Charisma – Fact or Fiction?

Charisma is one of those words that is hard to define. Ask 100 people to explain why someone is charismatic, and you’ll notice that very quickly it becomes subjective – “the passion in her voice”, “his confidence”, “her intelligence”, “the way he moves”, “the connection to her message”… etc.

Post Image for "Charisma - Fact or Fiction" - Martin Luther King JrEach of us has our own process of evaluating what’s important when being impressed by a speaker, however when you boil it down there is always one constant – charismatic people create a feeling within others that is memorable.

The danger arises when people associate being more charismatic with the superficial and immediately gratifying. Yes a new hair style can give you a fresh bounce in your step, a striking tie can make you stand out, owning football boots with Lionel Messi’s name on them may help you feel better about your shooting skills – all these things are useful contributing factors in terms of your own inner confidence – but none on their own make you a more skilful, engaging and charismatic person.

When we devise and deliver training for our clients across various industries we make the distinction between being noticed and being memorable. It’s very easy to be noticed; being memorable requires something more elegant, more meaningful and more rewarding for your audience.

Simple ‘human’ attributes, including trust, determination, humility, compassion, and humour are powerfully magnetic, and any sort of leadership is sterile without these. However finding ways to naturally and comfortably display these attributes can take a lot of hard and uncomfortable work! You really have to go beyond the superficial, surface façade and learn to rewire the brain, body and voice to allow you to be both emotionally and vocally intelligent in your outward behaviour. In Ireland, for all kinds of historic and cultural reasons, our “BS” detectors are very sophisticated, and we can quickly spot someone who is faking it, versus someone who ‘just is’ it. As Oscar Wilde said “Be Yourself. Everyone Else Is Taken”!

You may hear people say that not all of us are born charismatic. Really? Have you ever, EVER seen someone ignore a new born baby? It takes very little for a new born to generate a swarm of cooing and doting fans! The same with puppies, kittens or ducklings. Why? Because they ‘are’. Yes, cute helps, but also there is no hidden agenda, they are easy to work out, their needs are simple, the ‘message’ is clear. Show me a charismatic Leader who isn’t clear in her thought process, who isn’t congruent in his physicality, tonality and linguistic choices when delivering key messages.

Is it possible to learn to be more charismatic? Of course it is. If you can learn to give your audience a great experience whereby they will remember the importance of your message for them, they will eternally talk about you in the most positive, glowing and complimentary terms.

When Zig Ziglar, one of the world’s most charismatic speakers and trainers, talks about ‘persistent consistency’, and when Professor Anders Ericsson, renowned for his research into performance and expertise, writes about ‘deliberate practise’, we would be wise to take note of what they are both fundamentally saying: With the right person to guide and focus you, it is possible, attainable and rewarding – but it’s hard work and takes time!”

When I have worked with successful Chief Executives, live TV Presenters, Oscar winning Actors, multi million dollar Sales Teams or gold medal winning Athletes they have all understood and experienced this fundamental principle. In fact these are the easiest people to work with – they arrive ready to take the advice and are very willing to put in the hours. Many years ago I once had a client who listened to me speak, and said “That all sounds too easy, there’s no way that will work”, and when I returned for the second session a week later they took great delight in telling me that there was no improvement. When I asked them what they had put into practise since the last session they said “Oh not much really, your advice may help me a little but it won’t change the people around me, so why bother”. As far as I know that person is still lumbering around in middle management waiting for the world to spin in a direction that suits them!

The reason that some achieve greatness is primarily through focused, hard work learning to applying skills that had not been practised before. If you want to sit back and admire the brilliance of others, by all means do so and enjoy.

However if you want to emulate their ability to deliver excellence when it matters most then get the right advice and start the journey now – with Persistent Consistency and Deliberate Practise. Who knows – you night enjoy yourself and positively effect peoples lives – oops, I mean become more charismatic!

For details of probably the world’s best course on Charisma – with 12 speakers, each experts in aspects of successful strategies for Leadership, Communication, Psychology, Comedy, Style, Media, Presentation, Happiness & Magic / Illusions – go to

(As a guest Speaker at this event I have negotiated 12 VIP tickets at a very special price for members of our Newsletter community. This will save you over €600 when you book your seat before 26th March. Let me know, and if they haven’t been snapped up yet, I will email you the promo code to get your discounted ticket.)



© Poll Moussoulides

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