What Is Charisma?

Charisma is the ability to attract, charm, and influence the people around you. There are, of course, different types of charismatic people, some are graceful like Jackie Kennedy, others are exuberant with passion like Oprah. Charisma is often said to be a mysterious ineffable quality—you either have it or don’t have it—but it’s actually easy to break down many of the key factors that make a person charismatic. Such factors include, but are not limited to: confidence, exuberance, optimism, a ready smile, expressive body language, and a friendly, passionate voice.

It also helps to be present. People with magnetic personalities don’t focus on faraway thoughts or incoming texts via smartphone, they’re present with those in the room. They ask questions and are curious, paying attention to face-to-face interaction. These captivating people are empathetic, are good listeners, and maintain eye contact. They also carry an enthusiastic manner, and speak with eloquent assertiveness

The Power of Charismatic People

A charismatic personality can seem like a singular force—think of famous politicians at the podium or business magnates at the head of the conference table. Yet charisma’s most fundamental power may lie in the effect it has on everyone else: It can help rouse followers and employees to band together in pursuit of goals, infusing collective efforts with a sense of meaning and purpose. That’s not to say that charisma is anything magical. If a leader lacks other important skills or sensibilities, compassion for example, the power to charm and captivate might steer us in the wrong direction.

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