Donald Trump has a lot of Charisma. What!
As Jonah Goldberg, said in his article of the same title “let me finish.”
Whether you love him or abhor him Trump has charisma, otherwise, why would anyone follow him?
Now that potentially casts charisma in a bad light, a tool for evil some may say. However, we know that charisma is a highly sort after quality in leaders and the good news is we all have it. But be careful because “with great power comes great responsibility” according to Spider-Man and others.
I just heard you say that there is no way anyone could see you as charismatic! How do you know you’re not? As we have said everyone has some charisma – so then it’s just a matter of dialing it up when we need it! Which begs the question of course, how do you do that?
A lot has been written on ways an ‘uncharismatic’ leader can exert a positive influence, but I would like to refer you to Donald Riggio who has been studying 45 years of charisma research.
Donald Riggio describes four ways that we can stretch ourselves to build our charisma.
The first one is emotional expressiveness
Charismatic people he says are “very good at conveying emotions through their body language – tone of voice, facial expressions, and gestures”.
These are all things we can work on. Depending on your personal circumstance we can all vary either our voice, facial expressions and gestures or all three. For example, we can modulate our voice, we can smile and tilt our head quizzically as a gesture.
The second one is empathic concern
Donald describes empathic concern as “the ability to read others’ emotions, feelings, and attitudes, and the ability to demonstrate that you are sympathetic.”
As we know empathy and sympathy are two different things and don’t often go hand in hand. Have a listen to Brené Brown describe the difference. I would also like to suggest that whilst reading people is an enviable skill Marcia Hughes suggests we can still engage empathetically by noticing the other person’s communication from the dimensions of the words and tone they are using, their movement, facial expressions, and gestures. If appropriate, then try to uncover the feeling they are experiencing and why they are feeling that way. Just listen. Don’t try and solve anything just listen.
Charismatic people are also “good at “working the room,” engaging others in social interaction and thinking on their feet.”
This is a bit trickier, as some people would rather die a thousand cuts than work a room. I don’t mind working a room, but unfortunately, I don’t get any further than the first person I meet, much to their displeasure. What you might like to do here is to pick your battle. Pick the event that you are going to make an all-out assault on, take a buddy and go for it. Make it a game and see how many people you can meet. Make it fun, not a nightmare.
Lastly verbal elements
Here charismatic people “speak in “picturesque” language, make good use of metaphors, use vivid storytelling to convey images and meaning”
We can do this as well. If we know there is an event coming up, do some homework and prepare a
- short anecdote about something that happened to you recently and practice it so it comes out the way you want.
- Find a metaphor. Humorously refer to your partner as a couch potato” or quote an artist like Bob Dylan describing your life by saying “Chaos is a friend of mine”
- Memorise a vivid short story. You’ll need a new one each time though.
Thanks to Donald Riggio we have four tactics to make us more charismatic and some ideas from me.