Ah, that elusive and enigmatic quality. Historically charisma is all too easy to see but all too difficult to define. We can all name celebrities, heroes or even villains who have charisma. To define charisma with its many meanings has proven difficult.
Australia’s Seven Network invited me onto their breakfast show to answer this question for their audience. The definition of charisma can simply be summed up as the ability to evoke emotions in others. If we can achieve this whilst making people feel safe and comfortable, then we can regard ourselves as charismatic. Obviously, the more types of emotions that you elicit, the better!
Whilst it is true that some people are naturals, you don’t have to be born with a silver tongue or hypnotic eyes to achieve charisma.
Well yes, now we know how to define charisma we can break it down and actually learn charisma.
When we ask ‘can charisma be learned?’ we need to focus on making people feel emotions. As children, we interact through emotions but as we grow into adults, we begin engaging logically and lose the ability to relate on an emotional level. In other words, we are taught how to be uncharismatic!
So learning charisma is about re-educating ourselves or reversing years of social brainwashing to act within social norms.
As charisma emanates from emotional connections it makes sense to practice by actively engaging in emotions. It’s this practice that proves that charisma can be learned.
So choose an emotion that makes you happy. For example, you might feed off evoking joy or laughter in others. When you feel good about what you’re doing, you will naturally be drawn to that behaviour and repeat it. Then it will be easier for charisma to project through you.
If you like making people laugh, your behaviour will be calibrated to be more light-hearted. If you like making people happy, you will pick up on cues to make them happy. If you want to make someone smile, you will become more entertaining.
Eventually, behaviour is communicated to others and they will react accordingly.
In fact, what if you’re a shy, socially-awkward anti-charismatic? Not to worry. The building blocks of charisma can be isolated and learned too.
Firstly, give people your full attention. You can achieve this by keeping eye contact and smiling until they smile back. Hold their gaze as if you weren’t strangers.
Your voice is one of the biggest tools to achieving charisma. It can be used to express tonality and an abundance of emotion. As actors learn in their craft, there are tons of ways to deliver one line. Depending on how you use your voice a simple ‘Hello’ can sound sexy, sarcastic, scared, happy or sad.
We can ask questions or react to people in the same way. By using a full range of vocal tones and expressions, conversations are given a new dimension. It’s this sort of richness that is said to be charismatic.
There you have it. We can now properly define charisma and with this working definition of charisma, we know that charisma can be learned (I bet you knew that already)!
Even the ‘Average Joe’ can quickly light up a room if equipped with the proper tools of charisma. Practice makes you charismatic. Even if the definition of charisma is still dynamic, you can give off charismatic vibes with relative ease: actively talk to people and pay them sincere compliments with the pointers above and in no time you’ll be strengthening your charisma skills. Of course, another way to dramatically improve your skills is to dig deeper into The Vault! In the next episode, you’re going to learn how the world’s leading hypnotist is able to gain rapport with others in a matter of seconds…and how you can too. Don’t miss it!