Understanding Charisma & Why It’s Important

I’ve often said to friends and followers that being a gentleman is about your attitude towards the world and other people, not the clothes you wear. A key element often seen in strong personalities is the presence of charisma and the ability to utilize it in a variety of situations. By definition, charisma is a compelling charm or attraction (not necessarily physical) that inspires devotion in others. More basically put, it is the ability to gain trust and understanding from those around you, whether they are strangers or close friends.

I’d like to add at this point that this is not a lesson in dating techniques or some sort of free online seminar on seduction, instead I want to discuss why charisma is an important part of being a member of society and contributing to it. So here are a few tips and ideas that have helped key members of society become more charismatic people.

Charisma is Learnt Through Understanding

There will be many people out there who believe that being charismatic is a trait that you are born with or you aren’t, an immeasurable personality factor that cannot be taught. It’s not an entirely unfair assumption, indeed the video above starts by stating that people judge you initially by your physical features. However, the presenter goes on to discuss that charisma is the factor that you can use to combat this factor and that, more often than not, this is something that can be learnt through analysing what makes an individual influential.

He covers a range of techniques including using imagery, metaphors and emotive language. All of this was picked up through studying and, by the end, you realise that he has been using these same techniques throughout his TEDtalk. It’s a remarkable example of how changes in cadence and minor shifts in language can drastically change how influential you are in conversation. By studying and understanding what makes certain elements of behaviour more charismatic, you then learn how to apply them yourself.

Charisma is About Connecting With People and Respecting Them

The video below is from a YouTube channel called Charisma on Command and discusses the importance of eye contact in the way that it influences perceived charisma. The case study in question is one of the most charismatic political leader in modern times, Bill Clinton:

There are a variety of tips to take away from this video but the most important one, for me, is that you have to show respect to those you speak to. Engaging with them on both an emotional and physical level is one of the best ways to be more charismatic in conversation. To bring it to an everyday level, think of the last time you were telling a story to friends or family. While you were telling it, did you notice that maybe one or two people maintained eye contact with you and genuinely made an effort to listen to your story? How did that make you feel? For me certainly, I feel as though those people respected me and, more importantly, I respected them for making that effort. So by simply making more of an effort to show you are listening, you can instantly seem more charismatic without having to say anything yourself.

On the other side of this argument, however, is the logical concept that being less engaged or disrespectful drastically reduces how charismatic you are perceived to be. This doesn’t have to mean that you are actively being rude, but it could be that you immediately try to move on from your friend’s story to a similar one you have. Rather than actually inquiring further into what your friend said and showing an interest in their opinion. This can be as simple as an appreciation of their opinion (i.e. “I had never thought about it like that!”) or a simple follow-up (i.e. “Have you heard from them since?”). Taking time to show you respect people and what they say will inherently earn you respect from them.

Positive Behavior is Charismatic

I’ve written about optimism before and why I think it is so important in modern society but it is obviously going to affect the perception of charisma. People tend to trust individuals that they like and positive people tend to be more likeable, so the two go hand-in-hand. Optimism is infectious and, by its very nature, means optimistic people smile more often making them far more engaging and easier to empathise with.

Here is another video from Charisma on Command analysing what makes a charismatic smile by looking at Will Smith during a chat show interview:

You get the impression, simply by watching Will Smith speak, that he is a fun person to be around and someone who is trustworthy/friendly and that is the key to his charismatic persona. Smiling, laughing and reacting positively to others creates positive emotions from those around you and thus encourages them to invest their trust in you. So cut out the negativity and look to have a more positive outlook on life.

Your Charisma is Your Own Interpretation

Though there is plenty more to research and you can find thousands of videos with a variety of tips, it’s important to be mindful of one particular fact. All of these videos and ideas are all designed to help you create and form a charismatic personality but it’s important to make sure it is your own personality. Being a relaxed and happy person is, more often than not, a surefire way to look and sound charismatic to those around you. So pay attention to others and learn to engage with them in a meaningful and positive way, the rest will come naturally and form from your own personality.

Thanks for checking out the post and make sure to leave any questions in the comment section, I’m always keen to help. You can also sign-up to be notified of new posts and follow The Male Stylist activity. Also, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter or Instagram for style inspiration, gentleman’s musings and general fun.

Adam Walker - The Male Stylist