Charisma is the ability to influence and inspire others merely by your presence. According to a recent article in The Atlantic, several new scientific studies reveal that charismatic people habitually use the following key behaviors:
1. They tell stories rather than relate facts.
Humans use stories to put facts into context and give meaning to random events of the world. Stories create rapport between the storyteller and individuals in the audience and “move” them emotionally to take action. That’s why every great TED Talk contains a story or series of stories.
2. They get plenty of sleep.
In one recent study, audiences rated sleep-deprived speakers (who’d been woken up every hour the night before) as less charismatic than their well-rested counterparts. Apparently, people can sense when you’re “running on empty,” even if you’re normally charismatic.
3. They avoid speaking to fatigued audiences.
Charismatic people instinctively sense when it’s the right time to inspire others. The study about sleep-deprived speakers also revealed that sleep-deprived audiences are less swayed by charisma than well-rested ones. That’s why charismatic speakers seldom schedule talks before breakfast or late at night.
4. They express deep moral conviction.
The great religious leaders of history were so charismatic that their followers believed they were touched by God. The same is true, in a more limited sense, of charismatic business people. They’re neither wishy-washy nor namby-pamby. They show by word and deed that they aspire to something greater than their own self-interest.
5. They believe we can and will achieve.
While it’s often said that great leaders are visionaries, vision without belief and planning is the definition of impotence. Charismatic leaders set challenging but achievable goals and then convince us not just that we can achieve those goals but that the leader will inspire those around us to do their part to achieve those goals.
6. They have broad interests and are deeply curious.
Charismatic people connect more easily because they’ve acquired general knowledge on a broad range of subjects, thereby creating more opportunity to find points of common interest. A charismatic leader responds quickly when other people bring up subjects that interest them. By contrast, specialists are seldom charismatic.
7. They let people hug them.
While charismatic leaders never force themselves physically on other people (which would be creepy), they are open to being hugged and touched. Apparently, many people unconsciously believe that some of the person’s charisma will “rub off” onto them, much like touching a lucky charm.
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