“Charisma is a sparkle in people that money can’t buy. It’s an invisible energy with visible effects.” — Marianne Williamson
Is charisma something you are born with or something you can learn?
I am asked this question by leaders and salespeople quite often.
Charisma is a combination of confidence and people skills and a very special and overlooked ingredient.
I have a friend named Kenton Worthington who is a successful entrepreneur and the prototype for charisma. He’s positive, confident and great with people.
However beyond all those fine qualities, he is genuinely focused on other people. That, I’ve decided, is what sets him apart. It’s what gives him that elusive quality of charisma. When you have a conversation with Kenton it’s about you, not about him. He asks questions. He shows real excitement over your successes and concern over your challenges. He finds ways to genuinely compliment whomever he’s talking to and engages in a way that makes the other person feel better about themselves. So to answer my wife’s question, “What is the secret of charisma?” It’s a mix of ingredients – optimism, energy, confidence – but more than anything else, it’s based on outward rather than inward thinking. That’s Kenton’s secret — and, I’m convinced, the secret of other charismatic people — and it’s really no secret at all.
The Secret Of Charisma: Outward Thinking
Here are a few thoughts from others regarding charisma:
It was civil rights activist Cornel West who said, “Humility means two things. One, a capacity for self-criticism … The second feature is allowing others to shine, affirming others, empowering and enabling others. Those who lack humility are dogmatic and egotistical. That masks a deep sense of insecurity. They feel the success of others is at the expense of their own fame and glory.”
“If you would win a man to your cause, said Abraham Lincoln, “first convince him that you are his sincere friend.”
“Some singers want the audience to love them. I love the audience,” said the wildly popular tenor Luciano Pavarotti.
Charisma is the ability to make people feel better about them for having been with you. It’s being more outwardly focused on others, their needs and their interests, rather than focusing on yourself.
Questions To Ask Yourself About Charisma
Ask yourself these questions: How do I make people feel after they have met me? Do they feel inspired and listened to? How are you focusing your attention (inward or outward)? Does their body language portray them as receptive? Are you really listening to what the other person is saying rather than talking about yourself? The answers to these questions are qualities of a partner leader and partnership is the new leadership. Whether the relationship is within your own company or with your clients and customers, we all need to be a little more like Kenton – a little more charismatic.