Charisma Creates Successful Careers
                          By Chelse Benham

“How can you have more charisma? Be more c...
mastered through application and practice by anyone with enough
perseverance?

Similar to Jouvenel’s explanation of charis...
3. Your listening skills. Rarely taught and infrequently practiced,
      listening is nonetheless a key to communicating ...
Walk with certainty and people will see you as important and give
       you respect.

       Exude self-confidence
      ...
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Charisma creates successful careers

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Charisma creates successful careers

  1. 1. Charisma Creates Successful Careers By Chelse Benham “How can you have more charisma? Be more concerned about making others feel good about themselves than you are making them feel about you.” – Anonymous Charisma is recognizable in a person who exudes it, but it is elusive to characterize; discernable when carried out, but hard to identify as one single or set of qualities. Charisma is a key ingredient to great leadership, yet charismatic mastery may require years of carefully applied performance for some people while others seem naturally predisposed to demonstrating it. Dr. Tony Alessandra, applied behavioral scientist and leading expert in the study of charisma, writes in his book, “Charisma – Seven Keys to Developing the Magnetism that Leads to Success,” that charisma can be described as “the ability to influence others positively by connecting with them physically, emotionally and intellectually.” Knowing how to connect to others by developing your own charisma is a chief powerhouse skill for career success. “The business environment has reached a state where change is so rapid that any organization must foster innovation and fast response at all levels within the organization. We’re introducing leadership as an important factor in the development of students in general,” said Dr. David Sturges, chair and associate professor for the Management, Marketing and International Business (MMIB) department at The University of Texas-Pan American. “The newly established leadership minor provides students with an opportunity to select classes that develop leadership traits applicable to professional careers. In the MMIB department we are instituting a new course called ‘grass roots leadership’ specifically to incorporate leadership development as a component of the business degree.” Charles Lindholm, professor in the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University paraphrases, in his book “Charisma” (1990), the social theorist Bertrand de Jouvenel. Lindholm writes about Jouvenel’s explication of charisma as “informal relationships in any group where the product of one individual's ‘naked capacity of mustering assent,’ a capacity that has nothing to do with position, or power or advantage, emanates solely from an inherent personal magnetism.” The words magnetism and charisma are interchangeable. Both describe a person’s ability to influence the behaviors and loyalties of others. What has been debated is whether charisma and magnetism are personality traits limited to people fortunate to be born with them or can they be
  2. 2. mastered through application and practice by anyone with enough perseverance? Similar to Jouvenel’s explanation of charisma as being “an inherent personal trait,” German sociologist, Max Weber, theorized that charisma was a “gift” that set exceptional figures in history apart from ordinary men. Both Jouvenel and Weber felt charisma was bestowed on some people, but not all. Various people it seemed were inclined and predisposed to be more charismatic than others and thus lead rather than follow. That perception has changed in recent times. While some people are more adroit at communicating charismatic charm, Alessandra argues that anyone can develop the skill. “You can choose to practice, absorb and master these behavioral skills. Anyone is capable of doing so,” Alessandra writes in his book. “You needn’t remain who you are. You can greatly improve your personal magnetism and be all you’ve always wanted to be: assured, commanding, stimulating and energetic.” According to Alessandra there are some persuasive reasons why mastering the art of charisma is a prudent tactic for advancing one’s career. He offers the following reasons of how it can help you: • sharpen your ability to influence and motivate people by projecting confidence, energy and sincere interest in the goals and objectives of others. • connect with and empower people of all sorts by learning to listen to them, empathize with them and support them. • become more positive by using the tools of positive thinking and surrounding yourself with optimistic people. • enhance your personal energy by improving your fitness, both physical and mental. • develop a powerful guiding vision for your life. Alessandra presents seven main components of charisma. These come in varying degrees in individuals. Rarely are all obtained and demonstrated to their fullest within one single person, but having a few incorporated in your personality can help you prosper. The seven keys to charisma are: 1. Your silent message. These are the signals you send out unconsciously to others. Maybe you look people right in the eye, or maybe you stare at your shoes when you talk to them. Maybe you slump your shoulders or square them confidently. Maybe you don’t smile naturally or shake hands firmly, or you dress in a way that’s not you. These can all shape your silent message; your ‘image.’ 2. Your ability to speak well. You may have a terrific idea, but who will know if you can’t articulate it?
