5 Steps to Instantly Increase Your CharismaJan 07, 2023
You know celebrities like Beyonce, Harry Styles, and Zendaya have charisma.
But how can you get more of it?
People who are charismatic are seen as more powerful, have more opportunities open up to them, and have more influence.
They naturally increase engagement and loyalty in their teams, customers, clients, and audiences.
They are considered more “likable” and can get faster results.
Charismatic people are more likely to be promoted and excel faster in their careers.
So if you are in a position of leadership (or if you want to move into a higher level of leadership) — you need charisma ASAP.
Read on to discover how you can get your charisma to go through the freaking roof.
In this article 👇
1. What is charisma?
2. Can it be taught?
3. The 5 steps to get more charisma right now.
Most people think you have to be born with charisma.
You either have it or you don’t.
But research conducted by Anotonakis, Fenley, and Leichti clearly shows that charisma can be taught. When participants in their study learned how to be charismatic, they were perceived as more powerful and persuasive leaders.
But first let’s answer this important question…
What is charisma?
If you look up the definition of charisma, Merriam Webster doesn’t give us much to go on.
Ummm. Okay. So what does that actually mean?
Let’s break it down.
A charismatic leader is someone who inspires others, conveys a deep sense of passion and ignites motivation and action.
Leaders who are charismatic increase trust, are seen as a person who is competent, and can naturally influence others.
According to a recent survey of over 300,000 leaders by Garfinkle Executive Coaching (GEC), participants highlighted the ability to inspire and motivate others as one of the key qualities of leadership.
That is exactly what charisma boils down to: the charm, optimism, and enthusiasm that creates a feeling of connection and inspires others.
Here, you can see the qualities of charismatic leaders broken down, according to GEC’s research:
Charismatic leaders are:
And charismatic leaders AVOID being:
With that in mind, how charismatic are you? Is charisma something you need to work on?
If so, keep reading for 5 easy steps to increase your charisma right now.
Can charisma be taught?
And there’s a research study to prove it.
In 2011, John Antonakis and his team took a group of middle managers and created a study to determine if training in charisma would 1) change the perceptions of these managers, and 2) measure if charisma training could predict leader outcomes.
Two different groups of managers were taught charisma skills through training, practice, and example, and learned both verbal and non-verbal markers of charisma.
When rated on competence, likeability, trust, and influence, the scores of the participants improved dramatically with training.
The results of the study were clear. Charisma can be taught.
Charisma can be learned.
How to increase your charisma instantly:
So how can you instantly increase your charisma?
Here are 5 easy things you can do right now to be seen as a competent leader who can influence and inspire with your charisma.
Step 1 - Authentically Connect with People
One of the main components of charisma is trust and you can’t build trust without connection.
As the world champion of public speaking, Craig Valentine says, “Focus on what you can give, not what you can get”.
One of the easiest ways to create a genuine connection when you speak to a person is to look them in the eyes. Not in a creepy, I’m-planning-to-stalk-you kind of way, but instead, in a way that lets you know you are solidly present with them, and you care about what they think and feel.
This goes beyond eye contact.
Instead of thinking “eye contact” from now on, think of this term that I coined: “eye connection”.
Make an “eye connection” with a person by looking deeply at them, while genuinely listening and being curious about what they have to say. Let them be the sole focus of your attention.
Try it out with a friend or family member until it feels comfortable and natural.
Ask for feedback. This is a skill of active listening that will do wonders for your career and your relationships both at work and outside of work.
You will find that anytime you practice this technique you will easily create a sense of bonding and trust, and increase your charisma.
Step 2 - Use Metaphors and Stories
The charismatic leader has the ability to influence and inspire with words, and one of the most powerful ways to do that is to use more metaphors and stories to illustrate your topics when you speak.
There have been several studies which examine the rhetoric tools used by leaders who are seen as having charisma, and time and time again those studies show that metaphor is one of the main components used.
When you use metaphors and stories, you are painting a picture with your words, a picture that lives in the minds of your listeners, and helps them feel more engaged and connected to your message.
Cynthia G. Emrich, et al. studied the language of charismatic speakers, and reports, “These examples underscore our basic premise that leaders who use words that evoke pictures, sounds, smells, tastes, and other sensations tap more directly into followers' life experiences than do leaders who use words that appeal solely to followers' intellect.”
Start to think about how you can evoke imagery and appeal to your listeners senses and emotions by anchoring your ideas in metaphors and stories.
Step 3 - Use Your Hands When You Speak
In her TED talk “You are Contagious”, Vanessa van Edwards stands in front of the TED audience and demonstrates how you use your hands can make or break your charisma.
