AsJonah 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.
Lynda Katz Wilner in her blog article “Tee Up your Speech – Golf is like Public Speaking” gives twelve terrific tips for delivering a successful presentation. I like all of them but in particular tip #4 and thought I might add my thoughts as well.
Tip #4: Practice on the Driving Range to Develop Muscle Memory; Play When You’re on the Course.
Lynda highlights the importance of rehearsing out loud, so you know exactly how the words sound. I remember participating in a debate and as a public speaking coach, I was confident that I could effectively deliver my message and content. Because the topic was familiar my preparation involved just using self-talk – going over the content in my head. At the event the next day I started my 3-minute piece and as the words came out, I realised they were wrong in this context! So, the lesson is no matter how confident you are, or how many times you have given a speech, always rehearse out loud. So that’s the verbal element, we also need to look at the nonverbal.
When rehearsing we need to make sure we practice all the nonverbal elements such as pace pause, projection, movement, gestures, and facial expressions. One way to ensure success is to over-accentuate the nonverbal element. For example, if you were saying that something was a big opportunity, then when rehearsing stick your arms out as far as possible to emphasise the size of the opportunity – to the extent that it feels silly. The reason we do this is threefold. First, so we know what it feels like and can refine it and become comfortable with it. Second, because we know that if we rehearse at 160% of where we need to be, then when we go to do it live, we will be closer to 100% of where we need to be. The last reason is to ensure that our nonverbal aligns with the verbal. As Albert Mehrabian discovered in his research “one would be hesitant to rely on what is said when the facial, or the vocal, expression contradicts the words.” For example if we say we are excited and don’t sound excited, then people are less likely to believe us.
For 13 weeks each year starting in March, I teach at Swinburne University in The Media and Communications Department. Covid and teaching in lock down has meant that lectures needed to be recorded and tutorials done online in 2020 and face to face in 2021. So, what did I learn? Lots of things, but one of the most powerful tools was the use of video.
Five things to know about video
Show your face. This doesn’t mean all the time but at the beginning or end is important
Make sure each video doesn’t go for any longer than 10 minutes.
Be prepared to do a lot of editing the first few times through. You’ll pick up a lot of delivery and content issues you didn’t know you had!
Production quality is important. Put time and effort into working with your camera, lighting, and sound quality – your audience will appreciate it.
Write a script – if only for an opening few minutes. If it’s important – script the whole thing.
There are three types of pauses: silent pauses (no sound), filled pause (filled with ums ahs etc), and breath pauses. Consider consciously taking a diaphragmatic breath, so that’s its not really obvious, at key points in your presentation, such as when you change slides. In addition to giving time for your audiences to think and you time to think it can have positive effect on public speaking anxiety (Kimani, Shamekhi & Bickmore 2021). We also know that this type of breathing can be effective in helping us to think more clearly even if anxiety is not present.
Kimani, E, Shamekhi, A & Bickmore, T 2021, ‘Just breathe: Towards real-time intervention for public speaking anxiety’, Smart Health, vol. 19, 2021/03/01/, p. 100146.
A participant on a program recently worked on a presentation that was due in two days time. He delivered the presentation and I called him the day after: “How did it go Jim?”
“Not so good Justin”
“Why was that Jim, did you achieve your objective?”
“Yes I achieved everything I wanted to, but it just turned into a conversation”
Jim was stuck in an old school mindset of presenting – the “sage on the stage”. What happened was his presentation turned into a conversation and he started to engage the audience because he was talking about things that are important to them – he nailed it!
So, the formulae we use to get the audience involved is what Andrew Abela calls the SCoRE method which is based on the work of Henry Boettinger in his book Moving Mountains. It works by juxtaposing tension and release – the formulae for all good stories.
SCoRE stands for:
Situation – what are you there to talk about – put simply in a few words
Complication – What’s the biggest problem the audience is facing. This creates tension and the need.
Resolution – what’s the solution to that problem. This creates the release and satisfies the need.
Example – provide some evidence as to why your resolution will work.
Then continue on with the next CoRE (Complication Resolution Example) for as long as you need to.
This simple formula enables us to craft a story, engage the audience and achieve our objective.
Boettinger, HM 1974, Moving mountains; or, The art and craft of letting others see things your way, 1st Collier Booksedn., Collier Books, New York,.
When we are presenting using a webcam we want to be able to replicate what we see and do live i.e. gestures, body posture, facial expression and eye contact. This is not easy. We can to a certain degree control what we do, but we can’t control what our audiences does.
A lot of the presenting we do today in VC requires us to do a whole range of different tasks while presenting. We have to manage the technology, monitor the chat room and manage our software, which requires us to to be hands on and close to the computer. We do similar things when presenting live, but we can move away from the technology when we are done.
The advice that follows is taken from research on working one on one with a client, but I think we can still take some lessons from their findings. (Grondin et al. 2020)
The context for these guidelines is that we want the audience to see as much of us as is practical and for us to maintain eye contact as best as possible. We are going to assume that we are giving a presentation that doesn’t require us to have a lot of interaction with the technology. Either we just have to load it up and click through some slides or we have someone else doing that for us.
We can easily deal with all verbal and nonverbal elements by positioning ourselves so that we have our torso and head in shot. However there is one nonverbal, eye contact, which is our biggest challenge. What follows are guidelines for setting up our webcam so that we give the impression we are making eye contact with everyone in the audience. You can click on the link here for the whole article with pictures.
Use a gooseneck webcam mount to position the webcam upside down and inside the monitor frame
Use the application settings to flip the image so you are the right way up.
Sit 130cm away from the camera
Position yourself, either sitting or standing so that you are looking very slightly down at the camera.
Preferably use a headset with a microphone. Relying on the webcam microphone from 130 cm probably wont give the best results.
When I was installing my gooseneck I noticed you can have the camera (logitec C920 in my case) the right up, but it protrudes a long way out, verses having it upside down where it sits closer to the screen.
This will work perfectly when we are communicating one on one. Because in essence we have positioned the camera just above the eyes of the other person. So when we speak we have the comfort of looking at someone not the camera. However because of the position of the camera the other person feels as if we are looking at them straight in the eye.
I think it works well for groups also if the platform we are using allows us to highlight an individual. If it doesn’t then its just a little more challenging because we will be directing our thoughts to the camera only.
Until technology like Microsofts i2i is launched we are going to have to use more practical solutions like the above.