If you want to have a successful speaking career, learning how to be charismatic is something you should seriously consider. Charismatic speakers command a larger platform, get more speaking gigs, and build more successful businesses. The good news is that you don’t need to be born with this ambiguous term because it is a learnable skill.
What is charisma? We know it when we see it, but it’s not quite that easy to describe. The Oxford Dictionaries defines it this way: A “compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others.” Charisma is a type of charm that inspires others to follow or adore you. Some people seem to come by this quality naturally. They walk into a room and they command attention. But if that isn’t you, don’t worry. It is possible to be who you are and learn how to be charismatic, too!
When you look at it closely and break it down, charisma is really just a set of skills and attitudes that elicit a particular response in others. Charismatic people share some essential qualities. Try these tips to develop them:
How To Be Charismatic with Charm
In many ways, a charismatic person is just a charming person with power. Charm is the ability to make others feel important and good about themselves. Marilyn Monroe was a master at this aspect of charisma. There are many ways to demonstrate charm:
- Always show that you’re glad to see someone.
Doesn’t it feel great when someone is happy that you’ve arrived on the scene? Of course, don’t fake this. Obviously false glee is off-putting. As a speaker, this means showing genuine enthusiasm for being on the stage and being able to share your message with the audience.
- Use excellent eye contact.
Give your full attention to others and be a good listener. In one-on-one situations, this includes putting your cell phone away. On the stage, this means using techniques to make every member of the audience feel like you see them. I’ve shared several ways of doing in “The Power of Eye Contact” section of this blog.
- Use genuine and sincere compliments.
When you have something nice to say, say it! People love to be complimented. As a speaker, this means respecting your audience and speaking at their level.
- Be polite and relaxed.
You can’t be charming and rude. You can’t be charming and anxious. It’s important to put others at ease.
Be Charismatic by Standing in Your Power
You might be telling yourself, “I have a minimum wage job, and I can’t even get my dog to come to me. I have less power than anyone I know.” It’s not important to actually have power. What’s relevant is to adopt the attitudes, personality, and style of someone with power. This is especially important on the stage. Overdue modesty hurts or reputation and your charisma. Here are some tips for how to stand in your power no matter how powerful you think you are:
- Always dress up, not down.
A rule of thumb is to dress a notch or two higher than the best-dressed member of your audience. Here’s a fun video I did a few years ago that illustrates my point.
- Confidence and poise are key.
The Power of Confidence is one of the top superpowers of Public Speaking Superheros. If you need to boost your confidence level, sign up for my free “Boost Your Confidence 7-Day Challenge.”
- Work on your body language.
How you hold yourself tells the audience a lot about you and your message. Make sure that you’re communicating what you want. Check out “The Power of Body Language” section of this blog for tips.
- Don’t worry about what others think.
Truly powerful people aren’t particularly concerned with the opinions of others. They move through life without apology. Does a lion care what a zebra thinks? Of course not.
Charismatic people are great at persuading others. Think of all the great leaders of today and from the past. The ability to persuade is a great power to have. This is so important, I dedicated an entire chapter of Public Speaking Super Powers to the topic
- Showing confidence is one of the best ways to be persuasive.
- Speak slower when someone is likely to agree with you. Speak faster when someone is likely to disagree with you.
- Be persistent. When you refuse to give up, you’re more likely to bring others over to your way of thinking.
- Use the idea of reciprocity. Others are more likely to do something for you when you do something for them first. For example, if you buy someone coffee, they’ll be more likely to buy you lunch. Or, if you give your audience useful information during your presentation — information they can actually use and take action on — they will be more likely to take you up on your offer.
Charismatic People Show Confidence
Are you seeing a trend here? We all know what confidence looks like, but it’s not always easy to feel confident. Fortunately, you can fake it until you make it. Think of people you know that seem confident and watch their mannerisms. Do your best to mimic them until it becomes natural.
- Avoid fidgeting.
Fidgeting makes you look nervous and less impressive.
- Stand tall.
Slouching hurts your speaking voice and your perception of expertise.
- Speak slowly.
Speaking too quickly can make you seem shifty and untrustworthy.
- Maintain good eye contact.
Lack of good eye contact undermines your image and makes you look like you don’t know what you’re talking about.
Smiling makes you more likable and charismatic.
- Take up space.
Own the stage!
- Be non-reactive.
People who lack confidence are easily upset, offended, or thrown off-kilter. Be a rock. Have the same casual attitude regardless of what’s going on around you. Calm, cool, and collected are the goals.
Developing Your Charisma Makes Your a More Likable and Sought-After Speaker
Charisma is a collection of skills and personality traits that others find intriguing and desirable. If you’re charismatic, you have to ability to hold the attention of others, give them positive emotions, and persuade them. It’s easy to see how being charismatic could boost your speaking career.
Watch videos on YouTube of charismatic speakers. Try to figure out what makes them so charismatic. Watch how they move and interact with others. You can learn to be a charismatic person too!