I recently watched a PBS documentary about former President, Bill Clinton and the show discussed his movie star like charisma and how it came so naturally to him. Clinton could capture the attention of a packed stadium while making you feel like you were the only person in the room since his charisma was so palpable and authentic.
Some say Clinton had presence and was always fully in the moment and never distracted when talking with people. He clearly had presidential power during his Whitehouse tenure but his charisma was evident before that and remains constant after his time in the oval office. The power he exuded was confidence, in addition to his ability to express goodwill and empathy.
While some think charisma is innate and can be learned early on, others develop their career charisma over time. The late Steve Jobs, for example was much more charismatic from 1984 onwards. If you watch footage of him speaking you can actually hear and see the transformation and how he gained confidence and warmth in his voice and presence later in life.
So what do the magnetic personalities of celebrities like George Clooney, Ellen DeGeneres, and Meryl Streep have in common? Experts believe that you can give your charisma and your career persona a boost by applying these tips:
- Keep a relatively still body language. Excessive nodding and fidgeting can make you appear impatient, insecure, and nervous. Think regal and tall – even when sitting.
- Wait a second or two when someone asks you a question. The technology driven culture has cultivated a lightning fast response expectation but the pause is powerful and builds anticipation, power, and a sense of control. A brief pause will make the person asking you the question feel more valued because you are taking time to consider their answer.
Charisma is not just about how others perceive you – it’s about how you make others feel. Gather your thoughts, be still, listen authentically, and validate those around you and you’ll be well on your way to ramping up your career charisma. These ideas were generated from an article in Parade Magazine about Olivia Fox Cabane’s new book: The Charisma Myth. So get out there and light up a room!