Have you ever met someone who’s presence just seems to make everyone smile? You’d think they have an internal magnet that draws people to them and makes others hang on their every word. They smile easily, talk to others easily, and make people feel good just by being in their presence.
They may or may not be classically, physically attractive, but their personality and that “special something” makes them seem like the most interesting and attractive person in the room.
They have charisma.
What Is Charisma?
We’ve all known charismatic people. And most of us are aware of famous charismatic people as well. Michael Jordan, George Clooney, Ronald Regan, Barack Obama, Jennifer Lopez, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Julia Louise-Dreyfus are but a few. Whether you like them for what they do or not, there’s no denying that there’s something about them that draws you in.
That “something” is referred to as charisma. It’s easy to tell when someone has charisma, but a bit harder to explain just what that is.
Charismatic people have more than just charm. They seem like natural leaders because of their distinct approachability.
Characteristics used to define charisma in a person include the following:
- A tendency to smile and make eye contact with everyone
- The ability to put people at ease in social situations
- A natural ability to influence others
- The ability to get along with most people
- The ability to lead a group without discomfort
- The ability to create a feeling of trust within others
Charismatic people appear to be naturally happy and confident. They see, or profess to see, all glasses as half full rather than half empty. This positive attitude can be infectious and influence the feelings of others. The natural ability to influence is one of the reasons charismatic people so often find themselves in politics, business, or other highly visible positions.
A charismatic person also has a certain presence within a room. They seem to command the space by doing nothing more than being there. All of these traits and abilities are exercised effortlessly and without any appearance narcissism or pretense.
The Downside Of Charisma
Sounds amazing, right? We should all try to be more charismatic or support those with charisma as they rise to leadership – shouldn’t we? Well, maybe.
Charismatic people are just that – people, and they are equally as fallible as anyone else. The problem is that charisma can make others to their faults and can cause the charismatic person to believe too much in their own hype leading them to feel invincible.
Although charismatic people are not inherently narcissists, narcissists can be very charismatic. This means that the discerning the intentions of a person who is notably charismatic can be difficult.
Charisma can mask certain flaws in a person, among them are the following:
- Inability to think through long-term consequences
- Tendency to overlook the value of others
So, while charisma is a favorable trait and one we’d all rather have than not, it’s not a pass on personal responsibility nor a sign of perfection in a person.
How You Can Cultivate Your Own Charisma
Quite a few people are naturally charismatic, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be born with charisma in order to have it. Indeed, if you are willing, you can cultivate your own charisma through practice and effort.
Being charismatic is really about being the best version of yourself and making others around you feel seen, heard, and valued. The problem when trying to be charismatic is that if you’re faking it then it will seem fake and that’s contrary to what you’re trying to achieve.
So, when trying to cultivate your own charisma consider the following tips:
➊ Smile – genuinely
A ready smile puts people at ease and makes you seen happy, confident, and approachable. Smiling also has a positive effect on your attitude even if you don’t notice it right away.
➋ Make eye contact
Making eye contact signifies confidence and interest. Don’t stare, but make a point to look others in the eye when talking and make eye contact with people in the room as you look around.
➌ Listen and show interest
Listening isn’t just about hearing, it’s also about making someone feel heard. The best way to do this is by showing interest in what someone has to say. Ask follow-up and clarifying questions, show enthusiasm for the topic, and offer your own thoughts.
➍ Draw people out
Even a shy person enjoys talking about themselves a bit. Being a person who can encourage others to join a conversation and offer their thoughts and stories is a distinct indicator of charisma.
➎ Make others comfortable around you
We all enjoy being around those that make us feel welcome and comfortable. Being a person who can make others comfortable by including them, welcoming them, and breaking down barriers will mean people will feel drawn to you.
➏ Show your kindness and don’t fake it
Charismatic people aren’t typically mean, cruel, or negative. Being kind should be a general standard in human decency, but it’s not a trait that’s always on display. So, practice kindness in public and private, which means steering clear of gossip and cruel comments behind the backs of others.
Remember, when you are attempting to develop charisma, you have to walk the walk. Charismatic people are seen as down-to-earth and genuine. If these things don’t come naturally to you, it just may take some time to work on and practicing one of these skills at a time.
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Author: Dr. Kurt Smith
Dr. Kurt Smith is the Clinical Director of Guy Stuff Counseling & Coaching, a Northern California counseling practice that specializes in helping men and the women who love them. His expertise is in understanding men, their partners, and the unique relationship challenges couples face today. Dr. Kurt is a lover of dogs, sarcasm, everything outdoors, and helping those seeking to make their relationships better.