Based on an article published in El Comercio newspaper (Peru) on September 07, 2014
Many people think charisma is for politicians and do very little to cultivate their own. However, they later find that they need it badly when they want to close an important deal, sell their professional services, or go to a job interview. Those who do cultivate their charisma have a considerable competitive edge: it is easier for them to win people’s trust and affection. Charismatic people “connect” more quickly with people they have just met. They are generally more popular and are remembered as being more charming and even more capable. That is why they are chosen more often in selection processes and are even their boss’s favorites.
Can we become charismatic? Yes, if we know a few basic concepts and practice them daily. Perhaps the first thing is to remember that people like us for how we make them feel. This means making sure that people feel better about themselves every time they interact with us. And the key to this is to do the following: avoid arrogance at all costs, take a genuine and true interest in people, convey sincere warmth in our gestures and words, and focus on giving instead of receiving.
- Arrogance, looking down on or feeling superior to people, is offensive and abusive to others. It is also very damaging to arrogant people, their image, and relationships. Arrogance is the antithesis of charisma and in fact destroys it. Nothing justifies arrogance: neither success nor power, neither money nor good looks. The same goes for an impressive résumé, a career full of promotions and achievements, or a flawless academic background.
- Feigned interestin others is quickly noticed. In fact, it implies manipulation and generates instant distrust. Charisma is closely tied to our authenticity and the genuine interest we have for others, their life, interests, and well being. Without a genuine interest in others, interpersonal relationships are weak and one-directional; that is, relationships cannot be genuine or real.
- Sincere warmth toward others is synonymous with caring, appreciation, and esteem. It is about caring sincerely for others. Warmth allows us to earn other people’s trust, and the first thing that people assess about us (even more than talent or capability) is whether we are trustworthy or not. Once we have earned someone’s trust, communication and cooperation flow openly and naturally. It is very important to remember that warmth is shown not so much with words, but primarily with our body language. Otherwise, people will feel that something is off, and all credibility will be lost.
- Charismatic people are generous in giving recognition, are sincere in giving and showing acceptance, and are openly approving of the people with whom they interact. They do not spare praise (always sincerely and moderately of course) and doing so does not make them feel less than anyone. On the contrary, charismatic people are perceived as very self-confident and very dependable, because they show their real selves and are not afraid to recognize others or express their respect or appreciation for them.
Though charisma does not replace talent, effort, or ethics, it does wonders for your personal brand, career, and business and, certainly, for your relationships with others, which are the key to personal and professional success.