"I'm comin' up so you better you better get this party started
Makin' my connection as I enter the room
Everybody's chillin' as I set up the groove
Pumpin' up the volume with this brand-new beat
Everybody's dancin' and their dancin' for me"
Not all of us can muster up enough charisma to match the reference in the song, but we know that people are more likely to be influenced by a charismatic leader. It's worth the effort to crank up the volume on your charismatic presence since it influences likeability, generosity, and trust.
If you tend to be more of the low-key observer-type personality, you may be thinking that you don't want to (or aren't capable of) being that person whose presence lights up the room. Not to worry, there's more to it than an outgoing personality. Studies conclude that present-day charismatic leaders are supportive, sensitive, nurturing, and considerate.
We also know that charisma can be taught. With very specific training on charismatic speech content and the use of effective verbal and nonverbal strategies, subjects in this study dramatically grew their charismatic presence.
If you haven't given much thought to the energy and image you project, you are missing a golden opportunity to establish your personal brand, among other valuable considerations. Followers trust and respect leaders who display moral conviction (another character trait of the charismatic individual). Respect is the cornerstone of effective, even powerful, leadership, so it's important to earn the respect of others.
You never know when and where you'll bump into your next client, employee, or influencer, so be conscious of the energy you project, wherever you go (yes, even the grocery store). Now, let's get this party started.
1. Be confident and let your body language show it.
If you walk into a crowded room looking like a deer in the headlights, you'll instantly rank lower on the confident leader scale. If such outings intimidate you, simply learn to mask your discomfort until you grow your confidence. Your body language and facial expressions have a positive impact on your behavior; before you know it, you won't be acting. Stand tall, keep your head up, and walk proudly.
2. Be present and aware.
Empathy is a quality that people admire in leadership. One way to easily convey that you care is to listen and maintain eye contact. To do this effectively, you must block out everything else that's going on around you. This simple act will help the other person feel like the only person in the room who matters to you in that moment. A very charismatic quality.
3. Brush up on your trivia.
Yes, you read that right. In one study, subjects with speedy answers to general-knowledge questions were considered quick-witted, funny, and charismatic by others. In fact, mental speed was a stronger contributor to charisma than IQ or personality.
4. Dress for success.
Like it or not, your wardrobe creates a lasting image, be it positive or negative. The clothing you choose becomes a part of your personal brand. Studies show that subjects feel more confident and empowered when they dress the part. Your wardrobe choices can raise your self-esteem; we can't help but absorb the energy of the clothes we're wearing. Do your own experiment: put on some old, grungy clothing and observe how you feel. Then, change into something classy and professional and notice the difference.
5. Ask questions.
Networking 101: Listen more than you talk. When you encourage others to reveal their beliefs, past experiences, and dreams for the future, it builds trust and increases likability. People buy from people they trust, so encourage a deeper conversation to build trust by asking questions about them and their business.
6. Use your dazzling smile.
Everyone loves a smile. A genuine smile reaches the eyes and portrays an image of caring and passion. Try another experiment: smile more in the day-to-day activities where others are involved and notice that people will be more inclined to engage with you. Even a subtle smile, as though you're enjoying every minute of life, will attract others and elicit conversation every time.
7. Use metaphors and gestures to paint a picture.
When researchers trained middle managers and MBA students on charismatic leadership tactics they confirmed that using metaphors and gestures improved charismatic behavior. Metaphors also make for memorable conversation and help others to digest your point of view. Master these tactics to engage your audience and to spice up sales presentations.
8. Maintain a positive outlook.
Successful leaders don't make a habit of dwelling on the negative; they look for an opportunity to put a positive spin on things. Today, we hear a lot of doom and gloom conversation about where the world is going, yet many positive things are happening all around us. Avoid being sucked into observations and dialogue about the looming crises that many are certain lie ahead. Instead, turn the conversation toward uplifting stories and ideas.
"Get this party started on a Saturday night
Everybody's waitin' for me to arrive
Sendin' out the message to all of my friends
We'll be lookin' flashy in my Mercedes Benz"
You may not be the person who gets the party started, and that's just fine. If you become more aware of how you connect with others, and what impression you leave behind, you'll be just as effective and influential as the guy in the Mercedes Benz.