5 Ways to Build Charisma


When I first started writing about this third C in the Three Cs You Need to Succeed, I thought it would be fun to go to search Google images to see who might be pictured under charismatic leaders. It was good to see Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, former presidents, and Steve Jobs, but other unfavorable leaders who represented charismatic leadership that would be deemed inhumane and evil were also there. It goes to show that charisma used for the wrong thing can also be effective, even if it isn’t for the greater good.

As I scrolled, I searched for the women.  Oh, wait, there they were.

Mother Teresa was squinched in between a sea of men collage on the first row, but it wasn’t until a few scrolls more  that I found Margaret Thatcher.  And, eventually there was Oprah.

No, I promise this isn’t a diatribe on why there should be more women who are classified as charismatic (well, there should be), but I say this, because it’s typically men in political or religious positions that appear when this is entered into a search engine.

It’s really a call to action.

What if we all got a little more charismatic? About who we are, our personal brand story, and be of greater influence by living out what we’re called to do.

We’re not all called to be famous. Phew. (I hear a sigh of relief from many of you.)

We are, however, called to be the best version of ourselves and put that into action. Imagine doing that and having influence in a way that positively impacts your work, your community, and the world. Now famous or not – that IS powerful.

Of course politicians have charm and often religious leaders have an impact, because they’re attractive, strong public speakers, and they draw you in.

Today, I want to talk about your personal influence. That undeniable attraction to who you are, what you offer, and why it’s important.

Your personal charisma  will be your strongest sales tool in your professional and personal life, because it shows your confidence, your courage, and your ability to be truly what you’re best at being – YOU.

So no hocus-pocus here. No magic.  All you need is that awesome blend of talents, skills, and passions in action in the right place and strength in knowing that you’re strong and great just as you are.

Here’s how to use your charisma to influence people and sell your personal brand effectively:

  1. Have a vision. When charismatic leaders speak, they have a solid vision that they are trying to convey. Think of a politician. They have their vision, platform, pitch. They’re usually selling you on something that’s better than what you have today. It’s the same in a job interview or selling to your customers, right? You’re trying to sell your vision on what it would be like to work or be with you or buy your product. So, be clear on how your vision will change their world. Knowing how you’ll make a difference is absolutely key.
  2. Know your audience and connect with them. Be present. Be sure to know who you’re addressing when you’re sharing your vision and promoting yourself. It’s important to know their needs, concerns, problems, and vision too. Then, create a way to connect with them. Maybe there’s a shared story they can relate to or a way of showing that you understand them exactly where they are. This works well in job interviews, training sessions, speeches, networking events, etc.
  3. Take risks. Anyone who is charismatic puts on their Armor of Courage and sets out on an adventure.  See this journey in your life as a quest for being your best. Take your personal brand – all of who you are – and figure out ways to do things differently. This will get you noticed and set you apart. Now, I don’t recommend doing anything unethical or out of your values zone, but I do think that little things like FedExing your resume or personally walking up to the person in charge and making a personal impression that is quietly confident and driven is a welcome change.  This also aligns nicely with the idea that charismatic leaders often do something unconventional.
  4. Be passionate. Listen. Make eye contact. And use gestures. Being charismatic about who you are and what you have to offer cannot be lazy or clonish. And it shouldn’t be too still. Be you. Be on fire. And get out there and share what you’re all about.  And if using gestures isn’t your thing, it’s okay, but don’t be a statue. Move your body a bit (or a lot if you want to get really charismatic) and have energy! This will generate enthusiasm that becomes increasingly attractive. I promise that this will not only make you more attractive to the RIGHT perspective employer, but it will also make people more inclined to buy whatever it is you’re selling – you, your product, etc.
  5. Get emotional. Yes, you heard it here. Figure out a way to connect to people’s emotions. This is not rocket science. Have heart.    Yes, you can still operate on the masculine side of business and still have a sense of connection that is emotional.  Think about it.  When you buy a Coke, are you buying it, because it’s a brown bubbly soda in a cool bottle? No. You’re buying it, because it makes you feel something – refreshed? Connected to childhood? Happy? You name it.  Well, you’re a product of beautiful strengths and offerings. When people connect with you, do you want them to just see you as a human or connect with you as a person. Yes! You do. Make them have an emotional connection with you. Draw them in. Make them feel special.

While job interviews are important, you’re selling your brand in every experience in life. It takes confidence and courage to step into change and into new things.  The more charisma you bring with what you offer, the more likely people are going to be influenced by you and “buy” what you’re selling. They will have an emotional connection and see how your vision aligns with theirs so that there is mutually beneficial success.

Take Action: Find people who you look up to who you deem charismatic.
They don’t have to be famous. Find something about their style that has made them successful and attractive to many people. By observing them, you can learn their techniques, and tweak them to become skills that suit YOUR personality and brand delivery. Just a word to the wise, try to pick someone who’s not full of themselves, but someone who is likeable.

Keep practicing.  By working on your confidence, and courage, you’ll be more influential and increase your charisma. Be a master of you, and you’ll find that by being present, having a vision that aligns with people, and connecting, you might just be the next new addition to the Google search on charismatic leadership.

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