During my lectures on public speaking, leadership, and networking, I get a lot of questions about charisma. However, time allotted for my speaking engagements is insufficient to duly expound on the matter. This article will serve as to supplement the topics I discuss. Keep in mind that this article is merely based on my own musings.
: a special charm or appeal that causes people to feel attracted and excited by someone
Charisma is the magnetic, almost other-worldly presence divinely conferred on a special few. It is the power to captivate and to appeal to the emotions of an audience; to make them feel what you’d want them to feel. It is the aura in some people that reaches out, grabs you, and holds on to your attention at their whim. It is the air about some people that separates them from civilians and make them the upper echelon on our societal hierarchy.
The movie world boasts charismatic characters portrayed by Leonardo Dicaprio, Emma Watson, Natalie Portman, Matthew McCounaughey, Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert Downey Jr., George Clooney, Samuel Jackson, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, and Robert De Niro. The minute gestures and presence by these actors give a nice flavor to the characters they portray. Politics have Barrack Obama, Bill Clinton, Princess Diana, and Ronald Reagan that drew in supporters and followers that hang unto every word they say.
In the wrestling universe we have sports entertainers that exude this intangible quality. We have The Rock as the action hero that delivers the best mic work in the industry. His words in context may not always be coherent as it’s almost always just catchphrases, but the way he delivers his lines with authority, cadence, posture, and perfectly timed gestures (a raise of his eyebrow can elicit a great crowd reaction) that makes his promos must-see TV. We also have the larger-than-life Hulk Hogan who despite basically just shilling the WWE Network these days still talks in the most entertaining manner possible. Stone Cold Steve Austin’s alpha-male quality and fearless delivery makes you want to listen, and if he didn’t have charisma he would have only sounded like a drunken red neck. CM Punk, John Cena, AJ Lee, Vince Mcmahon, Paul Heyman, and Shawn Michaels also get props for being able to tell compelling stories whenever they deliver promos. These main-eventers have consistent charisma, and guys like Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, and The Miz only are able to show some of it occasionally, which is why they get stuck in the midcard.
We also get a lot of examples on character-driven shows. We have Rick Grimes, a character that truly personifies leadership. Harvey Specter is also a great example as his constant showing of intelligence make the audience feels lawyerish just by listening to his one-liners, and Donna Paulsen’s witty quips about Harvey always delivers a good laugh. A suave and mysterious Don Draper is as charismatic as his polar opposite Barney Stinson who utilizes his charm and routines to win the hearts of women, although he comes off a bit immature. Stephen Colbert is a great character too – despite basing his character on a supposedly boring pundit he has the audience at the palm of his hands. A young Amanda Bynes was probably the best woman in kid’s television at the time, certainly a lot more likeable at the time than Hillary Duff and Lindsay Lohan. Lauren Laverne, touted as the one of the best TV presenters ever, seemingly does her work effortlessly.
As you may have noticed, a lot of wildly different people have been thought of possessing the powers of charisma. Therefore it can be assumed that charisma is not exclusive with some personality types alone, but can be channeled by anyone.
Charisma is like style. You know it when you see it.
For most charismatic types, they were believed to have been born with it. The belief is that this elusive and seductive quality is wired in their DNA and has always been a part of their very being. They did not need much practice to invoke the powers of charisma, nor have they ever been consciously aware of it.
Some people seem to have learned it and developed it over time. Princess Diana used to be so introverted and demure that she was coined the nickname “Shy Di” at first. After a trip to America she was able to repackage her personality and come back as “Confident Di.” She became the light bulb of any room she entered. She just didn’t know how to turn the switch on at first. A lot of people undergo personality development courses for the very same reason: they want to turn their “charisma switch” on.
I used to be as diffident as they come. I was, in all respects, a wallflower. I was the uber-skinny kid with huge glasses, a squeaky voice and bad posture. I was an outcast that didn’t want any attention on me because I feared that people would notice my shortcomings. My low self-esteem would always get in the way of my attempts at socializing with people. I looked like a nerd but had average grades because I didn’t have the right tools at the time.
Fortunately, while studying for a BA Psychology degree I was able to comprehend my misfortunes. Turns out subjective and hard to pinpoint attributes can be measured empirically after all. I utilized the concepts I learned in college to integrate every facet of charisma into personality. I’ve found intangible qualities in successful people and distilled it into a scientific formula that I still use and share to this day through training activities and articles like this.
With the new knowledge and insight I had, I was able to dig down deep and transform into a new man. Sporting a new outlook and a dangerous desire to succeed, I was able to graduate top of my class.
Becoming a Training Specialist, I was able to speak with intensity, conviction, and passion. Eventually, I was invited to conduct capability building activities ranging from consultation workshops, personality development courses, to team building affairs for multiple government agencies, private corporations, and organizations for a respectable per hour rate. So far, over 2000 individuals in total have participated in activities I have personally overseen; something I would not have been able to do if I had not changed. My rebirth was no accident for it was all out of discontent for the capacities of my previous frustrated self. I’d do a complete overhaul again if it would be necessary to achieving my plans of becoming a lawyer, and eventually, president. Despite that, charisma will remain one of my most potent weapons.
Charisma is one of the best attributes that factor in mastering the art of life itself. It can open many doors to success and happiness, even more so than wealth and good looks.
Tune in soon to find out how to resonate an unbreakable mystique with my next article: HOW TO UNLEASH THE POWERS OF YOUR INNER CHARISMA.
by Darius Immanuel D. Guerrero
Contact me if you’d like to invite me to speak at an event, to facilitate a team building affair, or to provide a training activity for your organization (no booty calls please)