Charisma is not something you’re born with. It’s a learned skill. And further, it’s something we all possess naturally as children—that total absorption in an emotion that we then radiate physically with our entire beings.
Charisma is the focus, and we can all re-learn to focus if only we can jettison our to-do lists—the ones that we carry around in our heads most of the time—and seize the moment of wonder, anger, delight, passion, joy, grief, of emotion, in short.
A study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that charisma has six signs—three related to helping others feel comfortable, and three related to presence. I’ll focus on the first three because they’re things you might be able to work on and change.
First, Charismatic People Make Others Feel Comfortable.
This is an interesting place to start because the whole discussion of charisma is focused on the hero, not her audience. To make charisma more about reception than projection is a departure, and probably a good one at that.
Second, The Charismatic Person Smiles At People Often.
There’s lots of research that suggests that smiling makes you more attractive, as well as warming up the recipient, so it’s not a surprise that smiling would help your charisma quotient. Smiling is also a way to make others feel more comfortable, so it goes hand in hand with the first item.
Third, Charismatic People Can Get Along With Anyone.
This may be more an effect of charisma than a cause, but it’s true that one can easily imagine a charismatic person getting along with all walks of life, all classes of people. If you want to be more charismatic, you could focus on listening more and looking for the good in anyone you’re talking to—both good ways to promote connection.
The study goes on to say that charismatic people have a presence in a room; have the ability to influence others, and know how to lead a group. To me, these items seem like restatements of what it means to be charismatic.
But overall, I like the focus in this study on other people, the audience, the recipients of charisma, as a useful corrective to our obsession with charismatic people and the quality in general. It’s good to remember that charisma is ultimately in the eye of the beholder, and without an audience, the most charismatic person in the world is still just looking in a mirror.
Written by: Nick Morgan, Ph.D Nick's latest book, 'Can You Hear Me? How to Connect with People in the Virtual World' was published in 2018 and is available here. Originally appeared on:Psychology Today Republished with permission