Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off your first 2 months of Unlimited Monthly. Start your subscription for just £35.99 £24.99. New subscribers only T&Cs apply

Find out more

Learn to be Charismatic

Learn to be Charismatic
So by now, hopefully I have your attention, that with these very subtle nonverbals you can actually have profound impact on your ability to communicate your vision to your team. What if I take that to an entirely other level and tell you that you can actually learn to be charismatic? Most of the audiences that I work with around the world, whether they be in business government or otherwise. Many people assume that charisma is either something you are born with or not. Something I like to call you can either think or blame your parents for, that hardwired genetic code. And what we’re actually finding is that’s not the case at all.
What we’re finding is that with some very subtle but impactful feedback mechanisms and training mechanisms you can actually learn to be charismatic, and ultimately be able to communicate more effectively these visions that we’re talking about. One study I’ll share with you in particular. I had the opportunity to be one of the editors on an article that John Antonakis wrote. He and his colleagues wrote in the Academy of Management Learning and Education journal back in 2011, where it was the first time we’d ever published a scientific study looking at could we actually develop, train, and learn this notion of charisma. And what they did is they took a group of executives, and they created a baseline charisma score.
Because some of us are naturally more charismatic than others, or some of us have more practice, and so they took a baseline score of charisma. They controlled for your age, whether you’re male or female, speech length. So they had them deliver speeches on camera and the speeches were of different lengths. So they wanted to control for that. They also controlled for your language, whether or not English was your native language or not. And they took those baselines and then they created a training intervention. And the training intervention consisted of three major components. The first was a lecture on techniques for how to be more charismatic, many of which I’ve included in the course that we’re talking about now.
They also had you watch films or clips, videos of people who were displaying many of these techniques, much like the Dead Poet Society clip or the Charlie Chaplin, Great Dictator clip that I had you watch as part of this course. Then they also had you do one coaching session, where you had an opportunity to work with a coach on a feedback report where you were receiving and responding to feedback on the speeches that you had delivered as part of this training intervention. So very simple intervention. Again, simple lecture, watching some video clips of people in action, getting some coaching and some feedback on how you’ve done when you’ve delivered these speeches.
Then they followed up, with these people over the course of about three months. And three months after that training intervention, they measured their charisma again. And, what I would like to share with you is the results of that.
Most notably, what they’ve found is that with this very simple training intervention. Three months gone by after that training intervention, you saw a 13% increase in perceived charisma. Meaning, how charismatic people, other people saw the participants who had participated in the training. Interestingly, you also saw a 14% increase in the extent to which other people perceive those individuals as being competent. Now interestingly, we find that charisma and competence. The perceptions of those two factors are two very important factors for determining whether people see you as leader-like or not. And so when you think about your team, your organization, whether they see you as a leader.
The extent to which you engage in many of the techniques, the communication techniques, what you say and how you say it, that we’ve talked about in this course, will ultimately determine how charismatic other people see you as being, as well as how competent they see you. And ultimately whether they see you as someone who is fit to lead them into the future. Critically important. As you go forward.
One last study I’ll share with you, one of my favorite studies on this notion of visionary leadership and the idea of charisma, is Bob House and his colleagues in the early 1990s. So now, many years ago, published a study on presidents for the United States dating back to George Washington all the way up to Carter. They analyzed speeches, editorials written by and about the presidents. They analyzed biographies. All with an idea of getting an assessment of the charisma of each of these presidents in the United States. Some of these presidents, Tyler, Pierce, Buchanan, and others, were deemed as non-charismatic. These were individuals that had not learned how to be charisma.
There were presidents like James Polk and Truman who were considered more neutral, sort of in between non-charismatic and charismatic. And then there were presidents, Jefferson, Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, JFK, Kennedy, who were determined based on the speeches, editorials, biographies and such, to be extremely charismatic. The techniques, the verbals, the non-verbals, everything that we’ve talked about as part of this course. And what’s interesting is they study the extent of which these presidents were reelected and the data’s actually pretty striking. 17% of the presidents who were deemed non-charismatic, only 17% were reelected.
66% of the neutral and 100% of the presidents who were determined to be charismatic, either reelected or unfortunately assassinated, which maybe assassination is a metric for whether you have a vision that is one of change. That may be some people like and others don’t like. But the importance here is really around the likelihood of getting reelected as a US President is clearly predicted by how charismatic you ultimately are. Maybe you’ll be a president one day, maybe you won’t. Ultimately, at the end of the day, the degree at which you are charismatic will shape whether you can clearly communicate an effective vision that compels people, inspires people and motivates people to want to be part of your team.
This article is from the free online

Inspiring and Motivating Individuals

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now