While charm school owners will disagree, there’s no standard recipe for charisma. Some would even argue it’s an open-and shut case of ‘you either have it or you don’t’.
Nevertheless, there’s a growing belief that having charisma means possessing a healthy balance of external qualities – including showing an interest in other people – to complement positive internal traits, such as self-confidence. While people might disagree on the exact ingredients needed for a charismatic persona, a fairly tasty recipe might look like this:
C – Confidence
This is clearly one of the most important ingredients in charisma. You need to be confident enough to communicate with people in a variety of situations and social settings. However, there’s an important difference between confidence and boastfulness or arrogance.
H – Happiness
Happiness, as we know, is contagious. Research suggests that oxytocin (also known as the love hormone) goes hand in hand with charisma: the happier you feel, the more people are likely to gravitate towards you and take on board your views.
A – Assertiveness
A close friend of confidence, being assertive means being able to influence and encourage those in the same room, subtly bringing them round to your way of thinking in a way that’s non-confrontational.
R – Regard (for others)
Charismatic people are genuinely interested in what others have to say, not just the sound of their own voice. This means using your ‘active listening’ skills to really engage with your conversation partner and take on board what they’re saying.
M – (e)Motion
A high level of emotional intelligence goes hand-in-hand with charisma. You need to be aware of your own emotions (including knowing those you should be displaying and those you shouldn’t) as well as being aware of, and empathetic to those of others.
Putting all these qualities into the mixing bowl at the same time may be harder than it looks, however: too much of one ingredient and the balance tips too much towards either internal or external character traits. Like most things in life, it all comes down to self-awareness, experience…and practice. Perhaps it’s worth giving that charm school a call, after all.