Gift of Grace

Portrait of a confident, satisfied and happy woman with both hands out, isolated on pink

The ancient Greeks thought charisma was bestowed by the gods and set certain individuals apart. But sociologist Max Weber keenly saw that followers attribute leaders with charisma, validating their power.

Perception is reality. How can we convey charisma in our speaking and presentations? Likability and charm are foundational elements, but villains also have charisma. One of Shakespeare's most successful plays is Richard III, a king who is gleefully evil.

Olivia Cabane, author of The Charisma Myth, suggests three pillars make up charisma. First is Presence or being in the moment. Situational awareness allows you to pay close attention to others, as well as your environment. The second pillar is Power which mitigates self-doubt. Charismatic individuals tell themselves that their communication provides value. Embracing Power, they enjoy and embrace their success. The last pillar is Warmth and must be genuine to be believable. Actors call this tone, which they bring to the surface before going on camera or on stage. Warmth demonstrates how you want to be perceived by the audience.

Charismatic leaders and great orators have also mastered storytelling*. Make your story evoke emotion and audiences drop their guard of cynicism. Stories allow audiences to feel a deep connection with the speaker. It's not realistic to develop all the pillars and storytelling in equal measure, but focusing on even one will make you magnetic and confident.

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