve Jobs, and Barack Obama have this one quality in common. Besides being able to lead a large corporation or the United States of America, each of these leaders exhibit this one quality.

It is a quality some people believe they are born with while most others wish they had it. The ‘it’ is called charisma. Consultant and author Konstantin Tskhay defines it better than most when he says there are two elements that consist of charisma. “One relates to influence, or the ability to guide others, and the other to affability, or making other people feel comfortable and at ease.” In more plain spoken terms, charisma is the ability of a person who walks into a room to ‘own it’.

According to many experts, however, people are not born with it, they develop it. Author and lecturer Olivia Fox Cabane has written a book entitled The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism. She goes on to say that charisma determines whether people will “like you, trust you, and want to be led by you.” Cabane has developed three main parts that make up a charismatic person. They are presence, power, and warmth.

Presence – Cabane states it quite well, “Being present is about being fully in the moment……someone who is giving all of their focus and attention to the here and now.” As opposed to so many people this day and age who are so easily distracted.

Do not be disruptive, but seek clarifications as part of your conversation.

Power- “When others perceive you as someone who is powerful, it means that they think that you can make things happen”, says Cabane. Act confident, stand erect, and try to appear knowledgeable.

Warmth- Is when you make people feel as though you care about them. This is also called sincerity and being genuine. As Cabane states “You transmit warmth to others when you make them feel like you genuinely like them.” Remember, people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

For those who want to become more charismatic, there is another expert in the field of personalities, Professor John Antonakis of the University of Lausanne. He has determined there are many “charisma tactics” or ways to help develop a charismatic personality. Here are just some of his tips and techniques for becoming more charismatic:

Imagery- What you say and how you say it. Using imagery, according to Antonakis “makes your message more vivid and interesting which makes it more effective.”

  • Tell Stories- Personal stories and examples will help listeners be able to relate to you.
  • Use Contrasts- Asking the question ‘Do you want (a negative) or do you want (a positive).
  • Ask Rhetorical Questions- In order to get someone else to respond and engage you in conversation.
  • Use Three Part Lists- In communication circles, three is the “magic number”. Simply put, people will be able to remember lists that have three items. For example “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
  • Use Expressions of Moral Conviction- Talk about or convey topics that will reveal the level of your character.
  • Reflect Your Listener’s Sentiments- Be able to identify or empathize with your audience.
  • Set High Goals- Antonakis cites “Gandhi, an incredibly charismatic leader, used this tactic. Gandhi set the almost impossible goal of liberating India from British rule…..”
  • Convey Confidence that High Goals Can be Achieved- Be certain to communicate the goal can be achieved.
  • Use Nonverbal Tactics- Antonakis suggests using gestures, facial expressions and various inflections of your voice.
  • Remember People’s Names- Calling someone by name gives them a sense of importance and respect.
  • Use Humor- Tell jokes and get people to laugh.
  • Be Energetic- In not only what is said, but how you say it.
  • Make Yourself More Attractive- Be well groomed, dress appropriately, eat well and exercise to make yourself more attractive.
  • Master Emotional Control- Stay calm during a time of crisis.
  • Appeal To the Self-Interest of Others- Make others feel they are important.
  • Be Positive- Do not complain or criticize. Be an encourager with a positive attitude.

Whether you do or don’t have charisma, developing it may not help your business grow, but in the overall scheme of things, it certainly couldn’t hurt. If nothing else, there are many ways to further expand your personality, which can certainly lead to the development and growth of your company. Developing charisma is just one of them.

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