Have you ever worked with someone who just seems to ooze charisma? They walk into a room and everyone pays attention. They make a point in a meeting, and people are hanging on their every word, quick to jump onboard any new ideas they have.
By dictionary definition, charisma is; ‘compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others’. Essentially, charisma is that quality that enables you to captivate, motivate and influence others.
Several large-scale studies have shown that charisma is an invaluable asset at work, regardless of role or organisation. Yet many people believe that charisma is this mysterious, innate quality, that you’re born with. But here’s the good news – charisma is not innate, in fact it’s a learnable set of skills.
So, master these skills and you can become more influential, inspirational and impactful.
- Tell stories; charismatic speakers don’t simply talk in facts and figures. They help others to connect, understand and engage with them and their message. Next time you are communicating an important message, use metaphors, anecdotes and emotive language.
- Ask questions; rhetorical questions may seem irrelevant in the workplace, but leaders with charisma use them to encourage engagement. The questions might have an answer that is obvious, or they might provoke deeper thought, with the answer coming later. The key thing is that they engage the audience in the conversation.
- Show passion; you can win people over with passion and conviction. Practice speaking animatedly, vary the volume of your speech and make sure that real emotion comes through in your voice. Make eye contact when speaking and ensure that people can see what you are feeling on your face. And don’t forget to gesture – a simple hand movement to punctuate a point can keep people engaged.
- Listen; even if you disagree with what others are saying, by expressing the sentiments of the group, you demonstrate that you are paying attention and understand what’s important to them.
You might feel that these skills don’t come naturally to you, but like any new skill, the key to mastery is preparation and practice. Start by planning ahead of important meetings, spending time preparing for presentations and reflecting on what’s working well and what you need to do differently next time.