Obama, Clinton, Marilyn, Diana.... Long before Facebook, some people have always known how to ramp up their ‘like’ score. Jane Alexander explains the curious chemistry of charisma
Some people just ooze charisma. They’re the kind of people who are intrepid leaders and legendary lovers. Wherever they go, they’re the centre of attention. Hugely successful and highly memorable, they’re the true movers and shakers of society, the kind of people who ride recessions with ease; who make the most of even the toughest situation. And, says Joanna Kozubska, you could be like them. The author of The Seven Keys Of Charisma (Kogan Page) insists that charisma isn’t a God-given gift, bestowed on the lucky few; it’s something we can all develop.
Kozubska, a professor of managerial communications, conducted painstaking research to find out precisely what makes one person charismatic — and another a dead bore. She discovered there were seven keys to charisma. Seven vital steps which could turn you into a business magnate or a red-hot lover. Seven steps to finding yourself the centre of attention, the life and soul of the party. Here’s how to do it…
KEY 1: THE CONFIDENCE KEY
Charismatic people all have an absolute confidence in their own abilities. They’re the kind of people who would ask a complete stranger out on a date, who would dare to start up a business that everyone else thinks is crazy. They are the first on the dance-floor and the last to leave. They absolutely refuse to think a negative thought and have the courage to take risks. Most of all they are totally in love with life, with who they are and what they do — they make no apology for it.
Dare to take risks. Find the courage to ‘have a go’. Push yourself just that little bit further than you would usually go.
Accept that you will have failures, that you will make mistakes. Don’t ever think you can’t try something for fear of failure. When you do make mistakes, learn from them — don’t ever be crushed by them. People with charisma often fail on their way to success.
‘See’ your success by envisioning — imagine yourself behaving the way you want, achieving whatever it is you want to achieve. Rehearse how you would feel, that warm satisfying glow. Then do it.
KEY 2: THE VISION KEY
Everyone with charisma has a clear vision of what they want from life. They could tell you what they want to be doing and where they want to be five, 10, 20 years down the line. It could be a vision of a happy family, living comfortably and contentedly; it might be heading a hugely successful corporation. It might be achieving some sporting or artistic goal. Whatever it is, they are totally certain of the path they want to take.
KEY 3: THE STYLE KEY
Write your own obituary. What would you want said about you after your death? If you know what you want to have achieved by the end of your life, then you will gain a good idea of what you ought to be doing in the here and now.
Think about your values and beliefs. What do you consider your purpose in life? What values are important in your life? Everyone with charisma has a clear set of values and beliefs.
KEY 4: THE COMMUNICATION KEY
Charismatics are usually born communicators. But they don’t just settle for their Godgiven gifts: they work at it. And it’s not just a case of speaking eloquently (though that helps); it’s also about listening and showing you care. People with charisma make you feel important because they give you their absolute attention. They also speak with enthusiasm — in their tone of voice, in their body language, in their words and gestures. Speaking with passion, listening with intense care — these are quite irresistible.
Watch your posture — keep upright, poised and yet open and expansive.
When you’re talking to someone, really listen and show you care about their thoughts and feelings. There is nothing so charismatic as making people feel they’re wanted and interesting.
Develop your intuition. Try to sense what other people want and need. Focus intently on them and be open to gut feelings. If you learn the knack, you can respond to other people’s unspoken needs as if by magic.
Keep a good sense of humour — all true charismatics have it.
KEY 5: THE MOVING AND SHAKING KEY
People with charisma make things happen. They’re the ones at work who come up with the wildest, most creative new ideas. They’re the kind of lover who whisks you off on incredible surprise trips. They’re exciting
Style describes the way we do things: our way of dressing, how we deal with people, the possessions we have, and the way we conduct ourselves. When our way of doing things is different — and superior — we are said to have style. Anyone with true charisma is always distinctive. Style requires being different, standing out from the crowd — and that is never easy.
Choose your clothes with care — they should reflect your personal identity yet still leave you feeling comfortable in every situation. Experiment with clothes, make-up and your hair until you find your ‘true’ style. If you’re not sure, try having a makeover, find a good new hairdresser, get some advice from an in-store fashion adviser.
Allow yourself to be creative in all areas of your life. Let yourself come up with endless ideas — they don’t all have to be good ones. Play with new ideas, strange thoughts, crazy concepts.