If you’ve ever watched someone like Will Smith, Tom Cruise or Barack Obama being interviewed on TV, then you might well have thought at some point ‘I wish I was that cool’. It’s hard to put your finger on precisely what it is that makes these people catch our attention and win our respect, but whatever it is most of us would admit that we wish we had it.
There is a word for whatever this ‘it’ is though – and that’s ‘charisma’. Put simple, charisma is essentially the ability to be commanding in front of an audience, to get people enthusiastic about what you’re saying and to exude a certain confidence and charm that wins over the people around you. Charisma is great because it gives you the ability to influence others, and can make you both more attractive and authoritative thus helping you excel in your career and personal relationships.
But the question is, if you don’t already have it, how can you get it?
Well the good news is that there have been studies looking at precisely this, and what they’ve found is that charisma essentially boils down to making your body language back up what you’re saying, and coming across as passionate.
In other words, if you are speaking to someone and you look unsure of yourself, then they won’t be particularly interested in what you have to say or particularly impressed with the way you’re saying it – which is likely an evolutionary response.
As such then, if you want to be charismatic then you need to make sure you really care about whatever you’re describing, and that you convey this by using gesticulations and gestures and generally being animated. Don’t be shy to command the space you’re in, to describe what you’re saying with your hands, and to pat people on the shoulder and shake their hands.
If you want to come off as more charismatic then, try practicing talking about the things you care about in front of a mirror, or filming yourself and trying to use more gesticulation as you do.
Meanwhile, you can also come across as charismatic by generally exhibiting more confidence. There are many ways you can improve this aspect of your presentation, but easy tips include talking more slowly (rushing your words makes you seem anxious), and having a more open and relaxed body language.
You should also practice projecting your voice and speaking powerfully, as well as smiling more. Smiling not only projects self-belief and positivity, but it also makes other people feel better when they’re around you. Inject some humour into your routine as well and you’ll have people eating out of your hands.