What’s Charisma And How Can You Improve Yours?
Confidence is an illusion that charismatic people master, giving them the ability to communicate effectively. It ensures that they come across as uncompromisingly generous. A speaker with charisma manages to deal with confidence issues in order to be present for other people. She doesn’t dwell on her doubts and insecurities, taking it for granted that imperfection is human, and that what she has to give to others is worth receiving.
The speaker has bought into the illusion of confidence. That doesn’t mean she was born with an innate sense of confidence. It means that she understands that insecurity is a kind of narcissism: those who indulge in it don’t realize that it’s universal.
That’s normal since we can only know what we feel ourselves, as individuals. So realizing that insecurity is universal takes a leap of faith. Refusing this leap of faith has its dangers, however. It turns you into a mirror that projects doubt and insecurity onto others. It creates individualism by rejecting the universal element. That’s the antithesis of charisma.
A good leader gets that some people need to take the plunge in order for everyone to feel better about themselves. No director, chairman or president worth their salt can afford to appear insecure when they show up for work.
Being comfortable with your own shortcomings is one way of creating a ripple of confidence in a room. If you spill wine on your trousers and laugh it off, people will be attracted to your insouciance. They’ll want what you have, the courage to be perfect in your imperfection.
We don’t laugh at blunders, we laugh with them. The heart of comedy isn’t mockery, but empathy.
That sort of confidence isn’t something you can wait for in the hopes that it will just happen. It’s a choice.
It means that you have to take ownership of your circumstances. If you’re clumsy or pudgy or broke, embrace it. Dare to mould the world to your situation, rather than have situations mould you. People with charisma know that they have as much power in the world as anyone else.
When you don’t buy into confidence, that translates into how you speak and how you hold your body: both become blurry to your listeners. Because everyone is as insecure as you, they will quickly respond to your lack of confidence and indulge in their own insecurities.
That means that they’ll either revert to internal ruminations, or that they’ll defensively reject your presence and look for someone who can make them feel good again.
If you want to be charismatic, you need to feel good about yourself: that’s entirely on you.
Once you do that, you’ll be able to communicate much better because people will be more willing to adjust to your wave length. The tediousness of insecurities will be passed over in favor of clear, effective and confident communication.
Finally, here are 3 actionable steps you can take to improve your charisma:
Observe Others: If you start to look at others, you’ll realize that everyone is as scared as you. So forget about yourself for a moment and instead, take the time to be in the world and observe those around you.
Open up: Be receptive to others. Don’t hide from your interlocutor, face him. Don’t slouch, frown, or avert your gaze. Stand up straight, make steady and inviting eye-contact and make sure to smile a lot.
Soften your edges: If you cannot control your gestures, they will speak out in spite of you. A gesture is a volatile thing, worth a thousand words, and it betrays insecurity by being overly defensive or aggressive.
In a meeting, crossed arms, fidgeting legs or any kind of sudden movements must be sensibly and consciously contained, even if you are backed in a corner. If you are confident, you should be able to remain open to criticism without taking it personally or making a big deal out of it. Charisma is also the ability to remain focused and persuasive in the midst of hardship and criticism.