The Power of Charisma

Why is charisma important in business? Is it possible to become more charismatic? Join me as I discuss the power of business charisma.

Understanding the Power of Charisma

I was thrilled to discover that apparently we can learn to be charismatic. It’s not just parceled out at birth – it is learned behavior. What great news!

Charisma is the proverbial “magnetic personality” that draws people to us. An article in the July 2012 Economist stated: “The charismatic enjoy charmed lives of premature promotions, multiple suitors and fast friends, whereas everyone else keeps their head down and hopes for the best.” I love that description.

Why is Charisma Important for Business?

Charisma can be useful in growing our businesses or finding a job. So how do we learn to be more charismatic?

Read Olivia Fox Cabane’s book, The Charisma Myth. It cites some compelling research on the subject and includes exercises to help us increase our charisma.

The main components of charisma, she says, are presencepower, and warmth. That makes sense to me. Think about your own experience and reactions to people. If you think a person has these three traits, I’ll bet you’d characterize him/her as charismatic (or some similar word).

I tried to come up with examples of charismatic people. This is an unlikely trio, but I thought of Bill Clinton, Mother Theresa and Tim Tebow. I don’t even follow football, but I can’t help notice the many fawning articles about Tebow over the past year. Sports writers speak in awe of his presence, power and warmth.

How to Get Charisma: Can People Learn to Become More Charismatic?

Not everyone has charisma, but some well-known people have learned it to great advantage, says Ms Cabane. In the Economist article cited above, she talks about  Steve Jobs as someone who started off incredibly awkward, bashful, nervous and nerdy. And then he made the conscious decision to learn charisma… to create the Steve Jobs persona. In my opinion, Steve Jobs definitely had presence and he exuded power because of his many accomplishments and his creativity, but I would not call him warm. (I’ll have to ask Olivia about that).

So think about your own personality. Do you have charisma? Would you like to develop it? Would it make a difference in your job success or in your personal life? Ms Cabane believes you can increase your charisma if you choose to – and gives you some exercises to consider. I think it’s worth looking into. I’d like to hear your thoughts.


Posted in Business Presentation Skills
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