The Three Elements of Charisma

Charisma depends on three elements: presence, power, and human warmth.

Presence is the first fundamental element, as people notice when we are attentive, just as they notice when we are absent and inattentive, since we transmit it through our body involuntarily.

This lack of attention in conversation can cause the other person to feel affected and perceive us as insincere, resulting in a lack of trust, loyalty, and rapport with other interlocutors. If people perceive us as someone who creates distrust, it will be practically impossible for us to be charismatic.

Being present means being aware of what is happening at every moment, paying attention to what is happening, to a concrete fact, instead of just being aware of our own thoughts. It is not easy to stay fully present because:

  • Our brain is programmed to pay attention to new stimuli, so we are easily distracted, and any stimulus tries to capture our attention.
  • The constant input of stimuli can lead us to a state of continuous partial attention, so we are always partially distracted.

A slight increase in our ability to be present can have a significant effect on those around us. If we can have a few moments of full presence from time to time, we will make great progress and have a great effect.

Power is understood as the ability to affect the world around us and influence others, whether through financial, intellectual, social, or physical means. From this definition, we can deduce that we see other people as powerful because they are able to influence the world around us. That is why people look for clues about an individual’s power in their appearance, body language, and how others react to them.

Every leader must, in some way, be powerful, but it is not as simple as it seems. Accessing power is a slow process that must be worked on, and once it is achieved, it must be maintained. Here are some techniques that can help us achieve this:

  • Increase self-confidence: It is essential to feel that we have power. If we don’t believe it ourselves, who will? We must trust what we think, say, and do, we must have more confidence in ourselves.
  • Know a little bit of everything. We must be aware of the facts that are happening; they can affect us. We must also know the past so as not to fall into mistakes already made by others. Being informed and knowing a little bit of everything that surrounds and concerns us is essential if we want to be a leader and have power.
  • Be healthy. If we are not comfortable and healthy, others may not take us seriously. Every person who holds power gives an image of themselves and what they represent.
  • Speak slowly and clearly. It is essential to know how to measure the words and expressions we utter. Every powerful person is clear and concise. We do not want to cause misunderstandings or distort what we say, which is why we must express ourselves, speak loudly, clearly, and slowly.

In short, power could be defined by three concepts: aesthetics, others’ reactions, and non-verbal language.

Human warmth is the displayed willingness towards others. This quality shows us if this person will want to use their power for us or against us. This proximity is measured more directly than power, preferably through body language and behavior.

We could say that warmth is a set of kindness, altruism, and willingness to have a positive impact on our world towards other beings. All these qualities are almost impossible to simulate, so it is very difficult to feign warmth.

In order to obtain this warmth more frequently and with more ease in public, there are a series of techniques that can be gradually implemented in practice:

  • Be honest in your speech. It is not necessary for others to be by our side that we promise very good things that we do not know if we can achieve or not. What really matters is to get what we say, to keep our word and always speak truthfully.
  • Work on the warmth of your voice. Everyone can become warm, and one aspect that we must control is our voice. It is up to us to determine it, and it is up to us to choose how to use it. Therefore, we must seek to control and manipulate it according to what we need at each moment.
  • Copy the non-verbal language of the other person. If you want the other person to feel comfortable with you, use gestures similar to theirs. Non-verbal language will help you communicate and get closer to your interlocutor.
  • Relax your position. It is not necessary to think that there is only one right decision; we must look at what position we are in and understand the position of others. These can vary, they do not necessarily have to be fixed, in fact, they should not be.
  • Smile and shake hands. Offering warmth to others is offering security and closeness, speaking to people on an equal footing and being confident and friendly, smiling and putting others at ease.
  • Anticipate needs and ask for help. We do not always know and do not always have everything we need, asking for help is good, let’s be honest. Asking for help makes us brave, we must make people understand that we all need each other, that exposing our needs does not make us inferior.