The Charisma Myth: Olivia Fox Cabane

Increasing your charisma involves behaviors that project more of three core charismatic qualities: presence, power, and warmth.

All three are communicated mostly through body language. Your internal (emotional and mental) state determines your body language. By choosing what you imagine, and by learning how to adjust your mental state, you can ensure that body language projects more presence, power, and warmth, and thus charisma.

In terms of achieving charisma, your internal state is critical. Get the internal state right, and the right charismatic behaviors and body language will pour forth automatically. Being present—paying attention to what’s going on rather than being caught up in your thoughts—can yield immense rewards. When you exhibit presence, those around you feel listened to, respected, and valued.”

Presence is communicated by listening well, not interrupting, and pausing before you speak”

“Warmth is projected by creating positive associations, avoiding negative associations, and making other people feel valued and important”

“Power is projected when you speak concisely, using metaphors and providing high value”

“Discomfort affects your mental state and prevents you from projecting presence, power, and warmth. Aim to prevent discomfort by planning ahead to ensure comfort in clothing, location, and timing. If discomfort arises, you can either address it (for instance, with a mental technique such as the responsibility transfer) or explain it so that it’s not misperceived”

“Simple 3 step process for addressing internal discomfort so that your charisma can shine through:

  • First, destigmatize it by recognizing that we all experience the same kinds of internal discomfort, that they’re completely normal and nothing to be ashamed of. Think of others who’ve gone through this before—especially people you admire—and see yourself as part of a community of human beings experiencing the same feeling at the same moment.
  • Second, neutralize the negativity attached to the experience by reminding yourself that the negative thoughts are not necessarily accurate.
  • Third, rewrite reality by designing and adopting an interpretation of the situation that gives you a more charismatic state”

“Visualization, used commonly by professional athletes, is a remarkably versatile and powerful tool for accessing the right mental state. Practicing gratitude, goodwill, and compassion puts you in a mental state that projects warmth. And compassion for yourself, surprisingly, helps you access all aspects of charisma”

“elements of body language, such as posture and facial expressions, impact your mental state, which then feeds back into the rest of your body language, initiating a positive cycle”

“Before important events, avoid experiences that would impair your warmth and plan confidence-boosting activities instead”

The 4 types of Charisma

“Focus charisma is achieved primarily through presence and good listening, and makes people feel heard, understood, and respected.

Visionary charisma requires a bold vision that is delivered with complete conviction; it inspires people to believe in and want to be a part of this vision.

Kindness charisma primarily involves warmth and acceptance, and creates an emotional connection.

Authority charisma is achieved primarily through the projection of power and status, and leads people to listen or obey”

“Good first impressions can weigh heavily in your favor, just as bad ones can take significant work to undo. Great conversationalists keep the spotlight on the other person and make them feel good about themselves, because people will associate you with whatever feelings you produce in them”

“Nonverbal communication creates stronger reactions and moves people to action. Through emotional contagion, your emotions can spread to other people. Nonverbal warmth can be projected by managing physical and personal space to make the other person feel comfortable, by mirroring their body language, and by making the right kind of eye contact. Nonverbal power can be projected by using “big gorilla” body language and avoiding unnecessary movements.”

“Charismatically handling a difficult situation can make the difference between making an enemy and making a friend. Preparation and approach are important: choose the timing and location to maximize their comfort and your charisma, and be prepared with ways to be both appreciative and empathetic. When you need to win someone over, asking them for their opinion and expressing gratitude for things they’ve done for you in the past are ways to encourage them to rationalize in your favor. When delivering positive information, make it specific and personal; when delivering negative information, make it specific but depersonalize it.”

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s