  3. 3. 3. Your listening skills. Rarely taught and infrequently practiced, listening is nonetheless a key to communicating and making others feel special in your presence. 4. Your persuasive talent. This is your skill at motivating others to follow your lead or adopt your idea. No idea, however great, ever gets anywhere until adopted. 5. Your use of space and time. Again, though it’s often overlooked, your use of spatial and temporal territories can make or break relationships. Standing too close or sitting in the wrong place or touching a person when you shouldn’t can cause tension. Being too late or too early or staying too long can create negative results. 6. Your ability to adapt to others. Building bridges to others is impossible without understanding other people’s personalities, then adapting your own behavior to increase rapport. 7. Your vision, your ideas. In the final analysis, no matter how strong and persuasive a speaker you are, how adept you are at building rapport, how well you listen, use your space and time or send out silent signals, you’ve got to have something to say – or you’ll just be an empty suit. Kevin Hogan, motivational speaker and author, wrote in his article “Charisma: Beyond Irresistible Attraction” about key techniques to utilize and build one’s own charisma. The following can be found on his Web site at www.kevinhogan.com Care about each person in a group When you talk to an audience, look at people in the eyes. When you give attention to people at this kind of individual level, you will begin to capture the hearts and minds of your listeners. No, you can never get them all to like you. But, you can have empathy for everyone there. Walk with certainty If you are preparing to communicate important information, you can bet that people will be watching you every step of the way. When you are walking, people pick up a lot about you on a nonverbal level. People who walk particularly slowly are usually perceived in a light that will not be helpful in the persuasive setting. Walking at a pretty rapid clip can be seen as someone in a hurry, which is not perfect either. There is an advantage to walking quickly, though. On a practical level, people see that you are indeed preparing to do something important. The ideal walk is a moderate pace, eyes ahead, greeting people with a nod and a smile and moving on.
  4. 4. Walk with certainty and people will see you as important and give you respect. Exude self-confidence There is very little in life that is more important than self-confidence. You must have a sense of certainty about what you are going to communicate about. You can easily be self-confident when you are able to speak for hours about something you are an expert in. If you constantly need notes to read from, you will not only lose your audience, you will lose credibility and self-confidence. Melinda Vilas, author and founder of the Web site www.teencoach.com, adds that developing grace, in addition to building charisma, helps obtain results. In her article “Add Grace to Leadership and get Results,” Vilas reiterates the advice of earlier experts and provides additional advice. She suggests the following: Use grace in verbal and non-verbal communication. When you treat others with grace, you say, ‘I respect you’ and that is a tremendous foundation on which to build any relationship. The following is an idea of how being graceful in our communications and interactions with others can have a deep impact. Idea: When you are at a business-networking event truly listen to the conversation. You can listen with your whole body: physically face the person, watch them with your eyes as they speak, nod your head as you follow the conversation, and be totally present with them while you are in dialogue. There is nothing as ungraceful and counterproductive as a person only pretending to be interested in what you are saying. If you can’t ‘be there’ no matter what the reason, excuse yourself. Simply say, ‘Please excuse me, I have so much on my mind…could we have this conversation at another time?’ Ultimately, charisma and magnetism come down to one underlying thing – the self-respect you hold for yourself and how it is transfers to others. Charisma is the respect you show people and it is about breaking down the “us-versus-them” mentality. According to Alessandra this is “The Platinum Rule” of all relationships and the cornerstone to building charisma. It begins internally and extends outwardly touching others in its wake releasing a well-spring of positive feeling between the parties and shaping those relationships from that point on. “There is little doubt that a positive outlook propels while a negative one imprisons.” – Dr. Tony Alessandra, author

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