“When we first see someone, the first place we look is the hands. And this is left over from our caveman days. Because if we were approached by a stranger caveman, the first place we looked was the hands to see if they were carrying a rock or a spear. We wanted to know if we were safe, if they were friend or foe.”
She goes on to say that her research team at Science of People discovered that by 1) showing your hands and 2) gesturing with your hands you will automatically increase the trust of the people around you.
But, warning! The converse is also true. if you hide your hands—people will see you as suspicious. A hand hider is viewed as shady.
By the simple act of letting folks see your hands, you are automatically increasing people’s trust in you and your message.
How cool is that?
All you have to do is pull your hands out of your pockets, never place them behind your back, and gesture when you speak, and Boom!
Instant charisma and credibility.
Step 4 - Increase Your Emotional Intelligence
Joel Garfinkle says, “Charismatic people understand what moves their audience, and they speak to it. They are emotionally intelligent people who tune in to others’ feelings… They feel comfortable in their own skin, and that makes them come across as more dynamic and enjoyable to interact with.”
Charisma requires emotional intelligence, or EQ — the ability to be aware of how your emotions and behavior impact others, and the skills to manage those emotions and behavior in yourself and others.
In order to improve your emotional intelligence you need to spend time learning to look inside and get in tune with your own emotions.
A high EQ also means that you know how to actively listen, provide feedback that both inspires and help people grow, and you can take feedback and grow yourself.
Tuning up your EQ can go much more quickly with the guidance of a mentor or coach. If you are looking to increase your leadership abilities with a higher EQ and stronger charisma, reach out, and let’s talk about actions you can take now to advance faster.
Step 5 - Get passionate!
Charismatic people exude passion. They are connected to what they do and know how to tap into their love and excitement for whatever they are focusing on — whether it is the person in front of them, the project they are involved in, or the company they work for.
How can you find passion for what you do?
- Think about what you like about the project, person, or job you are doing (even if there are things you don’t like).
- Focus on what you do like, and take a few moments to really connect to the specifics of what lights you up about this project, person, or job.
- Think about how this project, person, or job can positively impact something greater than you – your family, your company, the world, a group of people, an increase in financial gain, a change in circumstances, etc.
- Try to keep your eye on the big picture, and let your excitement and passion shine through.
How to take your charisma and leadership presence to new heights.
Although the strategies outlined here will help you instantly increase your charisma, becoming a powerful leader does not happen overnight. There’s no magic pill to turn you into a Barack Obama or a Lady Gaga.
If you are serious about becoming a strong leader who exudes charisma everywhere you go, you need to be willing to exert some effort.
In the study previously mentioned, “Can Charisma be Taught?”, the participants invested time and energy into their learning.
The team reported that the participants spent between 30-90 hours to learn, develop and practice their skills. They had qualified support and consistent help along the way.
What does this mean for you?
While you can learn charisma and how to have a strong leadership presence, you will need support, guidance, and practice.
These tools will help you instantaneously increase your charisma, but be patient with yourself as you increase your leadership presence and your leadership confidence.
- Authentically Connect
- Use Metaphors and Stories
- Use Your Hands When You Speak
- Increase your Emotional Intelligence
- Exude Passion for Everything You Do
And if you want to speed up the process of becoming a powerful leader who can communicate, speak, and lead with charisma and influence, let’s connect.
Questions? Drop me a comment 🙂
As a strategic leadership coach and licensed psychotherapist, I offer customized programs to increase effective communication, powerful leadership presence, bold confidence, and influential speaking skills.
More than your typical leadership or communication training, we get underneath the obvious to deal with the real issues that can create cracks in the foundation of your leadership. Once that foundation is firm, we strategically build up the necessary skills that increase your impact and influence as a leader who gets results.
Antonakis et al., “Can Charisma Be Taught?” (Academy of Management Learning & Education, Sept. 2011)
Emrich, Brower, Feldman & Garland, Images in Words: Presidential Rhetoric, Charisma, and Greatness, Administrative Science Quarterly , Sep., 2001, Vol. 46, No. 3 (Sep., 2001), pp. 527-557
Garfinkle, Joel A. Executive Presence: Step Into Your Power, Convey Confidence, & Lead With Conviction (p. 224). JAG Press. Kindle Edition.
Holler & Beattie, “Gesture use in social interaction: how speakers' gestures can reflect listeners' thinking” (Conference: 2nd Conference of the International Society of Gesture Studies, January 2007)