The ability to persuade and inspire requires “charismatic communication”.
How do some speakers have the ability to establish a friendly and immediate rapport with the listeners and hold their attention while they persuade and inspire them? What is their secret?
It's called "Charisma" and it seems like a magical and mysterious quality that only a few, chosen individuals have. The good news is that charismatic communication is a learned skill.
The Definition of Charisma
Charismatic people are "Enthusiastically and Energetically Engaged".
It is their unselfconscious and passionate involvement that is so attractive to others. When you are enthusiastically and energetically engaged in communicating with your listeners, you will tend to be perceived as “Charismatic".
The Myths of Charisma
Charisma is not about being rich and powerful. It's not about being beautiful or talented. We can perceive Charismatic qualities in every sort of person. These qualities can be cultivated.
Are charismatic people born? Yes, but not just a select few, everyone is born with Charisma.
We are born charismatic and stay that way until social interactions persuade us to adopt “appropriate” ways of behaviour. We become self-conscious and lose some of the ability to be “just ourselves”.
Anxiety Kills Charisma
Each of us experiences some level of self-consciousness and anxiety when in the company of other people. In social and business situations when we are being observed by others this self-consciousness increases and is the chief cause of fear of speaking.
Can You "Do" Charisma?
Don't waste a moment trying to appear charismatic. When we pretend to be charismatic, when we tried to "sound" authoritative -- or look impressive, we resemble bad actors and lose credibility. The best person to sound like is you. By simply being yourself, and practicing a few basic skills you will achieve a huge improvement in your speaking ability and your self-confidence.
And yes, you will be charismatic!
The Five Keys to Being a Charismatic Communicator
Charismatic speakers are simply using a set of specific skills that you can use too.. These are the skills of Charismatic Communication.
You may not be enthusiastic about all of the presentations that you have to make. That's not the listeners’ problem; that’s your challenge.
The Charismatic Communicator will do what ever it takes to find something new to be enthusiastic about every time they speak. They might focus on the benefits and consequences for each particular group. They will focus on the immediate relevance and critical context for everyone in the room.
Whatever it is, a charismatic speaker will always find something about which they can genuinely enthuse.
It’s work, but it’s enjoyable work, and it makes speaking much easier - perhaps even enjoyable - for you.
Remember Enthusiasm is infectious!
The charismatic communicator may appear to be relaxed and speaking easily, but great speakers are putting out an enormous amount of energy.
Great speakers are constantly alert and alive – they enjoy re-discovering their material at the moment of delivery. Even if you are presenting something for the 10th time, you must find the energy to be alive to what is unique about this information today – and for those specific people in front of you.
You need physical energy too; speaking is a whole-body experience. You feel better, you sound better and you look better when you are using your physical energy. So “warm-up” before you speak - go for a walk, climb the stairs and practice your presentation out loud (just talk into your cell phone - no one will pay any attention!).
“It's not how interesting you all are, it's how interested you are”
After 25 years of coaching highly skilled performers in theatre, film and television, in courtrooms, keynote speeches and political campaigns, I have concluded that all great speakers have one thing in common; the ability to be "in the moment" to be continuously engaged. I call it “Presence”. This is the “Presence” in “Commanding Presence”.
Presence is the ability to be continuously “engaged”, to be "in the moment", or "tuned-in". We need to know how to engage our listeners so that they too will be “Present”. Presence is the essence of Charisma.
Charismatic communication is not about the speaker, it’s about the listener. Great speakers are involved in a dynamic, continuously interactive conversation. They are constantly observing and responding to the reactions of the listeners in front of them.
"One-way" speaking is unnatural; it will make you self-conscious, and it will make you nervous. Speak interactively - get engaged!
Most speakers don’t make “real” eye contact. They either “scan” their audiences, or look over their heads, or at the floor. Communication with no eye contact is one of the major chief causes of poor performances. It is also a major cause of fear of speaking.
Eye contact with your listeners establishes and maintains rapport, the most essential aspect of effective verbal communication. This visual contact creates an emotional and personal link between you and your listeners and enhances your credibility and impact.
By delivering each point directly to an individual, you will pause instinctively between major points to confirm that your listener has grasped the concept, just as you do in informal conversation. Your ideas will be conveyed with understanding and maximum impact.
“We don’t care what you know, until we know that you care”
Charismatic speakers establish rapport with their audiences by empathizing with them. This empathy becomes apparent to the audience quite naturally through your tone of voice, your body language and how sensitively you are responding to them.
Speaking is more of an emotional experience for the speaker and the listener, than the intellectual experience between the writer and the reader.
Your listeners want to know how you feel about the information, what your attitudes towards it are, and what relative importance you attach to each part of the information. Likewise - by using eye contact – you are able to read their responses from moment-to-moment.
Let your listeners know that you care about them, about your message, and about making sure they understand you.
Charisma isn’t a noun - it’s a verb - just do it!
For more training on developing a Commanding Presence and becoming a charismatic communicator, managing anxiety, and increasing your speaking skills to the same high level as your writing skills then you should attend one of our Commanding Presence Advanced Communication and Presentation Skills Two-Day workshops.
The workshop is designed to improve every aspect of personal communication skills, from strategy and text preparation to establishing rapport and overcoming speaking anxiety.
Participants are recorded 4 times with feedback from the other participants and personal coaching from the workshop coach. Each receive a USB of their video clips along with a letter of analysis from the workshop coach.
We also provide private group training for organizations in the following formats: 2-hour, half-day, one-day and two-day training.
Learn more about our in-person training here