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3 Magnetic Qualities of Charismatic People

3 Magnetic Qualities of Charismatic People

Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.

– John F. Kennedy

Take a good long look at the photograph above. What do you see? What kind of emotions does it bring up within you?

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This scene radiates an abundance of power and positive emotions. Without even knowing the context of the photograph, you can easily tell that John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States, was genuinely charismatic. What does this mean? One good way to describe charisma is “personal magnetism,” as described by Olivia Fox Cabane, keynote-speaker and executive charisma coach. In her book, The Charisma Myth, she outlines three keys to charisma that anyone, regardless of personality type, can employ in their daily life.

1. Presence

Presence is the easiest but most misunderstood aspect of being charismatic. How hard is it to be present in an interaction? With our minds wandering about 47% of the time, it turns out, it is quite difficult. Simply put, being present means you have dedicated 100% of yourself to the current interaction. When someone is speaking to you, tune your brain into not only what they are saying, but why they are saying it as well.

Everyone wants to feel important. The best and easiest way to make people feel important is to legitimately listen to what they have to say, and clarify your understanding of their thoughts. This means thoroughly listening to another person’s point of view, instead of planning in your head what you are going to say next. While thinking what you are going to say next, how can you be fully understanding of what another person has to say? When you have an awesome idea, don’t you want people to listen? There is nothing more frustrating than when you have the best idea ever, and nobody seems to want to listen to you. When you finally find someone that makes an effort to understand you, don’t you feel a strong appreciation for them? This is the power of presence, and you can leverage this every day when you interact with people. 

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2. Power

Power is one aspect of charisma that most people find difficult. Power is critical to charisma, simply due to the fact that powerful people attract attention. When you have some kind of desirable knowledge or expertise, people will follow you. People tend to want powerful people on their side. Impressing the boss feels a lot better than impressing the intern, right? The boss has a lot more influence than the intern, so it’s more fulfilling to have them on your side. But if you’re not the boss, how can you come across as powerful? The answer may surprise you.

Studies show that nonverbal communication, also known as body language, makes up around 60% of all interpersonal communication [1]. This implies that your body language is more important than the content that comes out of your mouth. For the common person (a.k.a. not the boss), this is great news. You can convey power without always having something intelligent, witty, or profound to say. The reason that not everyone comes across as powerful is because weakness and insecurity can rear its ugly head in all of your body language and vocal tonality, without you even knowing it. People can easily detect these subtle expressions that you don’t realize you are giving off. So how can you demonstrate powerful body language and vocal tonality?

In order to convey power, it is important to have dominant body language. Claim territory with your body – take up space by comfortably spreading out your arms and legs. Keep your chin up, sit up straight (yes, Mother) and pull your shoulders down and slightly back. Improving your posture has been scientifically-proven to increase testosterone (dominance hormone) and decrease cortisol (stress hormone). Avoid fidgeting and putting your hands near your face or neck – these pacifying behaviors indicate that you are uncomfortable in your environment [1]. Look people in the eye, especially when you are speaking directly to them. This is the most powerful way to deliver a message. One trick I like to remember is whenever I meet someone, I try to find out what color their eyes are right away. This ensures that your first impression demonstrates power and confidence.

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One last key to projecting power is to have good vocal tonality. Make sure that your vocal intonation does not rise excessively at the end of your sentences (as it often does when you ask questions) – this indicates weakness, indecisiveness, and neediness. A recent study done by Quantified Impressions, an Austin, Texas, communications analytics company, showed that the sound of a speaker’s voice matters twice as much as the content of what they are saying. Think about this fact next time you listen to someone that has strong vocal tonality, but absolutely no idea what they are talking about. 

3. Warmth

Warmth is the final key to charisma, that when combined with the right amount of presence and power, will lead to massive personal attraction. Warmth, unlike presence and power, is the factor that makes you approachable. Warmth is somewhat related to presence, but is more related to providing a feeling of comfort to those you are interacting with. To be warm, it helps to treat others as equals, even though you may be much higher on the social ladder. Making people feel important makes them feel good, and if you are able to become a source of these feelings, people will be attracted to you. Warmth can be achieved by constantly being a source of positive emotions for all around you.

The key to generating massive amounts of charisma is to mix these three qualities in the right proportions. Too much warmth without power can come across as needy. Too much power without presence can come across as arrogant. Too much presence can come across as creepy; you get the picture. It is important to remember that being charismatic does not require an overhaul of your personality- but rather a re-tooling of beliefs about yourself and others that allow you to become a more attractive human being. Experiment with these three qualities to come up with your own personalized charisma concoction, and reap the benefits of becoming a magnetic person.

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[1] Navarro, Joe, and Marvin Karlins. What Every BODY Is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-reading People. New York, NY: Collins Living, 2008. Print.

Featured photo credit: The U.S. National Archives via flickr.com

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Nathan Adlam

Professional Boss

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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