July 25th, 2011
When creating an aura of charisma, you need bucket loads of presence.
Today, I’m going to reveal one big secret that gave President Clinton the ability to effortlessly draw people into his world; and salesman Jim Eastwood (from BBC One’s ’The Apprentice’) the means to persuade others… with an almost hypnotic power. Indeed, Eastwood’s Irish charm was so evident that the UK media dubbed him ‘Jedi’ Jim Eastwood!
- So what makes Bill Clinton and Jim Eastwood so capable of exuding presence?
Well, according to Michael Ellsberg, author of ‘The Power of Eye Contact’ it all has to do with the number of behaviours a person employs when communicating their message to others. Ellsberg uses the jargon term ‘modalities’, which refers to simple gestures that you can use when talking to someone.
For example, winking when you talk to someone adds extra weight to your message, as does touching them. However, combining both behaviours has a synergistic effect that makes you stand out. It seems this is a key factor on how to stage presence.
Here’s a helpful list of modalities:
- Smiling & eye contact
- Raising your voice
- Facing somebody
- Touching them
- Raising an eyebrow
Ellsberg noted (originally on Tim Ferris’ excellent blog) that Clinton employs a simultaneous mixture of ‘eye contact, smiling, touch and rasing his voice’ to communicate a powerful message to his listener.
Without a doubt, Clinton’s eye contact is so powerful that Chuck Close, his portrait artist, remarked: “When he looks directly into youreyes, he has an almost laser-beam-like-lock-on thing that he does. He makes you feel like he’s really connected to you”
With that in mind, I was curious to know what was the optimal number of modalities to use at any one time if you wanted to radiate the aura of Clinton, or the Irish charm of Jedi Jim Eastwood.
I took to the streets of London and carried out five experiments to demonstrate how to stage presence.
The goal was to break the ice, using an increasing number of modalities:
- Experiment 1: Using touch
- Experiment 2: Raising my voice whilst facing them
- Experiment 3: Smiling with eye contact; and raising my voice whilst facing them
- Experiment 4: Smiling with eye contact; touch, raising my voice & facing them
- Experiment 5: Using as many behaviours as possible (frankly, being a mad person!)
It seemed using that 3-4 modalities created the strongest presence, which wasn’t too overbearing for the listener. However, using less, or more, gestures came across awkward and uncalibrated in most cases. This results mirrors the behaviours of both Clinton and Eastwood and seems to be the strongest way of staging presence.
EXCLUSIVE BONUS VIDEO: JIM EASTWOOD!
I was suitably impressed and intrigued with Jim Eastwood’s communication skills that I made an exclusive video revealing the secret of Jim Eastwood’s Irish Charm! You can only see it on my Facebook Page (to find it, scroll down the wall to July 2011). Stay up to date with more exclusive videos like this one by clicking “LIKE” once you get there!