Is charisma in born or learned?

Eight keys to unlocking your personal charisma
Written by Eric Feng Monday, 03September 2012 00:00

HAVE you ever admired successful people who seem to have it all? They secure the best jobs, build the most profitable businesses, earn the biggest pay cheques and date the most attractive people. However, here’s the irony — many of them may not be smarter, more educated or better looking than you! Decades of psychological studies have shown that what truly sets them apart is their personal charisma.

But what exactly is charisma? The answer lies in its root word “charis”, which means gifts or favour. Simply put, a charismatic person finds favour with people easily. Since 2006, I have interviewed top executives and sales professionals in key industries such as finance, real-estate, technology and healthcare. From the hundreds of hours spent with them, I discovered eight keys that they use to unlock their charisma.

Connect Charismatic people create emotional connections with others naturally. They put others at ease with their sincerity and attract people with their confidence. They are adept at making small talk and always leave the person feeling like a star after the conversation. But what truly brings them closer to others is their ability to establish common ground quickly.

Have presence Heads turn when a charismatic person enters the room. People listen when they talk. Even their silence carries weight. They have such an effect on others because they stand in their own power. They do not undermine others, but neither do they let others undermine them. Instead, they see people — regardless of wealth and power — as equals.

Awareness Charismatic individuals are keenly aware of their strengths that draw people to them, as well as barriers that jeopardise their relationships with others. They are in full control of their psychological state of mind, allowing them to be at their best. They are also sensitive to people’s thoughts and intentions, allowing them to manoeuvre any situation to their advantage.

Relationship-focused In the minds of charismatic people is this mental image — people walking around with an invisible sign hanging from their neck, saying “Make me feel important!” They are slow to criticise yet, quick to compliment. They see the best in people and are genuinely interested in their well-being. Perhaps that is why whenever they enter a room, the place seems to brighten up.

Influence Charismatic people are natural influencers. They possess an empathetic ability that helps them to see from the perspectives of others, hence making others particularly receptive to them. They have a flair for words and make persuasive pitches that tug at the heartstrings of their listeners. But what makes them truly exceptional is their proficiency in using compelling stories, vivid pictures and memorable analogies to get their points across.

Standing out You can always single out charismatic individuals in a crowd because they are always doing the unexpected. They dare to be different and are unafraid to stand out. They differentiate themselves by the way they dress, act and talk. Charismatic people also understand that the easiest way to stand out is to simply be the best at what they do. As a result, they apply relentless dedication and determination, and sometimes even sacrifice, to remain at the top of their game.

Modelling Charismatic people know that they are the average of the five people that they hang out with. Hence, they constantly seek out mentors, or successful people who have walked a similar path. Whenever they meet someone new, they ask themselves, “What can I learn from this person?” Because of their intense hunger to learn and improve, they enjoy a lot more success than others.

The master key — altruism Unlike the majority that has the “take-take-take” attitude, charismatic people possess a “give-give-give” attitude, constantly adding value to the people they interact with. To them, the pie is infinitely large and more than enough for everyone. They firmly believe that “you can get all you want in life if you first help others get what they want in life”. Their innate generosity draws people to them, like moth to flame and bees to honey.

Conclusion With the above eight keys, charisma has now become an acquirable quality and you will be happy to know that we have many testimonials proving so. If you want to enjoy the positive results of being charismatic, start applying the keys above and get ready to enjoy all the unfair advantages over your colleagues and competitors. — The Edge Singapore

Eric Feng is a leading authority on the topic of charisma and has helped close to 5,000 executives and sales professionals in Asia unlock their charisma. This story appeared in The Edge Singapore on Aug 6, 2012

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