The mystery of charisma clarified.

Many people are convinced that charisma is a sort of indefinable quality of film stars and (some :)) politicians. You have it or you don't and nothing can be done about it.

Recent research shows that the contrary is true: everybody has charisma. In some people it is just more recognizable and developed than in others. And what's more: it is possible to enhance and augment the charisma you already have.

Charisma is an essential quality for leaders, for charisma gets people to like you, trust you and will be willing to be led by you. Charismatic people are more often perceived as leaders instead of followers and get their ideas more easily adopted.

What is this mysterious quality?

What can you do to have more charisma?

According to Olivia Fox Cabane in her fascinating book The Charisma Myth, charisma is projected by some very specific behavioral skills. Some people are lucky enough to have learned these skills as a child, and these people seem to have the mysterious 'charisma aura' quite naturally. We all have learned some skills in this area because it is of the utmost importance to be liked to a certain extent and to be able to survive as a child. But it is evident that some of us have learned this more than others.

The three core charismatic qualities, as described by Olivia Fox Cabane are:


If you want to be perceived as charismatic, you have to give the impression that you possess much power and much warmth. This impression is mostly projected through body language, so not under your conscious control.

When meeting people, you evaluate a person's body language in a split second. Through interpreting body language you assess how much power the person you encounter has, and how much this person cares for you and thus is willing to use his or her power to accommodate you. Body language is determined by your mental state. To acquire more charisma it is important to learn to adjust your mental state.

If you feel confident, energetic and benevolent, your body language adjusts accordingly and people will notice.

The third and core component of charisma, its foundation, is presence. Presence is the quality of being completely present with someone in this moment. When really and totally present, the impact of power and warmth is at its most.

When you are with a charismatic leader you feel his or her power and warmth and you feel that he or she is completely here with you, for you, in this moment.

Like so many things, this is simple but not easy. Being present in the moment is quite challenging, not something many of us have learned. But being present and projecting power and warmth are skills that everybody can learn.

In our Awakened Leadership Program, enhancing and acquiring charismatic qualities are the focus of our special attention. Are you ready to rise to your potential?