We notice, we listen to, we respect and we follow those people with higher levels of charisma. Charisma is not an aura that only special people possess. Charisma is a force of human personality which can be understood and developed.
Becoming charismatic – like becoming anything else you want to be – requires knowledge, self awareness and effort. Charisma enables us to influence and inspire others, which from time to time we all need to do – even the introverts among us.
Fox Cabane in her bestselling new book, The Charisma Myth, explains that charismatic behavior can actually be broken down into three essential elements: (1) presence, (2) power, and (3) warmth. This might explain why when you first meet a charismatic person, you consciously or unconsciously get the impression that they possess a lot of power. You also tend to believe they like you, and care about you.
Presence – The cornerstone of presence, is being present in your interactions. It’s about being consciously alert and engaged in conversations, both through the words you choose, and through active listening.
Power and Warmth – Research has shown that power and warmth are the two dimensions we care about most in assessing others’ charisma. Different from presence – power and warmth are intrinsically linked to each other. In a way, they’re like two sides of the same coin and they need to work in balance.
Being seen as powerful means being perceived as able to affect our will on others. When we meet someone new, we are trained to look for clues of that person’s power in her appearance, in others’ reaction to this person, and, most of all, in the person’s body language.
Warmth, on the other hand, is goodwill toward others. A person’s exhibited tells us whether or not they’ll use whatever power they have in our favor or not. Being seen as warm means being seen as benevolent, caring, or willing to make sacrifices for others best interest. Warmth is assessed almost entirely through body language and behavior.
Imagine how your life would be different if every time you entered a room, people took notice of you; paid close attention to what you had to say; and secretly hoped to become your friend.
Your assignment this week: Notice those around you that are charismatic and look to emulate how they use presence, power and warmth to increase their influence and effectiveness.