There is a certain template for writing an article on Charisma. I can see it in my head. I can write it in my sleep. Go ahead and search “how to develop charisma” and click on one. You’ll see some form of the following:
These articles fail on a several counts.
Let’s look at a few examples of advice on charisma from actual articles to illustrate further.
None of the advice above actually reveals the mechanism that generates charisma.
Okay, you are probably thinking, so what? Do you have something better to offer Mr. Smarty Pants? What’s your big revelation?
To better answer your question it is helpful to first ask a related question, which is, “why is charisma so elusive?”
Ask 10 people what charisma is and all of them will provide different answers that happen to be like the aforementioned articles on charisma. They will tell you about behaviors or traits of charismatic people or how someone with charisma makes them feel.
No one can seem to put their finger on the actual mechanism that makes a person charismatic.
One reason why charisma is so elusive is it lives in the energy between people — the person with the charisma and the people being affected by it. Also, while you have to do things to have charisma, it is less about the behaviors and more about the proper state of being. You don’t “do” charisma, you “are” charismatic — or you are not. Finally, charisma is all about emotions so this is why the advice about showing empathy actually gets the closest.
The most important thing is, if you can’t explain the mechanism behind how something works, you can’t get more of it. As I was talking to a coworker around this difficulty of defining charisma, I stumbled onto articulating a practical definition that actually explains how charisma works.
Charisma is the ability to sense, and ultimately deliver, exactly what is most needed from an emotional perspective in a given moment.JOE KWON
That’s it. That’s the entire game in a nutshell.
If you do this, you will be charismatic to anybody, anytime, anywhere. I call this the Charisma Principle of Harmony.
Let’s break this down.
Imagine you are at a party and it is boring with a capital “B.” Sensing and saying, “this party is dead,” will not make you charismatic. It just makes you as observant as everyone else in the room. However, the person who can bring what is needed to make the party exciting and wonderful will be perceived as charismatic.
Now change scenes to a hospital where a family is waiting to find out the results of a loved one’s operation. Bringing the party is not charismatic. What is? Imagine the uncle or aunt who has the ability to empathize, give compassion and comfort — this person will be perceived as charismatic.
Through these examples you can start to see why charisma is so elusive and hard to define. It is ever-changing based on the needs of others and not just a single skill that a person has. Truly charismatic people carry this state of being into whatever context they find themselves.
Charisma cannot be developed by merely memorizing and replicating a list of traits. Don’t waste your time with that approach.
The good news is once you unwrap what charisma actually is, you can start to get more of it.
If you are curious about all 8 Charisma Principles, I have just released my book, Unlock Your Charisma. The best part is you already have everything you need inside. You just need to unlock it.
Together, let’s explore how to develop more charisma — for real.