What is charisma?

Is it natural? Is it learned? Do you have control over whether you are charismatic? How do you enhance your charisma?

As a Personal Brand Expert, one of the traits I look for to help my clients attract influencers and clients is charisma. If they haven’t tapped into their natural charisma, we work on creating authentic expressions by defining what is charismatic about their brand.

Dictionary.com says it is “a compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others.”

The ability to attract people to you and inspire them is a powerful trait if you want to become more successful. Whether you need to motivate your staff, attract investors, develop more meaningful relationships, or move forward in your career, charisma is vital. The more charismatic you are, the more compelled people are to know you and connect with you.

If you are in a leadership role, Seth Godin believes that charisma is the byproduct leading, not the starting point.

Being a leader gives you charisma. If you look and study the leaders who have succeeded, that’s where charisma comes from, from the leading. Seth Godin

Charisma isn’t elusive; you can train yourself to be charismatic. But why do you need to build your charisma? What can charisma do for you that old-fashioned hard work can’t?

Your personal brand is greatly influenced by your charisma; your natural ability to attract others to you and connect with them. The ability to refine and enhance your charisma will help you build an even stronger personal brand.

“Charisma is a set of behaviors that each of us can integrate into our personality. We may already embody some of its qualities, such as presence, warmth or gravitas. Tweaks to body language, the way you speak or how you listen, if practiced regularly, can soon become habitual and greatly improve your perceived charisma.” The Guardian

As you go through the following traits, consider which of these 10 traits you have and which of them you need to practice.

10 Traits of Charismatic People

  1. They have a clear vision.

Charismatic people know who they are and what they want out of life. They have honed their vision and can clearly communicate that. Being charismatic is more than just being charming. The ability to create a vision and inspire others to be a part of that vision is often a key trait of the charismatic.

What is your vision? Are you clear about what is important to you? If you needed to share your vision with others could you do so in such a way to get them on board with your vision?

  1. They are passionate and enthusiastic.

Charismatic people are often optimists. They can see the good in any situation, and that helps them live more passionately and enthusiastically. When you invest yourself in something, you love and believe in that passion and enthusiasm shows. People want to be connected to and follow people who are invested in something greater than themselves.

Are you optimistic? Are you passionate and enthusiastic? How do you express your passions? What passions would others easily identify in you?

  1. They are present and in the moment.

When you think of charismatic people, have you ever noticed how present they are? Being able to make a connection and focus on the moment is a learned skill that most people could spend more time mastering.

Are you distracted by the smallest things or can you hold your attention when you are with others so that they feel you are invested in them?

Truly charismatic people can stay present with others and make them feel like they are important in spite of other distractions that are vying for attention- even their phones!

  1. They are good listeners.

When someone is talking are you running dialogue in your head of what you want to say next or are you truly listening? Most people listen only long enough to find a bit of context in the conversation to start talking about themselves. Charismatic people listen so that they can make deeper connections. They make people feel like they are being heard and truly matter. The ability to listen so that you can connect is a powerful skill.

In your next conversation, take notice of how well you are listening. Check yourself to see if you are just waiting to respond or if you are absorbing what is being said so you can gain a deeper understanding, offer support, or respond in a more engaged manner.

  1. They are willing to be transparent.

Being transparent means that you are open, honest and credible. Transparency is the foundation of trust. Leaders, influencers, and entrepreneurs who know how to harness transparency can build trust quickly.

“The keys to brand success are self-definition, transparency, authenticity, and accountability.“ Simon Mainwaring

Charismatic people are often seen as more authentic because they can make connections quickly. Authenticity and transparency help to accelerate understanding which can lead to greater success.

  1. They laugh at themselves.

People who find joy in their imperfections give others permission to do the same. Those who have the ability to humorously react to their frailties make them real and relatable, and that builds the know, like, trust factor!

Let’s face it…we need more people who can be fully present, flaws and all and not worry about it. That, in itself, is inspiring…

  1. They communicate from a place of joy.

You may not even know what attracts you to charismatic people. Is it the way they speak or dress or their message? Often, it is how they express their zest for life, their JOY. Charismatic people tend to have a ‘spark of life’ that is not often seen in those who are not perceived as charismatic.

  1. They are constantly growing and learning.

Charismatic people are dynamic. They are constantly seeking to improve themselves through a lifelong practice of personal development and a consistent hunger for more education and deeper knowledge. They always seem to be in the know. Charismatic people are not stagnant. They are energetic, knowledgeable, and alive and that attracts others to them.

  1. Their nonverbal skills are powerful.

When you enter a room, how do people perceive you? Before you open your mouth to speak, those around you have formed an opinion of you. That opinion comes from all of the nonverbal cues you are sending. Nonverbal cues come from your body language, facial expressions, and overall energy.

Charismatic people are very body conscious and use that skill to connect to others before they even get a chance to have a conversation.

A few powerful nonverbal skills to increase your charisma are:

  • Your smile – smile genuinely when you walk into a room
  • Your handshake – make eye contact, have a firm grip – not weak, not crippling
  • Your attention to others when they are talking – leave your phone alone, make eye contact, listen and respond warmly
  • Your body position in conversation – face the person you are in conversation with, don’t look around at others, don’t look through them as if you are looking for someone or something else
  1. They dress to impress.

Charismatic people often have a signature style. They take pride in their appearance, and they understand that how they show up, right down to their shoes, matters. Charismatic people are connectors, and their appearance is one of the tools they use to make connections. They aren’t overdressed or underdressed, they know how to make an impact with their personal style, and that appeals to the people they want to engage with.

How would you rate your charisma? Of these 10 traits, which do you feel are natural and which do you need to actively develop?

Your personal brand is, in many ways, the accumulation of all of these traits, expressed through your visual elements, how you speak and how you carry yourself.

Your personal brand is a key marketing asset and understanding what makes you charismatic will help you make connections easily.

Since charisma can be learned, what are the steps you are going to take to become more charismatic?