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Science Reveals That Quick Thinkers Are More Charismatic

Science Reveals That Quick Thinkers Are More Charismatic

You might think that the only people who can ever hope to be charismatic are those with massive IQs. Well, science has some new information which will blow your mind. Researchers have found that mental speed is a more important predictor than IQ when it comes to charisma.

Mental Speed Over IQ

Psychology professor William von Hippel from the University of Queensland conducted a study to figure out why some people are more charismatic than others. Going into the study, the team thought that mental agility was going to be an important factor, but they anticipated IQ to be a more determining factor. When the results showed otherwise, they were quite surprised.

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Although IQ does have some role to play, it appears that those who were faster at mental speed tasks were more likely to be rated as charismatic by their peers. These mental speed tasks involved answering common-knowledge questions as quickly as possible. Charisma was measured by asking the peers to rate the individual on three dimensions: charisma, humor, and quick wit.

The Virtues Of A Quick Mind

Researchers have identified several reasons for why a quick mind may play such a critical role in determining charisma.

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Von Hippel reports, “we found that how smart people were, was less important than how quick they were. So knowing the right answer to a tough questions appears to be less important than being able to consider a large number of social responses in a brief window of time.”

Thus, the ability to navigate a large number of replies quickly and effectively is a critical benefit of the quick mind. Given that those who are charismatic tend to find themselves in leadership positions which demand processing information from a variety of different sources, this advantage clearly contributes to the success of those with genuine charisma.

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Another advantage of a quick mind relates to reaction time. One of the reasons we find particular individuals to be charismatic is their ability to navigate complicated situations with grace. This often requires quickly managing any inappropriate or less-than-graceful steps all while staying cool and collected.

Many of the world’s most famous charismatic leaders share a tendency for humor. When dealing with numerous challenges, it is important to indicate a sense of ease and enjoyment of the tasks at hand. A charismatic leader often demonstrates their mastery of the situation by cracking a few jokes. These jokes come much easier when an individual is quick minded.

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Speed + Social Intelligence = Charisma

Although there is no crystal clear formula to fostering charisma, several key components have become clearer through von Hippel’s study. One does need to have a good grip on navigating the social cues of contemporary life. This includes knowing the rules of social situations and reading facial expressions. However, an excellent understanding of these alone will not make a person charismatic.

When an individual has these social cues mastered, and he or she has the more general property of being quick minded, he or she may be worthy of the title “charismatic.” Although this study clearly highlights the importance of mental speed, it also suggests that other general mental properties may factor into charisma as well. Further research is needed to see what, if anything, beyond mental agility is key to finding those of us who are most charismatic.

Becoming Charismatic

For those of us looking to increase our own charisma, we can learn a few things from this research. First, we’ve got to practice reading social cues. That will give us the foundation we need to do well when the time comes. Second, we’ve got to train our minds to process information quickly and effectively. Although percisely how this training might play out is still debated by leading researchers, some tools such as brain games or logic puzzles may be our road to success. One thing we do not have to strictly focus on is raising our IQ. While a high IQ may help a charismatic person solve problems, ultimately it’s not the determining factor.

Featured photo credit: JOSEPH via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

1. Connecting them with each other

Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

2. Connect with their emotions

Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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3. Keep going back to the beginning

Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

4. Link to your audience’s motivation

After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

5. Entertain them

While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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6. Appeal to loyalty

Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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